193: The Lonely Crowd


Boyz! Boyz! Boyz!
Dec 3, 2008
it's easy to forget that the first videogames were meant to be experienced in relative isolation.
The first videogames were things like pong, lunar lander, space invaders, asteroids, donkey kong, etc. that were played in video arcades, that during the early 80's were pretty lively, and I often went there with friends and met other people while there. I also had to walk, skateboard, or ride my bike there so I got a little sun and exercise as well. Computer replacements became popular because we saved our quarters but things have never been the same.

Those were the days.

I'll also just quickly add that it only became necessary to look up solutions on the internet when selling "strategy guides" became routine practice. The Internet proved the solution to this scam.


New member
Jan 14, 2009
I loved this.

It's so, so unfortunately true.

However, I am like your friend Zach, to a point.
I certainly look at things the same way, but there's no reason to make other people do that, and I have as much fun as the next guy winning a Starcraft match from a well-thought out unit combo and counter as much as making 10 barracks and flying them into the enemy base to mass marines there...

It was funny when looking at the examples you gave because I'm like "well, yeah, that's true...but it doesn't make it not fun to use firebats sometimes..."

I do see some very stupid gimmicky bosses too, especially in things like Final Fantasy where knowing a certain trick makes bosses much easier (cast float and the minotaurs can't hit you, use a phoenix down on the enemy zombie to kill it instantly)...

I miss the days where gamefaqs and ign walkthroughs weren't there, and I remember my friend with his Zelda strategy guide like "YOU GOTTA DO HALF THE SPIRIT TEMPLE AND THEN DO THE SHADOW TEMPLE IT MAKES IT EASIER!" when I never bothered...

Some people found these little secrets making the game interesting and awesome, when I usually liked to develop logical strategies...Granted, it makes me boil down a party of adventurers into numbers instead of adventurers, but...It feels good knowing that your tank is absorbing damage right, you have melee dps, you have ranged dps, you have support spells, you have damage spells...etc.

When I should see them as an interesting character with a backstory and such...I don't. It makes me feel like I'm unappreciative of the game, but I do love most of them anyway, and I don't like how others just "love a character" because of something he did in a cutscene...But it doesn't mean I'm supposed to tell them they can't like it because of that.

A musician could listen to a song and tell you everything wrong with it, the simple melody, the ambiguous lyrics, the stolen guitar line, the uninspired verse-chorus-verse lineup...She could tell you everything you should hate the song for, but you might still like it just because...You like how it sounds.

And I like a lot of games that kind of sucked that I bought because the cover looked cool, because, well, that's all I had to go by.


New member
Mar 12, 2009
I think you tapped into something here.

Read and study Joseph Campbell and Literary criticism and the greatest literature becomes a game of recognizing story patterns, pointing out archetypes, and wondering how they will execute one of the two or three endings available to their particular story structure (Harry Potter = Odysseus = Neo). My wife always asks me if reading books or watching movies is even fun for me anymore because I always know what, why, and how they are doing.

Yes, I am. I still enjoy them on a basic level, but the more you study the more of the rafters you see, and for most people, the more interesting it becomes.

I think the fact that now we live in a tiny e-world, the ideals have to shift. No longer will the focus on gaming (or Literature, or History, or whatever) be on studying out and finding the facts. The facts are available in that little device you keep in your pocket next to the mentos. The focus is shifting to interpretation and analysis of this info.

Of course it's good to just "play" sometimes as a previous article mentioned.