I enjoyed Timeshift, Viking: Quest for Asgard, Haze and Kayne and Lynch. I didn't love them but I also didn't feel that they deserved the unabashed critiques thrown they're way by reviewers and gamers alike. I defended them in the forums as quality experiences. That was until I realized that those unabashed critiques we're the reason I was able to play them at all.
Regardless of who you are or where you live I think there's one thing we can all agree on. We are living in amazing times. You can see your house from space in seconds. You can be anywhere in the world in a matter of hours. Your garage door opens itself. Your heart valves can be replaced. Your cereal stays crisp in milk for longer than any time in the history of humanity. You can build a helicopter in your garage. You can argue the finer points of the acidity of a given Merlot with an international group of like minded people without even seeing or speaking to one of them... in a matter of minutes.
So why is it that we would appear to be the most complaintive generation yet to grace the face of this earth. God forbid we're forced to wait in a line for more than 30 seconds or take another flight an hour later going to the same place we we're going anyway with a free upgrade to business. God forbid our cellphones don't work in certain mountain areas or that we aren't served enough syrup with our pancakes. God forbid something we purchase not last our entire lives and work perfectly for the duration. If our coffee is too hot we sue. If our food is too cold we complain. We've all been or seen these people on a daily basis for our entire lives.
So is it true? Are we unappreciative snot-nosed snobs who don't know a good thing when we see it. Some would argue, and have, that indeed we are. They say that we have become less grateful and less appreciative of the things we have. Specifically, and most vehemently, in the United States and Western Europe.
While I do agree that often times we don't appreciate many of the things we have I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing either. We have a general expectation of improvement throughout our lives and if we don't see or receive that improvement as we see fit we complain about it. People hear these complaints and strive to make improvements. I think it is exactly this attitude and behavior that has created the wealth of medicines, technologies and conveniences we enjoy and share with the world every day.
You might be asking yourself what in the bleep does this have to do with Viking: Battle for Asgard?
Anyone who was around in the days of colecovision (or nes for that matter) will agree that we are in a video game utopia in terms of quality, content and choice. We have different boxes for different budgets. Different genres for different tastes. Different inputs for different experiences. What more could we want? EVERYTHING. If you've ever spent some time browsing through a video game forum or hanging out in a video game shop you will notice one thing that will stand out above all others. People are ****ing. Split screen this, 640p that. Nothing is good enough. This has been going on since the birth of the industry but we are seeing a faster reaction time to our ****ing and an improved impact due to the advent of the Internet and improved communications. It seems to me that over the past few years the rate of ****ing has gone up. Alongside that so has the number and quality of games and gaming experiences. We're now at a point where you literally can't play all the games made. Does that mean we are sated? Are we are ready to stop ****ing and enjoy our entertainment explosion? According to the release of GTA 4 we most definitely are not.
Despite the best critical and consumer reception of a game since half life 2 we, as a community of gamers, have crawled out from our dark, energy drink lined caves to bash what is possibly the most accomplished video game of all time. Is it because we aren't spending hours upon hours cruising the streets of liberty city with ganja toting gangstas and polygon hookers? Nope. it's because we demand more.
It all comes down to an old business adage; Squeaky wheel gets the grease. So, for those of you who take up arms against poor reviews of decent games and defend hardware to the death, instead take a moment to think about the effect those critiques will have on the industry and the improvements that WILL come about as a result. Do your part for the gamers of the world and **** about it. Guilt free... compliments of me.