Starting and Stopping (your e-mail)Garth Pricer described how I feel much, much better than I did last week:
I just read your post about playing contemporary shooters and I suspect there’s more to it than the setting alone. I still vividly recall your rapt write-up of the sequence where you were storming the beaches of Normandy years ago. The verisimilitude was a selling point then, the frightful and gripping immediacy were the core that drew you in and kept you there, huddled behind tank blockades and listening for incoming artillery. Granted, the narrative was different- you were fighting the Nazis, the most palpable villains of the 20th century, but I think shooting games in general have lost a lot of their luster for all of us as we’ve aged.
I did the same thing, by the way. I purchased Spec Ops because of a perception that I was missing out on a meaningful if dark experience and that I’d be the lesser for it. I held out longer, enough to see that it was Heart of Darkness reimagined again, but in the end, I walked away from it as well. I don’t think I need a shooter game to drive home the uncomfortable assumptions inherent in the genre. I realize it intrinsically and it isn’t something I need to roll in like broken glass to drive home the message.