I heard a very interesting saying on the latest Gamers With Jobs podcast. One of the guys, can’t recall who, made a resolution along the lines of “killing my executive gamer”. What is an executive gamer? For me, it’s that part in you that plays games in order to analyze and pick them apart. To see the cracks in them and criticize them as products instead of entertainment. Think of professional wine tasters. For most of us, wine is just wine and we don’t give a rats ass if it has a hint of peach in it. Bloggers, podcasters, journalists and others who have their hands in this industry (…but are NOT part of it…) tend to be executive gamers. They’ll be the first to tell you what’s wrong with a game and last to tell you why it’s fun.
Looking at 2008, I’m not the only one who may have let that part of me take over a bit. I don’t think being an exec gamer necessarily stops you from having fun in a game, but I do think it shortens that “fun window” by quite a large margin. Personally, I think my tolerance of the “same old MMO game” design paradigm is starting to thin a bit…but that’s not really because these games are not fun. Brent spoke to it a bit in his latest podcast in which he thinks we see the dents and paint scratches a bit easier. Seeing these types of flaws makes it harder for us to have fun, but that says more about us than it does the actual game.
I think part of the key to killing this tendency is to go back to one’s roots as a gamer and I think this is where games like Sacred 2, Tomb Raider and The Witcher will come in. I’m hoping that playing games like these will bring back an enjoyment for what makes these games fun instead of just pieces of software to hack away at. No promises though