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How To Survive As A Gamer In 2010

After about a year and a half on, I've decided to return to   What has changed in that time?  This is the topic of my return to special feature:

Expand: How To Survive As A Gamer In 2010

In general, I'd say the situation is this (although there will be exceptions to the rules to be found):
  • Between the casual pandering of the last decade and 9 out of 10 people apparently feeling they don't need to buy games when they can download them, the state of PC gaming has become even more of a shallow cash grab than it was 2 years ago. PC core gamers are no longer just pleasantly surprised with Indy game developers, they're now relying on them for most games even remotely worth playing.
  • Most MMORPGs are no longer worth a monthly subscription fee.  There's so damn many of them that they're no longer novel.  They can't seem to push the genre beyond the stuff we were doing in the 90s.  Worst of all, recent ones tend to be so heavily instanced that they offer an experience largely indistinguishable from a single player (or limited multiplayer) game anyway. 
Overall, as a PC gamer you're getting less of a game now than you would have 10 years ago.  I've compensated in four major ways:
  1. Dig up old games and play them.  Personally, I found X-Com: Apocalypse, a 1997 game, more entertaining than all but a rare few games released today.  It's not a unique case, games made 10 or more years ago were typically created for the core gamer.
  2. Be extremely wary of buying anything from a big budget studio.  This is because, more often than not, they're generating games for gaming newbies under the expectation they'll make more money than a smaller core gamer niche.  One can only be disappointed so many times before realizing it's just a bad idea to expect that which they have no intention to deliver.  Of course, studios you know which have yet to bow down to the lowest common denominator are an exemption... until they do, of course.
  3. Go multiplatform.   I bought a PSP and renewed my GameFly subscription, and was suddenly reminded why gaming is good again.  The Wii is mostly casual-friendly fare to be avoided, the X-Box has more core gamer games but also a good deal of content intended for trendy knuckleheads, but Sony's Playstation network is still fairly ripe with products intended for the core market: if it looks foreign, you probably struck paydirt.   Though I've always preferred the PC, I've largely been thrust away from the platform by the frequency of cash grabs over real games.
  4. Learn how to make your own games.  Personally, I've become rather well practiced in BYOND, though I've no finished artifact to show for it yet.  I also picked up a student discounted version of an Adobe development package so (once I'm out of school in May) I'll be able to knuckle down and learn to do some nice flash app development.
Added to my student-earned frugality - I generally wait until games come down to the $20 mark or (if $20 is deemed too much) wait until they're being offered for 75% off or more - it's actually fairly easy to survive as a gamer these days.
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