Keza MacDonald offers a fascinating article, posted on Kotaku.com, regarding his frustrations with so many really, really, REALLY big/multiple-hour-killer games being available seemingly all at once:
I’ll go Mr. MacDonald one better: It’s not just video games. We live in an era where we are being absolutely crushed by the amount of recreational material we have available to us.
I know, I know, first world problems.
Still, they’re there. We have too many TV shows, too much music, too many books, too many DVDs/BluRays, too many (yes) video games, etc. etc. etc. screaming for every single second of our free time.
Used to be that the choices for entertainment weren’t all that many. When I was young, there were something like five or so channels on TV and the major networks didn’t air all that many first run shows, at least compared to now. You pretty much had to see these shows when they aired or, a little later, when they were rerun.
There was so little “new” programming available for all the hours of the day that it wasn’t unusual for the local networks to replay old TV shows on “down” times such as the weekends or early afternoons.
Thus it was that I’d discover shows cancelled long before I first saw them. Shows like the original Star Trek. The Wild, Wild, West. Perry Mason. The Twilight Zone. The Outer Limits.
Cable came and grew and suddenly you had hundreds of channels and the need to fill the time with something. So many new shows appeared that it became impossible to watch everything you were even mildly interested in.
A confession: I’m one of the very few people out there who hasn’t watched a single full episode of what is arguably the most popular show on TV today, Game of Thrones. It’s not that I don’t want to, its just that I never got HBO and, when the episodes were finally available to me via video release, so much had been written/talked (and spoiled) about the various plot points that it was pointless -by that time- to try the show out.
But early on I was damn curious about it and even bought the first couple of books of the series. These books sit unread on my bookshelf, given up for the same reasons I gave up on watching the show. Granted, its my fault I was spoiled regarding the show’s plot. I could have resisted checking out the various spoilers, yet having seen a few -even one!- there became no need for me to play catch up on the rest.
Getting back to Mr. MacDonald, I too have video games I’ve purchased fully intending to play them but getting sidetracked and eventually letting them go, sometimes without playing even a minute of them.
With whatever free time I have I’m nearing the completion of the latest Batman game (XBox One version) but waiting in the wings are The Witcher, Forza, and a few others I may never get to. And that’s not counting the current Grand Theft Auto game I’ve got on my computer!
By now I think I’ve made my point: We live in an era of oversaturation and we have to be more and more picky about what it is we decide to spend our free time doing.
While it is a good thing we have so many options available for entertainment, I worry about all those things we might have missed while pursuing the new and shiny. Used to be that certain works, with the passage of time, would be given second or third looks and, over the years, people would realize these sometimes forgotten works were special.
For example, the writings of H. P. Lovecraft. Never successful in his time, his works were re-assessed over the years and became viewed long after Mr. Lovecraft’s death as truly great works of horror fiction.
Could that happen today and with so many works competing for our time out there? Could anyone find the free time to re-assess an older work and realize they are holding something truly special in their hands?
For better or worse, I fear that is no longer the case.