So, I bought a Playstation 3 about a year ago, and I made sure I got the edition that included the award winning Uncharted 3. I had heard many great things about the Uncharted franchise, and having played nothing but Xbox and Nintendo games for the past 5 years or so, I was interested to jump into the Sony was of life.
About 3-4 hours into uncharted, I finally turned the console off after having struggles through what was one of the most frustrating and terrible games I had ever played in my life. I had never played a game so in love with itself. If it was a man, it would be the tool with the Hollister outfit it bought directly off a mannequin and who kept checking itself in the mirror every ten minutes to make sure it still looked as amazing as it convinced itself it was when it left home that morning.
So, when The Last Of Us was announced, I was convinced I wouldn't ever play it. I didn't watch any previews. I didn't read any interviews. I completely ignored the game. And then... came the 10's. I've been beaten like this before by other, older, crappy games. Dark Cloud, Bayonetta, and other's were terrible games that I KNEW I wouldn't like, but that MADE me play them by virtue their almost universal acclaim. I knew I wasn't ever going to BUY The Last Of Us, but I was curious enough to want to see what it was about. So, I looked it up on YouTube. A guy had done a "let's play" of the game where he played through the entire game but never said anything. It was, essentially, a Last Of Us movie. I went into the game wanting to hate it, but I came out having to admit that it was really, really good. Exceptional, really. I would agree with most of the reviews that give it very, very high praise.
But here's the problem. I would aruge that if I PLAYED The Last Of Us, I probably wouldn't have liked it very much. Watching it like a movie, I had no frustration with the lack of player "agency" like I did in Uncharted. I had no problem wondering whether I was in control of events, or what the game "wanted me to do". Most of the things that reviewers who DIDN'T like the game pointed out as problems were completely eliminated by simply... not playing the game.
SO what is to be made of that? I'm aware that watching the game like a movie on YouTube is essentially stealing the game. But, I wasn't going to buy it anyways. Ironically, the very reason I wasn't going to buy the game, (I think games should be games and movies should be movies) is exactly why it was so watchable as a movie. But, shouldn't games be more fun to play than to watch? If you can watch a game and enjoy it just as much, if not more, than if you were playing it, that's certainly not an ACHIEVEMENT. It just means you probably should have made a movie. 14,000 started watching the game on Youtube. Only about 8000 made it to the end episode at the time I was watching it. Assuming those people never buy the game (and why would they?) That's almost a million dollars that Naughty Dog isn't getting for their game. And that's just on this ONE guy's stream of it. There are many others.
Is this going to affect gaming in the future? Is there going to be a greater emphasis placed on developers creating games that people want to PLAY more than they want to watch? Is this the negative end to so much emphasis being placed on "Cinematic" and making games look like movies? Or, will developers start offering options where you can just pay a fee and watch their content like a film and it just cost MORE to interact with it?