Video games nowadays are simply too hard, it is an unfortunate but true fact of life as shown to many by the recent releases of games like the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, and any game that could even remotely be compared to a game in the “Dark Souls” franchise. Controllers have too many buttons, televisions are too big which leads to too many things being on screen at once, and one can easily find people to play games for them online so why even bother? Visual novels are soon becoming the new way to experience “gaming,” as they offer very little gameplay at a reasonable price. Still, the game demands the player click to make dialogue choices, or they demand that the play read the text on screen as a way to deepen their understanding of the story. Thus begs the question, “what if video games played themselves?” Look no further than this editorial to educate the minds of those who enjoy video games, but simply can not be trifled to play in them in almost any sense of the word.
First, this editorial examines the ways in which games reward in activity in a very literal sense in that the game either directly or indirectly tells the player to just stop playing. The first and most direct example of this would be found in the game The Stanley Parable. While the game at its core is a satire on the numerous “choices” many modern games boast about, it also pokes fun at other aspects of gaming today including achievements. Some of which are easy to get such as the achievement of “Click On Door 430 Five Times” which as the name would imply, involves knocking on doors (albeit not as simple as the achievement’s name might seem due to an unimpressed narrator). When it comes to rewarding players for not playing the game though, The Stanley Parable also has an achievement named “Go Outside” which is only given to the player after they return to the game after five years of not playing it. Although this is done in jest other games take it more seriously such as the case with Final Fantasy V in the fight against Famed Mimic Gogo. In order to obtain the crystal shard for the Mime job class, the party must face off against a boss that tells them he will do everything they do. So, the way the player is supposed to “defeat” Gogo is by not doing anything for several minutes until he praises them and gives them the crystal shard (though it is possible yet difficult and tedious to beat him the standard way). The last example for this specific method of rewarding inactivity is the secret ending of Far Cry 4. In the beginning of the game, the antagonist, Pagan Min takes the protagonist prisoner and then places him and the end of a dinner table joined by some other guests. Pagan Min stabs one of the guests and then tells you to wait at the table while he takes a call, and while most rational people would immediately run away having witnessed a murder, if the player chooses to stay for a few minutes Pagan Min returns, lets the protagonist spread his mothers ashes, and the game ends.
Next up, games that reward the player’s inactivity through profit with the first being AdVenture Capitalist. Of course, in this case the word game is used loosely as it should with this genre of clicker games that really just play themselves. Still, the example lies with the purchasing of managers within the game, which run the factories that the player can buy in order to generate profits. In its entirety, the game is supposed to be making fun of the economic system of capitalism and how little owners have to do when they have employees to do the work for them. Nonetheless, the player can then buy a bunch of factories, buy managers for each of these factories, and then stop playing the game for weeks to months to even years only to return and get more money to repeat the cycle because that is what fun is. Good ol’ video games, always supplying lots of entertainment when the entire game is based off of not playing it. Not even a section of the game, just the entire game is based off of not having the game open in any way, and it also has no actual ending and multiple locations for this level of “fun.” A more sane approach to this can be found in Fable II, a game that Lusipurr loves with all his heart, where the player can buy homes and then rent them out in order to get more money to spend on actually playing the game. Of course, this can be exploited by just falsely advancing the in-game date from within the console but it still a funny addition to the game as a means of making more money without trying too hard.
Last, but certainly not least, a game that rewards the player for not playing it by exploiting the system similar to the way one can game the system in Fable II. This can be found in none other than Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia with the item known as the Fortune Ring. For every hour of playtime up until the timer maxes out at 99:59, the item gives the player another +2 to their luck stat, which helps a lot when it comes to finding specific loot in-game. Rather than having a system that rewards actually playing the game, Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia lays victim to a very easy exploit that just involves a charger and some patience. Of course, other games with automatic day/night systems could also theoretically be exploited if the player just leaves the controller alone until they get to the day they want, but that probably just signals to the fact that the game does not have enough entertaining content. Of course, as shown by many games already, a game does not have to necessarily have content to sell well thanks to on-disc DLC and generally low expectations for video games as a whole. Maybe this is just part of a bigger problem, people should just stop playing games that do not actually have content in them. Or, they should just admit that they are using software instead of playing games. Who knows?
So that is that for this week’s editorial all about not playing games. Did you learn something new? Do you want to now buy all of these games so you too can not play them? Do you have a suggestion for future editorials? Whatever the case may be, make sure to leave a comment below and let us know what you think!