gordon freeman half-life

Gaming franchises are the backbone of the industry. New IPs are risky, and success isn’t guaranteed. Established franchises, however, are easy. Bobby Kotick’s daily work duties include eating something spicy, dropping trou’ and laying a large turd on a studio’s desk, which they then polish and release as DLC or, if it’s November, a whole new game. While all the franchises on this list remain popular today, for me, they’ve fallen into the realm of games I no longer care about.

Mortal Kombat

I used to be a massive Mortal Kombat fan. I liked the games, I liked the lore, hell, I even liked the movies.

Then at some point I realised the second movie was actually terrible, the games monotonous and the story had meandered into somewhere between boring and ridiculous.

I’m told that the 2011 release is one of the “best fighting games ever made”, but I’m just not sure I really care. It just doesn’t really feel like it used to.

How can they get me back?

I’m not actually sure. This one might be on me, but there’s something about the games today that just lack that old-school flavour. I played a couple of rounds of one of the recent titles against a friend recently, and the fatalities required about six button presses and could easily be achieved every time.

Hell, there was an in-game moves list of every possible combo. I preferred it when fatalities were actually damned near impossible to pull off and moves had to be figured out, but I’m a grumpy old man stricken by nostalgia. Honestly, what I want is probably very different from the masses, so it looks like MK is going to live on in my memories alone.

Who the hell is that guy?

Why does scorpion look like a club bouncer?

Metal Gear Solid

It’s not hard to see where they lost me on this one – I’m a die-hard PC gamer, and Snake has left me out in the cold to die since around 2004.

I did enjoy the first couple of games, but it’d been a decade by the time the franchise revisited PC with Revengeance, and to be honest that game just looked awful to me. When I thought of the Metal Gear franchise, lightning swords wasn’t exactly what immediately came to mind.

How can they get me back?

Well, they’re trying, since Kojima has announced that he’ll be revisiting the neglected PC platform with MGS V.

But truth be told, I’m not sure if it’s just too late for me to care. I’ve watched the trailers with only mild interest, and I just can’t muster up the requisite excitement.

Hell, with how long the damned game is taking to actually see release, is anyone still interested?

"Snake? Snake?! Err, Snake? You still there, bro?"

“Snake? Snake?! Err, Snake? You still there, bro?”

Call of Duty

Ah, Call of Duty, you evil temptress bitch. The Call of Duty franchise has been a complete up and down with me – I loved the first two, got shunned for the third (console only) and fell in love with the franchise all over again with the amazingly excellent Call of Duty 4.

Then I had my heart broken repeatedly every single year, with November serving as a nice little pre-Christmas depression as Activision turned out yet another by-the-numbers shooter with none of the innovation and excitement of the original Modern Warfare.

How can they get me back?

They can, but they probably won’t. As we’ve seen Activision do a number of times, they play things safe. They keep their firm fan base happy, they don’t rock the boat too much and deliver a mediocre title that checks enough of the boxes to sell millions upon millions of copies.

Everyone pats each other on the back, and gets ready to do it again next year. Yawn.

For me to get back into the franchise at this point, I’d have to see some serious innovation. I definitely won’t be a release-day buyer ever again, that level of trust has gone forever.

Still, if they managed to reinvent the genre the way Call of Duty 4 did, I’m in. Somehow though, I just don’t think jetpacks and Kevin Spacey is going to do it.

Now this would have been innovation.

Now this would have been innovation.

Counter-Strike

Ugh, Counter-Strike. At a certain point, nostalgia isn’t enough to carry a game.

This is a franchise which caters to the purists, the people who want their Counter-Strike the same way now as it was 15 years ago.

I picked up Global Offensive a while ago and gave it an honest-to-goodness try, but I just couldn’t like it. It’s not that it’s necessarily a bad game, but it’s not really a game for an Average Joe either.

It’s like one of those sports cars where they replace everything they can with carbon fiber, pull out the back seats, take out the air conditioning and the radio and the GPS and put an extra turbo on the engine.

Sure, it’s going to shave twenty seconds off your laptime, but if you’re dropping the kids off at school or driving to work you’ll be willing to trade in a kidney for a Toyota Corolla with air conditioning.

You can’t aim down the sights, you can’t sprint, there are no perks or burn cards or kill streaks or vehicles. It feels stripped down, low-tech and pure, and I just can’t bloody stand it.

How can they get me back?

By alienating their entire fanbase by turning it into something it’s not. As much as I just complained it about it, Valve are doing the right thing. Turning this game into Call of Duty or Battlefield would be as idiotic as it would be sacrilegious.

Don’t ever change, Counter-Strike. Just don’t ever make me play you again, either.

Global Offensive? Source? 1.6? You can't tell, can you?

Global Offensive? Source? 1.6? You can’t tell, can you?

Sim-Anything

Right, can we just give up on these now? The newest SimCity was terrible, anything at all related to The Sims is just cringeworthy and bad and honestly we should all be playing actual games, not Life: The Video Game.

I don’t want to tell my imaginary friends when to use the bathrooms or eat their meals, I don’t want to build watermains and electrical lines just to have some ridiculous Godzilla-esque monster tear it down (actually, scratch that, why the hell do I want to lay down imaginary infrastructure at all?).

Every single time one of these titles comes out, we give Peter Molyneux an idea for another terrible game. And nobody wants that.

How can they get me back?

Tough one, this. My immediate thought is if they released something like, “The Sims: Set Everyone On Fire Edition”, or “SimCity: Zombie Apocalypse”, they might pique my interest.

But aside from that, living my own life is time-consuming enough, I don’t need to be living other, made-up people’s as well.

 

P.S. Do you really think I was going to put in Half-Life? Me? I can pretend I don’t care anymore as much as I want, I’m not fooling anybody – least of all myself.

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