Three Things I Hate that Probably Make Me a Dinosaur

In my continuing saga to masquerade as a web 2.0 blogging hipster, I came up with a brief list of pet peeves that may or may not be interesting to anyone. But hey, I’m trying to knock that stock car racer guy with my same name down a few notches in Google search results. So here’s three things I hate that probably mean I’m a frail, elderly man:

Appointment Gaming

I can’t stand so-called ‘appointment gaming’. You know, where you have to ‘check in’ on your game throughout the day instead of just having a contiguous block of fun.

Yes, I realize it’s extremely lucrative and fits in the casual gamer’s lifestyle. So I have to design around it. But for my own personal tastes, I want to play game on my time. I don’t want a game to bark at me and demand I play it or else my crops die.

What kind of positive reinforcement loop is in Farmville? Take a few hours off and you lose an entire harvest. To me, I lost all interest in the game when I realized I had to constantly monitor my farm in order to get anywhere.

I suppose if you work in a toll both and have nothing else to do all day this fits in your lifestyle. Or perhaps the Great Recession is due to lost productivity from an entire workforce checking in on their guava harvest.

But hey, don’t blame Zynga for this. Nintendo pretty much invented the concept with Animal Crossing. Remember having to get up at 8 AM because it was Mushroom Day and you could only harvest these rare delights at the crack of dawn?

Games like Trade Nations suit me better. If you don’t check in on your settlement, you just won’t make any progress. If left idle, nothing breaks, dies, or vanishes–except opportunity. I can continue building at my leisure. Trade Nations is appointment gaming, but doesn’t smack you in the face with a claw hammer every time you fail to boot the game up once an hour.

Tower Defense

I HATE THE WHOLE GENRE!!! Yes, Tower Defense is a pretty novel concept as far as game design goes. It’s one of those rare new breeds of game that transforms the industry and ushers in an era of clones in the genre it names. I’m kind of glad the fad has worn off over the past year or so, but every time I see the words “Tower Defense” my mouth begins to froth.

These games take WAY too long to play. Even with checkpoints, most Tower Defense games defy casual gameplay session length with super long stages–adding to the punishing price of failure. Plus, there’s something about a game where I just sit and wait to get clobbered that bugs me.

User Generated Content

Play a game with user generated content and you’ll soon realize why they pay professionals to do this stuff. The idea is pretty neat–and I did blow many hours of my misspent youth building tracks in Racing Destruction Set. But some of these new games take UGC to such a level that you pretty much need a master’s degree in civil engineering to construct anything significant.

Maybe I’m old school, but I’d rather blow stuff up than build it. Or perhaps I’d like to blow stuff up that others have built. They need to add cluster bombs to Minecraft.

I fully admit “I don’t get it” when it comes to some trends. That’s why they say you should always surround yourself with people smarter than you. I hire people who ‘get it’, or at least can spend spent 10 minutes of every hour tending to their corn crops while still hitting milestones.

4 thoughts on “Three Things I Hate that Probably Make Me a Dinosaur

  1. The second I read “Appointment Gaming” I instantly thought of Animal Crossing.

    That game owned me. OWNED. For a year straight. Up early for turnips. Up early for Nook’s special sales. Home at 8pm on a Saturday night so I can hear KK Slider’s song of the week. Hell, we even took the Gamecube to Sara’s parents on Thanksgiving and took turns going into the basement to hunt down all the turkey themed furniture. And Christmas too!

    After a straight 365 days, I had to stop. It was totally obsessive.

    I went back last year after a few years of not playing it and turned it on. My town was overgrown, and Tangy came running over yelling at me WHERE HAS U BEENZ?? I felt horrible. I thought of all my starving townsfolk, skinny, probably dead in their little huts, and turned off the game in shame. I didn’t even save. Next time I try to turn it on, Resetti is going to yell at me.

  2. Ahh… Racing Destruction Set. You know, I worked with two of the three people who made that game. I know both Dave and Connie quite well. How’s that for a coincidence! :^)

    Anyway man, your commentary always makes me chuckle. I think a cluster bomb would be a great addition to Minecraft.

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