Gaming is a passion you don’t easily get over. And that was certainly true for WANT editor Dennis Mons, who has been around in the gaming industry for some time. And yet, lately, he hardly plays games. Is (despite his love for new consoles like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X) his time as a gamer really over?
First, let me paint a picture. Ever since home computers, I have always been obsessed with gaming. And yes, the home computer is actually Pong on a little machine with physical switches so you could also play “ice hockey. Effectively Pong but with different dashes. My brother and I tussled over who got to use the “shitty controller.
The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X did not evoke warm feelings
So anyway, let me just convince you that gaming is in my blood. Because of my age, I come from an era where you could download games on the MSX, thanks to radio broadcasts.
And oh yes: if you did buy games, they came on a dozen floppies that you had to change after a few levels to continue playing. And save games? Oh kiddos, what a luxury you have now. Was everything better in the old days? Not at all, on the contrary.
Virtually every console leading up to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X I’ve owned, or played on. Except for a few obscure variants. I still want the Apple Pippin, as well as the Neo-Geo CD and even the ZX Spectrum. And so I was also hyped about the new generation of consoles. Until those came along.
Priceless classic. (Image: WikiPedia)
No puff and concentration for the new generation
Don’t get me wrong: the PS5 and Xbox Series are stunning. The graphics are idiotically beautiful on my 4K TV and loading levels is almost unnoticeable thanks to blazing fast SSDs. Loading screens are anno 2023 almost a thing of the past. So it’s definitely not down to the “newfangled hardware.
It’s so easy to understand why people still throw themselves into the wonderful escapism that games offer you. You get out of your own world for a while and plunge yourself into another environment. Especially if you play online games with regular friends and clans. But I have a hard time getting into it.
Despite being a late bloomer when it comes to claiming “I used to game,” I now understand the motivations of many of my peers for barely touching games anymore. There is no time, but worse, there is no puff.
The point is that at the end of the day I don’t want to commit myself to more work. And of course; there are now many gamers who grumble that the old guy shouldn’t whine: I actually get flown all over the world to be the first to play a game and interview the creators. But that’s certainly not always very pleasant.
The sexy console. (Image: Sony)
Red Dead was a little too much
It was Red Dead Redemption 2 that killed me. I got the opportunity to play this absolute gem from Rockstar a week before its release, which is why I was also one of the first gamers in the world to finish the game. That took almost 50 hours of my life in one week. Proudly, I sent a screenshot to Rockstar’s PR people with the end credits.
But my brain went on tilt. I was writing a thoughtful review for my former employer, Power Unlimited. And who can claim to have finished RDR2 in a week? Super proud. But also pretty devastated.
So I drew a line in the sand: do I like this extreme gaming -event after this? And yes, that’s a rigorous statement, but that emotion didn’t leave me. It certainly doesn’t have to be that extreme, but picking up a controller was no longer a pleasure for a while.
The answer I could relate to was that of Nick Offerman, whom I interviewed for The Last of Us series. In it he stated, “The last game I played was Banjo-Kazooie and when I made it to the end, I thought… ‘and now’? Going outside and watching birds was much more fun for me. I didn’t touch a game after that.”
Nick Offerman as Bill in The Last of Us. (Image: HBO)
I feel Offerman in that regard. When I get home, I want to put interactive pursuits to the side. Then I’ll mike Arjen Lubach on NPO, or turn on an episode of The Mandalorian on my PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. Streaming services with movies and series; just tell me, instead of me having to actively sneak in the story.
Is that lazy? Perhaps. Do I barely have oomph? Quite.
Stopping completely because of my PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X is not an option
Have I stopped gaming altogether, then? Very definitely not. There are a number of gems that I still crank out at times. Funnily enough, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a good example of that. Strolling around on my horse and looking for some missions I haven’t had a chance to do yet. No pressure.
But even a basic game of Tetris makes me happy. The quick stacking of blocks provides peace of mind. And games like Plants versus Zombies, Mario + Rabbits, Monument Valley and Myst do their own bit. Everything has a moment at a very fine pace.
So don’t I want to play the greatest games ever like Spider-Man: Miles Morales or Horizon Forbidden West on my PlayStation 5? Or certainly also crank up Star Wars Jedi: Survivor on my Xbox Series X? Definitely yes. They are brilliant games made by brilliant people.
But will that happen? If I have the puff for it, maybe. But not right now. I’ll stroll along streams on my horse, get my rest and pop around in a few months.