The party of what was

We have this at times, we go back in time to remember the party we were at, the party we gave. There is a reason for it. It can be sentiment, lust, desire, achievement there are hundreds of reasons why a party remains in memory forever. A party is for most the easiest to see, and there is a second reason. It is a setting where the crowd remembers you, the crowd was part of it, you either distinguished yourself, or you were distinguished by others. It is the crowd that is an essential element in all this. It is part of the multiplayer appeal, or at least that is what I believe is the case. I play single for myself, for my own needs, for my need for joy. I am not a racer of routes, not a shortcut maker of cleverness. I walked through Oblivion and Skyrim for hours, enjoying the perfection that Bethesda created. I see solution after solution that is all about feigned perfection. It is about showing a crowd how perfect you are, but is that a truth? A reality? To present ones self as clever is not a presentation, it is deception. That is the side that I going wrong in too many games. Whilst I focussed on giving the gamer a good time, others are setting the dressing to pretend the gamer is much better than he or she actually is. I have been brooding on this, you see it is the game Elden Ring that brings the real gamers to the surface. I am a real gamer, but I was never that great in action games, I learned that the hard way in Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3. I still have these games. They are beautiful, but for me not something I can hope to conquer. I feel no shame, I have my own speciality and I have achieved plenty of game completions over the 40 years I have truly enjoyed gaming. From the VIC20, the CBM64, the Atari ST, the CBM Amiga, N64, CD32, SEGA Megadrive, Playstation, Xbox, SEGA Dreamcast, the PS2, Gamecube, Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and the PS5. I have seen and enjoyed gaming to the largest extent, but when the Xbox360 came things changed. This is not the fault of Microsoft, in this they are innocent. There was a push for achievements and to get them any way possible and I was the same. I wanted (for the most) all the achievements, I was not an online gamer, so I missed out on several achievements. I think it is what ‘saved’ me and even the Sony group has that issue. You are not a gamer until you get the platinum achievement. There is something wrong with that notion. It is like a new dimension of workforce adhering to the Wall Street stage of ‘Greed is good’, it is not, it really is not. I think the stage of Nintendo Switch to do away with achievements was wise, a lot more wise than most of us realise. Ask yourself the question, are you driven by achievements or to have fun? Do you enjoy walking in the world you play in? These questions have been bugging me for some time now. The Bethesda games brought it to the surface and to some degree the Ubisoft games too. Guerrilla pushed it into overdrive with the Horizon games. It matters, it really does because the wrong setting here could break streaming games. In the games I designed for streaming I think about rewards, not achievements. The Luna keys were part of that. Silver keys to the game you get them in and gold keys to unlock something in 5 games that you have at that point. Rewards are more satisfying, rewards are a token of achievement, a point where we all will get, but not having it on every profile matters. It stops the wannabe’s, it heralds those who are and it gives to those who attempt and overcome. We want to be the gamer that has it all, but why? You see there is so much to gain from replayability, there is so much to get when some options are only there for the arcane, for the shadow dancers, for the brawlers and it is possible we will not become all of those to the degree of perfection, but the inner feeling of what we get done is overwhelming and I believe that achievements undermine that. Now, this is nothing against Microsoft (I slapped them often enough), Microsoft brought achievements and it is a great idea, but game makers and others seem to have subverted the concept, that is how I see it and it took me a while to see the Nintendo Switch step as the great step it was. Yet I understand that achievements are important to some, so how to embrace the idea and make it better? The keys are part of an optional solution, but only in part. So to look at the party of what was is also a way to see the side of what might be. I have no idea if I will solve it, it might be up to someone else to do that, but it needs to be done. We need to go back to the old days to when gaming was pure it was about the gamer getting to places, not others judging the gamer on how he got there, how fast and in what way. We lost something there and we need to find it again. The streaming stage will push gaming further, but it will also push weaknesses and corruption of the gaming mind further. Gaming is about checks and balances and we seemingly ignored the balancing act. I have done that as well and now my mind is making up the consideration and the tally of balances missed. How it will fare? I cannot tell at present.

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