I won’t deny that the futility of trying to keep abreast of major releases is a huge factor in my deciding to sit this fall out. (A decision to which I’m not quite as dedicated as I might seem; I’m having a tough time forcing myself not to restore my preorder for Valkyria Chronicles, for example.) I think I’ve been suffering long-term residual shell-shock from 1UP’s first real fall season, when a paltry five of us were writing all the reviews, previews, news, features and guides for one of gaming’s biggest years ever. The realization that the site can get along just fine without me hovering over the new release section like an anxious den mother has taken a while to sink in, but it’s really quite a relief. It’s freed me to look forward to the launch of the expanded content section and the opportunity to write about things that aren’t games, because there’s so much more to life than this silly little medium.
Another factor, though, has been my increasing revulsion at the prospect of association with self-proclaimed hardcore gamers. Just look at how various forums responded today to Jennifer Tsao’s departure from 1UP for a depressing example. Jen wasn’t just a great managing editor (a thankless, behind-the-scenes job that keeps a site’s visible content moving at an even clip), but she brought a welcome and necessary perspective to our publications. Buuut: since her mature, reasoned point of view threatened the entrenched patriarchal hegemony of the hardcore gamer, her move to Sega has been met with more “good riddance” than “good luck,” and that’s pathetic given all that’s she’s brought to the gaming press. But such tends to be the case with people who think of themselves as hardcore: that is, they tend to be pretty pathetic. (Not all of them, of course.)
Of course, despite my flagging interest in the very narrow stream of content presented as Must-Play Experiences by the industry’s finely-tuned engine of promotion and advertising, I’m still perfectly fine writing about the medium that has treated me so well these past years. There’s more to gaming than the latest grisly exercise in shooting a bald musclebound spaceman in the face, and there are enough intelligent fans of the form to interact with whose shoulders are mercifully free of chips.
So keep it lively, guys. You’re the object that blunts my innate pessimism to mere cynicism.