Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Video Game question

We identify ourselves as Gamers.  To us it has been a mantle we have alternately been burdened by and worn with pride.  Mostly pride, given the group that usually reads my blog.  But we are not the only ones that call themselves Gamers.  There is that other group.   Video games and RPGs have always coexisted in the popular consciousness together.  Yeah..yeah H.G. Wells blah blah Little Wars...that is not what I am talking about.

In the popular consciousness RPGs hit the market maybe 30 seconds before video games did.  The Atari 2600 entered into home market in October of 1977, around the same time as the first printings of AD&D.  Sure OD&D was out before that and there were video games before the 2600 too.  Indeed the 2600 is part of the 2nd Generation of video games, with the 1st gen starting in 1972.

The cost of entry to the home video game hobby is higher than RPGs, the prices are remarkably stable.  For example RPGs have been something of a steady state tech, video games and their hardware are fully in line with Moore's Law; getting cheaper while getting better.  The 2600 retailed for $199.00 in 1977, the Wii retailed at $249.99 30 years later.

Video Gamers and TT Gamers have always seen to eye to eye.  I know for a fact that someone on my reader list has seen someone come into their FLGS to look for a video game only to be mocked out of the store.

The issue I have is that this divide really should not exist   Granted. I have no clue what some Video Gamers are talking about sometimes. I am still only level 2 in Skyrim, never played WoW, Everquest or anything else like that.  I have been playing Lolipop Chainsaw for about 8 months and still am not past "level 2" on it.

So before I go deeper into this I want to ask.  What video games are you all playing?

Did you pick them because they appeal to your TTRPG background? Or because they are opposite of an RPG?  Why that game?


Rivetgeek said...

Because of the timing of the popularity of RPGs, computer games, and my age I've always been both a tabletop gamer and a video gamer. I got my first D&D set when I was 8 or 9; we had our first Atari in the house when I was 10 or 11.

I play video games because 1) I like to play games, 2) it's easy, just sit down and play and 3) they can have compelling stories and be very immersive. I don't own a console and suck with console controllers, so all of my play is PC. I just finished Dishonored, and among my favorites are: the Thief series, the Deus Ex series, Half Life, Portal and Portal 2, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and a number of others. I tend to like games that bring something extra to the screen - Halo, Quake, etc. I find terribly boring. Mirror's Edge, with the freerunning and the underemphasis on shooting your way through, I really loved.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Same here.

I have Dragon Age, but I have not been able to get into it. I do like the First Person Shooters myself, great to unwind and mindlessly kill some zombies/demons/aliens/robots.

Patrick Mallah said...

Tabletop gaming is not something you always have access to, and waiting days to play a game with friends is tiresome. I'm an avid video game player, and I always have been. I played video games before I ever played D&D.

Currently, I'm playing Skyrim again right now.

You can also see
my Xbox gamerscore HERE and my PS3 trophies HERE

Nick said...

I like games that aren't anything like tabletop experiences, because it's hard to get into say, Skyrim, when tabletops do it better. (That's not the only reason I dislike Skyrim, but that's neither here nor there.)

My favorite genres are turn-based strategy games, and then competitive action games. I'm currently hooked on Guardians of Middle Earth, I finished Journey yesterday, and before that I played through Arkham City on Hard (fun, but difficult!). Hearts of Iron 3 is a perennial favorite, too- you couldn't run that on the tabletop unless you really, really liked paperwork.

Doctor Futurity said...

I'm a well-rounded gamer and I indulge in a metric ton of video games (at least a tiny bit), while focusing on a core few I love. I'm a huge fan of the modern CRPG, Bethesda/Bioware style, with my favorites being Fallout 3 and New Vegas, Dragon Age, the Mass Effect series (and I loved ME3's ending), and others. I'm a dedicated player in Rift. I overindulge in the shooter genre on a regular basis, but also like that most FPS single player campaigns only last 10-12 hours, something I can finish in a week or two on my tight schedule.

Oddly I don't like the more methodical old school RPGs anymore, or turn-based/RTS/stretgy games....I like what video games do best (graphics, immersion, mood/cinematic experiences) but for the rest I really prefer the tabletop. And even the best computer game still pales in comparison to a good RPG session at the table.

Spazalicious Chaos said...

Mostly FPSs and Japanese RPGs, because a lot of the western ones are awful in my opinion. Then again, I'm sitting here with my PS2 waiting for the Xbox 360 to become bargain bin material...

Anonymous said...

Moore's Law with a vengeance. The price of the 2600 is over 750 adjusted dollars.

faoladh said...

I hardly own any computer games. I have Dwarf Fortress, Darklands, Sid Meier's Pirates!, and Rome: Total War. I've played and loved Sid Meier's Civilization (I, II, and III; I would like to try IV and V). You'll notice that one thing all of these (except perhaps Rome, but even that has alternatives to the fixed campaign) have in common is a lack of a predetermined story. They all have emergent behavior as their main focus.

Which happens to fit well with my preferences in tabletop RPGs.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

My kids are really into Minecraft right now. Very sandboxy.

sirkerry said...

I don't play or own any video games, nor do I have any desire to.

Simon said...

" I know for a fact that someone on my reader list has seen someone come into their FLGS to look for a video game only to be mocked out of the store. "

I saw exactly this on my last visit to Leisure Games, Finchley (best RPG shop in London!). The dude seemed unable to process the idea that these boxes were full of games not requiring a video screen.

Simon said...

Actually, I remember my last visit to Tennessee, talking with a nice couple in Military Intelligence at a BBQ, I mentioned 'D&D nerds' - a term they seemed familiar with, until I realised they had no concept of non-videogame D&D/RPGs.

Simon said...

Personally, I used to play games like Duke Nukem a long long time ago, and a quite long time ago I was playing Medieval & Rome Total War. But the little netbook I use as a PC today can't run games - no DVD drive and not enough processing - and I don't think I've played anything much for 6-7 years now.

Anonymous said...

I play tabletop games as much as a social event as anything else. As a fairly introverted person, and as a "forever GM", the experience is fun, but draining as Hell. Even on the odd days when I get to play (or when playing wargames) I'm still exhausted at the end of the night.
bluntly, there are times I just do not want to interact with other people. It's been years since I played anything other than very narrow spectrum of games online; Mechwarrior, Hawken, Puzzle Pirates (I'm part of my mother's crew, and occasionally drop in to help them with needful things); in each case, I had/have a small, reliable, tight-knit group to work with. I also do some party or co-op games, especially with my wife.

But honestly I play most video games for a more personal experience. I prefer puzzles and tactical RPGs (puzzles by any other name..), a few RPGs (pokemon, anyone?), and moody story-heavy shooters (FEAR is one of my favorites), with the odd action or simulation game.

Much of the time, I still force a "solo" experience even in multiplayer games. In FFXI I was renowned among my friends and even other groups for taking down missions and monsters by myself, and for exploring the world alone.

Video games require little investment and provide a type of fun a tabletop game simply cannot give me. But, by the same token, they will never replace TT gaming as far as I'm concerned.