When I was a youngling around 14-18 my young adult mind was subjected to the golden age of PC gaming. The majority of my personal gaming time was spent honing my excellent skills at Quake 3 to a level of folktale heroism. Eventually I became part of the official "Mplayer" UK clan. Being very skilled, it was impossible for anyone to beat my Hercules like sense of timing with rockets. A personal favorite "Q3DM17" highlighted my reprehensible inhuman like timing with rocket projectiles. Even commencing a battle was an exercise in frustration and futility. It ultimately served as my own personal gratification while my opponent would quickly come to the realization of his own irrelevance within the world as we know it. Regularly child like minds suffocated and shielded from moral values would accuse me of cheating and rage quite. This was delightful and vindication of my skills as a pro PC gamer.
Nowadays the nature of the gaming landscape has changed. These high paced skill based shooters relying on individual talent as the sole means of personal gratification have experienced a cretaceous paleogene extinction like event. With titles such as "Tribes Ascend" represented a K–T boundary of a largely extinct bygone era. Pc gamers such as myself are survivors, crocodiles and alligators sitting idle in the waters putting up with whatever nonsense this corrupt age of gaming presents.
I believe this short term incorrigible change is to do with consoles taking over the realm of first person shooters. Particularly that of Call Of Duty. I do not like to admit it, as do other hardcore longer PC gamers but first person shooters are now home to this "xbox360". A sad painful fact I and many others have come to recognize with contempt and resentment. The fast paced skilled based twitch shooters of my era have been replaced with slow and mindless "play to unlock stuff". Everytime I bring this up "troll is cried". "noob" the usual derogatory remark. People mistake "skill based" for saying a game has "no skill requires" To explain. a game that is not "skill based" can obviously require skill. However at it's core it should be noted Call Of Duty is not about a basic twitch based skill or tactical thinking.
What makes Call Of Duty popular unlike Quake 3 of shooters of the golden age, anything and everything you do in Call Of Duty is skill rewarded regardless of winning or failing. It's formula is similar to that of world of warcraft and other MMO's. A carrot is dangled and you are incrementally rewarded for grinding, constantly throwing peanuts at player in order to give gratification. A guitar rift plays with +50Xp or some sort of in-game item reward.
Quake 3 was the humanist opposite to Call Of Dutys shallow self-congratulatory nature. The design of the maps, weapons represented a elemental level of skill idiosyncratic of hardcore PC gaming. A multiplayer playground deprived any dissent corruption or subversion of the games core values in order to appeal to the now broken and corrupt gaming culture we currently inhabit (and happily embrace). I can understand this phenomenon. However being a primarily skill based player I tend to loath and view Call Of Duty as something similar to an an aids epidemic in Uganda that has rapidly spread. Games like Tribes: Ascend being "red cross" fighting the problem yet it remaining overwhelmed and underfunded. All leading towards a futile yet valiant attempt that can never be changed due to the broken culture cultivating such horrible conditions.
Call Of Duty did not invent this idea of "play to unlock". Many games prior such as Battlefield 2 (a PC game) had unlocks. However these where used in moderation. A pepper over the main course. At the end of the day it was predominantly skill based similar to Tribes: Ascend. Now, through the modern age corruption Battlefield 3 is not about in individual and coordinated self expression through skill, it is peanuts being thrown at the player. EA's increasingly laughable and pathetic attempt to chase after Call Of Duty. Battlefield 3 is predominantly concerned with a shopping basket rewarding the player with slot machine coins for playing pandering towards an outwardly apathetic, inwardly self-absorbed self entitled hipster nihilism rewarding without requirement or merit. For the most part, I now mainly play skill based strategy games. Since these are mostly wholly ignored by consoles and the mainstream gaming media they have yet to be engulfed by the cynical burger in a bag design. However, I doubt this will be the case forever. With motion controls and increasingly higher sales on consoles and much lower sales on the PC platform first person shooters serve as a cautionary cultural prognosis of what is to come.