Monday, April 3, 2017

Retro Games, Rotation, and the Gamer

- or -
A Question of Retro Games, 
Game Play Rotation Lists, 
& Modem Gamers

Well unless Angry Birds happens to be in his Game Play Rotation List that is!
The Most Dangerous Gamer (Comic)
by Nicole Wakelin on December 10, 2012


There has never been a better time to recover from lazy gamer syndrome or its counterpart - no-time-to-play-itus - than today.  Now.  Bear with me, all will become clear.  But first we begin the lesson... 
The Importance of Context

Contexts is wicked important.  So are ideas like “logic” or “expression” or even “thought” and “emotion” just to name a few.  One position on these matters can be found in the school of Epistemology -- which is the philosophical science and discipline under which we study and define how we know what we know - and the best was to both communicate and illustrate those points.

At its most basic of definitions “Epistemology” is defined as the study of the nature and scope of knowledge, as well as its justified belief and related systems that extend from there. Epistemology
analyzes the nature of knowledge -- and how it relates to similar notions such as truth, belief and justification -- and then defines those words and terms and their meaning in useful ways, so that we can thus carry on dialogue together.

The discipline also addresses our means of production of knowledge, and skepticism about different claims therein. I find this immensely appropriate and even poetic when I consider the alternate worlds that I have most recently existed in, and in particular that of the Japan and its northern-most island, Hokkaido, in the world of Hitman (2016), and the world that exists within the construct of the game “Thief” which was for all practical intentions, created in the late 1990s and refined in 2014 but depicts an industrial-age society on some alien world.

Sure, those are fictional worlds - or are they? I can tell you that at times they felt very real to me - and in particular the moral codes that appear to have usurped that of the courts and Common Law in them.

And the Darwinian approach to moral justification - something akin to Python Law rather than Common Law - when it comes to the significance of and importance for “getting even” or revenge - two themes that play significant roles in both of those manufactured worlds.

Despite the fact that humanity - let alone an individual citizen from one of the many different tribes that human call “nation-states” under which the species has been divided -- often and under conditions of grave danger seek that sort of satisfaction. I'm just saying.

To have meaningful exchanges about these - and other - topics we all need to agree on the basic foundation points like the actual meaning of phrases like “Retro Games,” or “Game Play Rotation List(s)” and even “Modern Gamer(s),” and what about “Preface?” That being so, for the record as I write this I am working from the following foundation points:

Retro Games = Any game that is older than the current season - but can be a very old game too.

Game Play Rotation List(s) = Any game title you play regularly but especially one you have yet to complete to your satisfaction.

Modern Gamer(s) = Me. You. Any gamer currently gaming even if they began their gaming career in the 1970s. As long as they are still gaming and doing it on modern hardware, they are a Modern Gamer.

Preface = The bits that come before the meat of the story.

See? That wasn't so difficult, now was it?

The Meat Part

Moore's law is an observation made by Gordon Moore back in the day that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. His observation turned out to be spot-on accurate, which is why they named it after him. It probably didn't hurt that Gordon Moore was also a co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and a little tech company called Intel.

The paper that Moore wrote and published in 1965 described the doubling - every year - in the number of components per integrated circuit, and projected that the rate of growth would continue for at least another decade - which turned out to be a very conservative time estimate, hindsight being 20/20 and all.

Borrowing from his experience I would like to introduce to you:

Boots-Faubert's Law

So yeah, this is the paper I am writing and publishing (well, article not so much as paper but still) that history will draw upon to phrase what will become known as Boots-Faubert's Law of Game Play Rotation - a simple law in gaming that dictates that the typical Game Play Rotation List for a gamer will double in size every 12 months as more games are added to the list thanks to two basic principles:

(1) The wizards at game studios continue to pump out games at a staggering rate, many of which are classified as “must-play” titles; and

(2) The average gamer will not have sufficient time in any given year to spend on completing these games, which will cause a backlog of incomplete games (and games they never got a chance to start playing in the first place) due to the lack of sufficient time to play them all.

The reasoning for this has to do with how big the video game industry has grown, and the fact that it continues to grow, with new studios appearing practically every day.


A good example of this trend and its effect can be found in the year 2014. Bear in mind that a decade ago the typical gaming season - which runs from September through May - generally produced around six AAA titles in the “must-play” category, and so was certainly within reach of the typical gamer. Which was why we didn't really have Game Play Rotation Lists of the sort we have now back then.

Fast forward to 2014 however, and the situation has changed. Peruse this sampling of just the primary “must-play” titles for that year:
  1. 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
  2. Alien: Isolation
  3. Assassin's Creed Rogue
  4. Assassin's Creed Unity
  5. Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate
  6. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!
  7. Bound by Flame
  8. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
  9. CastleStorm: Definitive Edition
  10. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
  11. Chariot
  12. Child of Light
  13. Dark Souls II
  14. Defense Grid 2
  15. Destiny
  16. Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition
  17. Dragon Age: Inquisition
  18. Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z
  19. EA Sports UFC
  20. The Elder Scrolls Online
  21. Elite: Dangerous
  22. Escape Dead Island
  23. The Evil Within
  24. Fable Anniversary
  25. Far Cry
  26. Fez
  27. FIFA 15
  28. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
  29. Forza Horizon 2
  30. Goat Simulator
  31. Grand Theft Auto Online
  32. Grand Theft Auto V
  33. Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition
  34. Halo: The Master Chief Collection
  35. Halo: Spartan Assault
  36. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
  37. How to Survive
  38. Infamous: First Light
  39. Infamous: Second Son
  40. The Last of Us: Left Behind
  41. LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
  42. LEGO: The Hobbit
  43. The LEGO Movie Videogame
  44. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
  45. LittleBigPlanet 3
  46. Madden NFL 15
  47. Mario Kart 8
  48. Mario Golf: World Tour
  49. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
  50. Metro Redux
  51. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
  52. Minecraft for X1 / PS4
  53. MLB 14: The Show
  54. NASCAR '14
  55. NBA 2K15
  56. Need for Speed Rivals: Complete Edition
  57. Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
  58. Pinball FX 2
  59. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare
  60. Pokémon Battle Trozei
  61. Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire
  62. Risen 3: Titan Lords
  63. The Sims 4
  64. Skylanders: Trap Team
  65. Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition
  66. Sniper Elite III
  67. South Park: The Stick of Truth
  68. Sunset Overdrive
  69. Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS
  70. Terraria
  71. Thief
  72. Titanfall
  73. Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
  74. Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark
  75. Tropico 5
  76. Valiant Hearts: The Great War
  77. The Walking Dead
  78. Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate
  79. Watch_Dogs
  80. The Wolf Among Us
  81. Wolfenstein: The New Order
  82. World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition
  83. World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor
  84. Worms Battlegrounds
  85. WWE 2K15
While not every gamer is going to like every genre - so there will be some selective removals depending on personal choice, the list above contains 85 games! And it does not help matters that some of those titles don't really include official endings - particularly the MMOs.

Sure I could have summarized that list - but then it would not have contained the gut-punching impact that the full list contains. And if you think that is a lot of games to be released in one year, consider the fact that that list only presents the AAA games - there are three times that number of lesser and niche titles released in 2014 as well.

This is why the average gamer's Game Play Rotation List is going to continue to grow with each passing season.

Another Problem

If you think that the paractical limits that usually apply - like only being able to afford X number of games in any given year - is helpful, consider this new problem: Microsoft has started GIVING games away for FREE to members of Xbox LIVE Gold.

Consider it - today when I checked the list of free Gold games - under the Game With Gold Program - I found the following titles:
Ryse: Son of Rome
Evolve Ultimate Edition

So there you have three more titles I want to play. I WANT to play mind you. But I guarantee you that I won't have the time to fully play them to my satisfaction, so as sure as Bob's Your Uncle those three titles will end up being added to my Game Play Rotation List.

What's the Solution, Kenneth?

I don't know about you lot, but the idea of my GPRL simply ballooning forever bothers me. There are loads of entertainment withering there just waiting for me to play!

Fortunately I have a solution. I say we set aside Sunday afternoon through early evening for ME time. Game Time. We dedicate ourselves to removing titles from our GPRLs by really digging into a game every Sunday. Set Sunday aside for gaming! Free the Games! YEAH!

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