Are we spoiled as gamers, do we expect too much out of our games?
I grew up in a generation where there wasn't intelligent AI, you could pretty much master any game once you had the timing down. As far as graphics, there wasn't anything mind blowing, honestly you could build most if not all the games characters with your Legos if you wanted to. There was no Hollywood quality plotlines either, we had the typical good vs. evil, march forward and save the princess or sometimes even save the world from some kind of impending doom. Pretty much every game had the same core game play mechanics too; it was just more so who had the flashier packaging would be the one getting your money in the end. But you know something; all things considered we had a lot of fun with what we did have and what seemed like a lot less complaining too.
I read reviews all the time before I purchase a game, just to make sure I'm making an informed decision, new or used it doesn't matter. I even started writing a few myself, but I found I was dissecting the games I was playing more than I was enjoying the game for what it was. That's why I put the reviewing on hold, because I wanted to get back to the care free days when games were played for fun. It was as if I was playing games like a college professor would grade his students term papers, I was looking for it's flaws and short comings so I could grade it appropriately, instead of in the manner of a child enjoying his new toy.
Case in point, my girlfriend bought me Mind Jack because she heard me talking about it so she figured I wanted it. With the mindset that the game was horrible, based on all the reviews I read but not wanting to risk hurting her feelings, I decided to give it a try. I'm not going to lie to you, the first thing I did while I was playing through the first few levels was critique everything, after a short while of realizing I wasn't playing the game for fun but as a means to tear it apart I took a break from it. After coming to conclusion I did, I decided to start the game over and play not with the mind of a critic but with one of a person who enjoys gaming as an outlet and a way to relax. Now the game didn't blow me a way and I didn't have a winning the lotto moment, but I did have fun and truthfully the game isn't as bad as I was lead to believe.
I'm not saying every game is worth picking up at full price, that's a given. I'm also not saying we don't have the right to complain and voice our opinions over poor quality, but do you think as a whole we are expecting too much? We expect all FPS to be of Call of Duty caliber, all MMOs to be WoW and all action adventure titles to be Uncharted or Gears of War? I know the titles I listed aren't for everyone, but I'm sure we call all agree they are on the top of their game when it comes to their respected genres. Because of the aforementioned titles, plus many others, do we expect a masterpiece every time we put the disc in the system? Do you avoid games because of negative reviews, or do you actually try them for yourself, whether it is when their first released or even when they hit the used market? I don't know about you, but a so called crappy game becomes a lot less crappy when I pick it up for about two thirds off the original price, for example Quantum Theory.
It's a great time to be a gamer, we have the internet which is a plethora of information to help us to be better informed and to make more sound decisions, the used game market is flourishing which allows us to pick up more titles at cheaper prices which in turn lessens the overall risk and of course it's so much more mainstream that the big retailers are competing amongst themselves for our sales dollars, with the outcome being in our favor with better sales and incentives on newer titles.
I'm not saying we as consumers shouldn't want to get out monies worth out of our purchases, whether it be $60 new or $10 used. What I'm saying is, are we expecting every game to be a five out of five? A three or four out of five could be worth your money too, and sometimes even more so, but if it's not a five we just don't think it's not worth it. For example, I loved Dark Sector and not many people did, I was lucky enough to pick it up used at a very good price, but honestly if I did paid full retail I still would have loved it.