The last week or so have been really weird for me personally, because of the current climate surrounding Anthem. It is making me realize how apparently vastly different my tastes in games are from that of the zeitgeist. I mean I have known for years that I am not even vaguely close to the norm for society as a whole. However I didn’t realize that I was apparently so out of band for how the rest of my chosen community… gamers… felt about games.
See the problem at hand is I love Anthem. It delivers on a player fantasy of controlling a mech suit and going through interesting combat with anime missiles while allowing me to roam around through this meticulously detailed and rich world with my friends while doing it. That is a strong player fantasy for me… someone who grew up loving Robotech with all of my heart. Enough that I convinced my parents to take me to a Robotech convention as a kid.
However right now this game is reaping a heap of negative sentiments everywhere I turn. The worst seem to be coming from YouTubers who are practically branding the game a serial killer and known toddler juggler. I may be more on the defensive than I should be, because I do love this game… and I also loved another game that these so called “Influencers” completely destroyed.
Now we go back to the whole… my tastes seem to be out of band with the rest of society commentary. I LOVED Mass Effect Andromeda. I thought it was a great game, and one that did not warrant the ton of bullshit memes that were dropped upon it. Within a few days of the launch of the game a series of patches came through and fixed most of the issues that were so heavily meme’d on the internet.
However the influencer crew make their money by getting those early clicks within the first few days of the launch of a game. If you listen to any major YouTuber that is willing to talk shop, they will tell you that they make the majority of their money in the two weeks surrounding the launch of a game. This is so much the case that often times if a copyright flag happens after that two weeks… they don’t even bother contesting it because the potential money has already been made.
So in order to get those eyeballs they rely the human nature that we are way more likely to watch something that aligns to our hatred of something… than we are to watch something that either goes against our feelings or aligns to the joy of a thing. This outrage economy has lead us to have people like Angry Joe… that make a string of videos about them being angry about video games. That is the thing he does… he gets pissed off about things and dresses up in costumes while being pissed off about things. If you want to be pissed off about something, then bam he has an entire channel full of it.
I’ve been engaging in this on Twitter over the last few days and I feel like… this isn’t even about Anthem itself. There is a ball of rage about how things are working right now in the video game industry and it seems to have perched on top of this title. People hate Electronic Arts with the deep burning hatred of a million suns. People are mad at Bioware and feeling wronged by Mass Effect 3’s ending, Mass Effect Andromeda and daring to make a game that is different from the traditional Bioware fare. People are angry at the live services model and games being released in an incremental drip rather than one big single player epic for that $60… not to mention that the actual price of buying all of the content in most games tends to be something closer to $150 rather than that $60 price point we have stuck in our mind.
People are angry about the perceived lack of value in games right now, however… that $60 we paid in 2000 was worth just shy of 90 of our 2019 dollars. Because we seem completely affixed with religious fervor to never paying more than 60 dollars for a product or preferably paying significantly less than that… what we get as a result is missing features or in the case of Anthem a game that is being delivered incrementally as a live service throughout the course of the year.
Over the course of the last 10 days I have spent right at 80 hours playing Anthem and have loved the time spent. The weekends skew those numbers… but I have legitimately put in almost 8 hours a day in this game. I loved the story and the characters I encountered. I loved all of the little nuance and detail to the world and the moment to moment feel of the player fantasy of controlling a mech suit in a way that no other game has really delivered on. So as a result it is hard to watch this thing that I have spent so much time enjoying being ripped asunder by the same people who did a similar hit job on Andromeda.
Which again leads me back to the original statement. My tastes are apparently completely out of band for the tastes of gamers in general. So not only am I not representative of the population as a whole, which I learned over and over growing up. I am also not apparently representative of this adopted community of gamers. So basically.. Like often is the case I feel alone in a crowd of folks who feel massively different than I do. So in the end… I am going to keep enjoying the game and hoping for the best… and putting on blinders to the people who are hating on it.
This week has been a weird one… but I will move past it because I have a game that I am enjoying playing. The folks that are bashing Anthem just have some hatred for something they are apparently not enjoying. I will gladly take a game I am having fun with over being told I shouldn’t be enjoying it. Maybe at some point in the future my tastes will once again align to the Zeitgeist but for the time being I am going to latch onto Anthem with both arms and hold tight because this game takes me back to running around the living room with a Cyclone and an Invid Fighter having elaborate mech battles.