<< Portico: On the Outside Looking In

3/28/2006

On the Outside Looking In

My favorite gaming forum has become infested by Oblivion. Bethesda's latest role playing epic is the year's first must-have game. It has been widely anticipated, heavily previewed and extensively screenshotted ever since it was announced. I expect that whereever you read and talk about games, Oblivion is the game de jour.

It is also one more must have game that I do not have. I don't have World of Warcraft either - the Really Big Thing for the last two gaming seasons. Or Doom 3. Or Half Life 2. I don't even have Diablo.

The lack of FPS in my house is understandable. I'm not very good at them, and as they have gotten better looking I have found myself getting more disoriented in the virtual battlescapes. The lack of RPGs is more surprising since RPGs are the second staple of my household. We do have Morrowind, after all. And everything Bioware has ever done for a PC.

The sum effect of the gaps in my gaming shelf is that sometimes I have very little to talk about. I really enjoy vicarious pleasure, mind you. The enthusiasm of others is pretty easy to get caught up in. And, one very good friend excepted, most people I trust are pretty enthusiastic about Oblivion. But I'm on the outside. I can't ask good questions about the game. I can't answer good questions about the game. And this enthusiasm isn't quite contagious enough for me to get past my lingering misgivings over Morrowind's control scheme.

This feeling isn't limited to games. When people talk about The Sopranos or 24 I am similarly out to sea.

And I have to accept that no game that really excites me (excepting the permanent outlier Civ 4) will ever have the mass media appeal of an Elder Scrolls game. Does anyone really think that Europa Universalis III or even Rise of Legends will ever spawn a dozen threads on a single forum in the first week of release? Even mass sellers like The Sims don't engender the same type of mania on most online gaming forums.

So, the mass marketing media phenomenon of Oblivion is also, in many ways, a cult hit. It has a crossover appeal to hardcore obsessive min/maxers that few other major releases do. And my niche games - unlike the indie RPG Mount and Blade - don't have that same audience. So, my interests are doubly niched, except on those few forums that are dedicated to my perverse preferences.

It's not necessarily a sad or dismal existence, and I could easily become part of the crowd by just shelling out the sixty bucks for Oblivion or caving the above mentioned friend's pleas to join his World of Warcraft fun.

But Goodfellows are made of sterner stuff than that. I survived middle school as a wallflower. This too will pass.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Rob Funk said...

Troy, shell out the $60. Oblivion will own your soul and you will be happy about it. Also, I bet Supreme Commander will spawn a ton of threads especially QT3 where there will be at least a few Tom vs. people who are fanatical about TA dust ups.

3/28/2006 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger Troy Goodfellow said...

Get thee behind me, Satan.

3/29/2006 07:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I left my Obliviondisk at home today, so at lunch I played Half-Life 2. Honest. :)

An interesting aspect of Oblivion is how adaptable it is to various playstyles. Even beyond that are the numerous mods already starting to spring up that tune pacing, power levels, and so forth.

If you like RPGs, Oblivion is seriously worth looking into.

(sorry...forgot my password and in too much of a hurry to do the recovery thing right now)

-Paul Stephanouk

3/29/2006 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Brinstar said...

I don't have Oblivion. Or Doom 3. Or Half-Life 2. Or Diablo. And I've played WOW for a total of about 5 hours for the three months that I've had it. I know how you feel. I don't intend to get Oblivion because there are WAY too many games on my plate at the moment. I even have Morrowind sitting around in my room, not being played.

3/29/2006 02:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob Funk said...

Give in to the dark side Troy. Join me and we will rule the galaxy as father and son.

3/29/2006 04:37:00 PM  

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