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UK Ngamer magazine closed down (thoughts)

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When Nintendo Gamer arrived in my country about 5 years ago, although being nothing more than a mere translation, it rapidly became popular. Why? It was a magazine about videogames that was made for ol' Nintendo players and actually contained interesting facts, had lengthy in-depth reviews of different games, introduced me and my friend to the world of imports with Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! and so on. The editors opened up a forum, which took no less than a couple days to be full of users from all Spain ready to discuss everything there was about videogames.

For more than two years, the NGamer forums and the magazine became one of my primary sources of information about videogames and entertainment during those fucking long afternoons of studying and doing homework. I went as far as making RL friends in there with whom I shared the same videogaming interest. Our commentaries were featured in the magazine and answered, we held tournaments, we played classic games together. However, one day and without prior warning, the magazine closed down due to lack of popularity.

The forums survived for another year on its own, but started to progressively empty and fill with spam as the users spread across different forums. In the end, one day when we attempted to log in it simply disappeared. We users stayed in contact for a month and then we stopped talking to each other, and that was the end of it.

And now this.

Yesterday while playing the ol' NES classics (Super Mario Bros., Kid Icarus) I realized that I needed quite the amount of time and perseverance just to get past the first stages. I don't really think that the rise in popularity of the so called "casual" games or football games like Fifa or Pro are a coincidence.

Society changes, and videogames are also affected by this. The profile of a person who plays videogames is no longer that of who truly knows his past and is willing to sit down and fight against almost impossible odds just for the heck of it. The same way mobile phones are now used for almost everything except calling, which is done only in ocassional situations, now videogames are meant to be something that provide an inmediate reward, and something that preferably coincides as much with real life as possible. Now the aim of gaming isn't as much to provide with a different view of the world, but rather to conform as much as possible to already widely known rules. Shooting space whales with an angelic rifle in Kid Icarus Uprising or directly Super Mario Galaxy 2 have no place in the world of a person who is only willing to spare twenty minutes a day.

And of course this person is not going to bother to read deep comments on gaming. No. What this person wants is easily understandable text with huge images just like in shitty press. This person doesn't want to spend more than 10 minutes reading because he or she cannot understand what's so special about these games.

There seems to be this odd fear of getting too involved with videogames, and I never understood why. Videogames do not make you childish, nor they make you a shut in. They do not create problems. That situation is sort of like the one of a person with eating problems (let's say he's anxious to eat food) in a buffet. If it weren't the videogames, they'd find another thing to entertain themselves with. In fact, studies have shown that in the right people (that is persons who are not insane) videogames have quite the positive effect, improving their motor abilities and reflexes, as well as their eyesight.

It's true that for me it's getting harder. Having to study 2 hours a day, going out with friends, keeping up with RPs don't make it easy, but there's always that small frame of time where I am feeling lazy or it's a too bad time to call someone to hang with him when I play me some Super Mario Galaxy 2 or Super Metroid. There's also that moment when my neighbour calls me to play Smash Bros. Brawl with bros, and that's something I simply cannot live without.

People have different tastes, okay, I can accept that. The world is changing, I can accept that. But is it really changing for the best? How the heck can my 10 year old cousin say that Lylat Wars doesn't interest him? Even now its effects and gameplay still manage to amaze me, even with nostalgia glasses off. And no matter what they say, the remakes of the second generation and the second generation itself are objectively the best Pokémon games up to date.

Why do we have to live in a black and white world, where everything is all about the polar opposites, either realism or kiddy games? Why the hell aren't there more games like Spec Ops: The Line, Halo, Okami, Kid Icarus Uprising, Super Smash Bros. Brawl or Super Mario Galaxy 2? I think we all deserve a lot more than trite remakes of rugby, platformers (Yes I am looking at you New Super Mario Bros. 2) and soccer. We need games that take themselves for what they are: games.

I don't know about others, but for me, the best games are those that add new experiences. There's nothing more exciting than anything that's completely fresh and new, a challenge awaiting there, be it a tower to climb, an enemy to defeat or a princess to save.

Sorry, But Your Forumite Needs to Head Out To Another Castle


  1. ItsaRandomUsername's Avatar
    I don't know about others, but for me, the best games are those that add new experiences. There's nothing more exciting than anything that's completely fresh and new, a challenge awaiting there, be it a tower to climb, an enemy to defeat or a princess to save.
    Too true, Optimus. If I may, I'd like to give an example and join you in this reminiscing, since I can sympathize.

    A game that I can immediately think of right off the top of my head that gave me just these feelings would have to be The World Ends With You. When I first got it, I prided myself on being an avid gamer. While I wasn't, and probably never will be hardcore-hardcore I had certainly played enough games to have a wide range of experiences with them. This game, however, was something else entirely.

    The atmosphere, the characters, the music, the gameplay, the experience - it was like nothing I'd ever known before in my life. It was so new and exciting and just plain fun that it was like love at first sight. Some might think this is kind of silly, but to those of you who know what I'm talking about and know this feeling about getting utterly immersed into a video game that you adore, bless you all for having felt such a great feeling.

    So I get this. I totally get all of this. I might not have been a member of these forums, nor a Spanish gamer, but golly if this doesn't hit home for me.
    Updated September 12th, 2012 at 11:53 AM by ItsaRandomUsername
  2. Raven2785's Avatar
    I'm sorry on the loss of your community Optimus, God knows it fucking sucks to lose a place were you can just let your freak flag fly. I had a similar experience when went the way of the dinosaur, now THAT was closed down in a hurry, I still remember heading to 1up on that January afternoon only to find out that practically everybody who was someone on that site was fired.

    1up was a great place to hang out, most of the gamers there behaved (or at least tried to) like adults and they were very welcoming, that community is the reason why I got into online gaming in the first place, for once I could play halo with people who were not behaving like your tipical racist 12 year old on Xbox live, people who you actually wanted to talk to because they were funny or smart or witty etc.

    That afternoon I was one of many gamers creating archive torrents of all their podcasts as well as the 1up show. And to this day that torrent still greets me every time I open Utorrent.

    I still hang out with some of the friends I made on that site but most of the people I used to know have simply disappeared to different handles and avatars while others have had to simply drop the hobby altogether, and still exist as a mere husk of what it used to be, gone are the articles, gone is the quality writing done by passionate people who love the hobby as much as I do, 1up has merely become another repository of top ten lists... :/.

    So... I wish you luck finding another place were you can let you freak flag fly.
    Updated September 12th, 2012 at 01:13 AM by Raven2785
  3. Optimus's Avatar
    @IRuN: My respect for you just grew three sizes today.

    @Raven2785: ... Now it's me the one who feels truly sorry for you. Seeing how a community has changed for the worst and has become nothing more than an empty shell of what it used to be must be far worse than its disappearance.

    You know, all this has motivated me. Although I'm not sure how or when, I will do my best to improve my writing and try to share my thoughts with y'all.