How Much Geek Cred Do I Lose By Not Owning A Gaming Console?
Despite my love for technology, I don’t currently own a gaming console, and don’t plan to. I’m just not that into console games. The starting point: Blu-Ray. The standard nerd solution: “Buy a PS3.” Then there was the recent Netflix / Roku box I picked up, which garnered the question “Why didn’t you just buy an XBOX 360? The Netflix service will show up there in the fall.”
Yes, my non-love for consoles gets some strange looks, and I feel my “geek cred” dwindling by several points.
So let me explain why I don’t own a console. This list is largely based on my use of a PS2 over the past few years:
- I can’t use the controllers. I missed a whole generation of console gaming after the original NES. The Playstation-style controller with triggers, a D-pad, a joystick, and four buttons, is just too complicated. I really like flying games but my usual situation ends up being crashing into a wall and getting stuck there until I remember the key combination to get out. Not my idea of a good time.
- The games are too hard. I’ve had several recent experiences trying to play PS2 games where I couldn’t even pass the training level – where you’re supposed to learn the controls. Even the training levels are set up for people who are already used to game conventions and presumably, can just zoom on through. I’m obviously not even at square one. And if the training level is too hard, I strongly doubt I’d even get to the next level.
- Requires too big of a time commitment. I did get sort of far in Okami but a pattern soon became clear that at the rate I was going, this game would take a prohibitively long time for me to finish. I’m talking days of playing a game. I know a lot of people think nothing of playing long into the night to where entire weekends are lost, but I just don’t have time for that sort of thing anymore.
- The games aren’t my idea of fun. I started playing Grand Theft Auto, and wandered around aimlessly until I realized you were supposed to steal a car. It encourages criminal behavior and I felt uncomfortable breaking the law. I then got stuck in a garage, unable to drive out of it for several minutes because of my incompetence with the controller, and then gave up. I also played a war game that stressed me out to no end. I don’t want to go to Iraq and get shot at; so I don’t find it fun to hyper-realistically simulate a war zone in my living room. I don’t need that kind of stress.
- Very expensive. A lot of the games run 20 dollars and over, and based on the amount of enjoyment / frustration I’ve gotten from them it’s not worth the price.
- Zero interest in sports. I’ve never been interested in sports so the whole genre of Madden type games, tennis, and golf simulations is eliminated.
- My wife has even less interest than I. Getting a console would be a very anti-social investment on my part.
Anyhow, I recently realized I hadn’t turned on the PS2 in nearly a year. So I sold it, along with a pile of games I never played. I heard some of them were rather good, but I’ll never know.
Now, I do like some games. I’m a big fan of the Blizzard stuff, and am looking forward to Starcraft III and Diablo II – both on the computer. Spore also looks very intriguing. I really liked Katamari Damacy, and have enjoyed playing Rock Band with others. I also really like the classic arcade games of my youth.
But just from this list of games, you can tell what games I can handle: ones with simple controls, third person views (the game isn’t immersive), and more simulation (turn based) rather than realism and real-time action. From what I’ve seen, that eliminates a lot of console games, or at least makes purchasing a console highly questionable when you may only play three or four games.
So I don’t currently own a gaming console, and am uninterested in buying one in the foreseable future. I realize for many uber-nerds, that reduces my “geek cred” significantly, but I don’t buy gear I’ll never use just for the “cool” factor. Have you lost all respect for me?