For Father’s Day I cooked my family the best pork tenderloins I’ve ever had. Unsurprisingly, I’ve actually owned Weber’s Big Book of Grilling for years. I enjoyed the book, read through it once, enjoyed especially the stories about Weber’s history, and then tucked it in between all my other barbecue bibles. It wasn’t until a week ago that I saw the light when my Aunt made the disappearing tenderloin, which true to it’s name quickly disappeared. Without my Aunt pulling this recipe out of the book, which I owned, I would still be gunning for pork chops at the supermarket.
In the Information Age, we live in a world of noise. With Netflix and other cloud services becoming prevalent, we will be sitting on a treasure trove of great content without knowing about it. Not much different than a library in the concept of content accessibility, except for that instantaneous bit. Even partitioning out most media, games are released too quickly for even professional games journalists to delve in to each one. We are getting more First Impressions pieces and less thorough reviews on every game because, simply, who has time?
This touches upon our great and child-like hypocrisy of want and time. So many games now are dinged for being completed in around 5 hours (especially FPS), and then the ding is compounded because of the game’s price. Then with unchecked logic, some reviewers I’ve even seen pull out the “99 cents Angry Birds” card to compare value to time played. For myself, this is becoming possibly the least important factor in choosing a game. I do want to know how long the game lasts and its replayability, but I believe that data is better kept in an insular function of how fun the game actually is. I felt Portal 2 was an hour or so too long, but I don’t believe they should have lopped off an hour and have had to lop off part of the price tag too.
One of the biggest truisms of my age-advanced gaming generation is that time vastly outweighs price for entertainment. As much as any working bloke, I hate wasting money, but I hate wasting my minimal entertainment time even more. We’ve had this problem with books for a long time. The difference is that people took in to account the ancillary time to reading. All the additional activities required to actually sit down and hold the physical object held the noise in check. In contrast, I feel the instantaneous access to current content actually allows a lot more noise to get through. Noise wastes time.
I rely on my friends, the blogosphere, and journalists I trust to pare off the noise. It’s become necessary. Steam showing me what my friends have bought might seem like a shady feature, but I truly appreciate it. Even Amazon reviews can have substantial weight if I start seeing some patterns in the separate reviews. This MMO blogosphere has kept me away from some games like Age of Conan, and sold me on others, like Rift (and unfortunately Warhammer Online).
Spiral Knights is one of the newest free-2-play titles on Steam. The game has been around for awhile, but it just tapped a huge audience. My friends list has shown much activity in the game, so I decided to check it out. (I would also get another Team Fortress 2 hat, the amount of which shows the worth of a man.) It’s a fun, light-hearted, Zelda-esque dungeon romp. The other night, I saw two of my friends playing so I loaded up Spiral Knights. Opened the friends list, and hit join. In an instant, I was playing with my friends. The time to play was magniflorous.
I haven’t even spent enough time in Spiral Knights to warrant a First Impressions bit, but the game tore through two ever-increasing hurdles: noise and time. I don’t envy the game designer’s challenge to get me interested and get me playing, but games like Spiral Knights still give me hope for the MMO genre.
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