Do you ever get that feeling you’ve woken up in crazytown, where the world is some kind of mystery puzzlebox that makes no sense and people don’t think Jumanji is the greatest movie ever made? That’s how I feel every time somebody brings up one of these games, which happens often because people absolutely love these playable garbage fires.
Defend your favourites, join me in my exasperation or share your own baffling experiences in the comments.
World of Warcraft
I’d like to say I don’t get this, but I do. It’s the conditioned dopamine response, the rat hitting the lever until a food pellet comes out.
Kill lots of these things, get these shiny things, use them to kill bigger things in order to get shinier things. It’s a tried-and-tested formula, but this is one of those games that when I take a step back and take a hard look at it, I realise I’m playing it for the sake of playing it, like those dudes who attach progressively heavier weights to their knobs just to see if they can.
My first and only foray into World of Warcraft had some random asshole asking me to fetch him ten dead rats, then ten fox skins, then ten spiced chai lattes, until I began to question if this was the university experience my parents had spent thousands to provide me with.
I don’t want anybody to hit me with the “it gets great when you go on level 2,000 raids” or whatever it is you do, because I don’t want to spend 600 hours skinning hamsters before I can start having fun.
I’m sorry guys, I tried. I really did. Flying around on rails gunning down henchmen? A creepy cult-like dystopian world? A well-loved, narrative-driven IP? I was super amped for this one.
It’s not that it was bad, necessarily. It was just… boring. It was like the video game equivalent of an infomercial product – it looked really cool and interesting, but then the second time I used it the handle broke, and it turns out they lied about it taking just one simple turn, and I lost three fingers.
Everything LOOKED interesting and cool, but it was essentially just one boring, not-very-challenging gunfight after another with AI that seemed like they’d be more comfortable doing any other job. Like hitting rocks with other rocks, maybe.
There was no smooth unfolding of a narrative to keep me engaged, either. You know what, screw it – you’re all wrong, this game sucked a fatty.
While we’re on the topic of hitting rocks with other rocks, this is easily the crappiest thing to ever make several billion dollars.
Looking like one of those expectation-versus-reality life lessons in backing Kickstarter games, Minecraft somehow managed to amass more money than the GDP of some countries. Like ours, probably, once you subtract the fire-pool budget.
Maybe Minecraft is just LEGO for the millennial era, where nobody can find a place in their crippling debt portfolio to fit in a LEGO Deathstar, and there’s no space to build sprawling plastic empires in the studio apartment you share with six people.
But why does it have to look like a pig’s asshole, microwaved for thirty minutes on high?
Yup, all of them. This is one of those things that I simply do not understand. I constantly hear people talking about these games having great stories and narratives, and every time I give one a try it’s like I’m watching a 50-hour episode of Dragon Ball Z.
The dialogue is stilted and weird, like it was written by a sentient robot trying to learn human interaction by watching every season of The Big Bang Theory. Except instead of being backed up by a laugh track, it’s accompanied by your own choked sobs, trying to will yourself into chuckling at jokes that don’t make any sense – anything to keep your mind off what you could have spent that R1,000 on instead.
League of Legends
This one feels a little disingenuous, since I have several hundred hours of play time logged with this steaming pile of trash. But the people who play it are what takes this game from a fun distraction to the kind of experience that would make it hard to choose between playing it every day and removing your own genitals with a rusty butterknife.
That dude who scratched your car with his trolley and didn’t leave a note. That girl who gave you the finger in traffic after cutting you off. That asshole cousin who made you drink toilet water when you were 9 years old. That remorseless Uber driver who gave you a 1-star rating because you were hungover and couldn’t walk the 500 meters to Wimpy. All of them play League of Legends, and can’t wait to tell you what a disappointment you are to your family.