Well, this has been a matter creeping up on me recently, and enough so to write an editorial on it. If there's one trend I notice in video games nowadays, especially you're "mainstream" and "hardcore" games, it's that they're just not fun any more. Y'know, video games are important to me. My friend criticizes me for my heavy playing of them, but really, it's just a means to cooling down and keeping yourself from getting swallowed in the monotony and stress of school and life. And I choose video games to do this because I like having fun, and I'm too much of a lazy fuck to go outside or something. Well, to the point, it seems like the games everyone is playing nowadays just aren't fun. They're addicting, yes, but just not fun. Case in point is Call of Duty. It's a good enough game. It was designed decently enough to push those millions of copies. It doesn't spawn popularity and the criticized fandom it has without just cause. But really, it's not fun. In the end, the game seems more focused on mindless stat crunching and worthless memorization of combos and maps and strategies than being able to just load up the game, hop on, and have a blast. And when people are online, there's more talking smack and shouting at each other than having a good laugh. With the whole stat crunching, I mean mindlessly playing to get prestige or whatever you crazy kids call it and playing game after game just to advance a rank. All the time you're getting pissy at teammates and still doing the same routine. Over and over again. It's why I hate ranked based games. I love being able to hop online and play a game without my skill level meaning anything. Yeah, I like being good at a game, but having fun in it is the foremost thing. And the "criticized fandom" I was talking about earlier spawns from this reason. They get essentially brainwashed into the game. It's like an addiction. They memorize the random jargon, phrases, terms, and whatever the fuck else they need to know to be successful at the game and then that's pretty much all they do. I don't think it's fun at all. Well, there are still fun games out there. Take Super Mario Galaxy for instance. It's not inherently hard but it can be challenging at times. It's spectacular, it's got a look of just plain hop-and-bop mechanics, and it's what I'd call fun. You don't need to be a balls to the wall gamer to play it, but you can still enjoy it either way. And then there's your more "mature" titles like Left 4 Dead. You can hop into the game and learn all you need to know easily. It isn't about practicing your precision shooting or crap like that, you just go in there and mow down zombies. There's no ranking system, no stat crunching, it's just lots of zombies and lots of damn fun shooting. As for the trend, I think it will continue. Why? Because it's a successful tactic. As I said before, while the games aren't exactly fun, they're addicting. By the time you get way too angry to keep playing the game, you realize hours have gone by and some time later want to play more. It happens for Call of Duty, it happens for Halo, it happens for most popular games that can fall into the category of "addictive" but not "fun". These games sell because people want more, and really it's hard to fuck it up provided you use the same guidelines for game after game. What I really want is throwbacks to the old days. Games like Perfect Dark which, while they required skill, were fun because it was a huge arsenal of outrageous weapons with no limits. You didn't have to worry about winning or losing or weapon balance. You just took a N-Bomb and blasted a guy into yesterday until you laughed your ass off. Really, I just realized I went off on an unorganized tangent, but it's what I feel. And I'm obviously not the organized type. Discuss!