Jay Little - Software Obsessionist
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My Modern Gaming Escape Plan
7/16/2019 11:57:57 PM

Most who know me have at some time or another heard me profess my love for Retro and Indie gaming. At the heart of this love however is a growing and increasingly cancerous disdain for modern gaming that I have finally decided to no longer ignore.

Now I realize this is going to shock some people, especially as I have a rather embarrassingly large Steam library (as of today it contains 943 games). Most of those people don't know that I that I also have sizable GoG (407 games) and Playstation Store (around 350 games) libraries as well. So okay yeah I'm addicted. But in my defense these purchases have been made over the last decade. In addition a lot of those GoG library purchases are for older games that I played as a kid but never bought back then. So that has been my way of atoning for past sins as I firmly disagree with software piracy in every case where software is being actively sold. But yeah those are huge game libraries.

The reality is that a large portion of those libraries are dedicated to Retro games and Indie games. I haven't purchased a single AAA game on either Steam or GoG in years. I have purchased a few on the Playstation store, but typically at heavily discounted prices. More often than not, these modern games end up disappointing me. Notable recent exceptions to that rule have been "Detroit: Become Human" and "Nier Automata". Outside of those two titles I would describe modern gaming as barely tolerable with a large side of disappointment.

The reality is that modern gaming isn't about selling people a fun and engaging experience like it used to be. In the midst of what is clearly late stage capitalism, modern gaming is more about finding ways to turn consumers into consistent and predictable revenue streams. MBAs, their C-Level Executive ilk and Investors are the primary reasons why most modern games are so terrible. It's not enough to make a healthy profit on a game nowadays, instead you have to make an enormous amount of profit on a regular basis for years to come in order to make the endeavor worth it. To put it bluntly: I've spent too much time with the great games of yesteryear, none of which were actively exploiting me with psychology for a chance at my wallet, to want to spend any more time dealing with this shit.</rant>

Secondly it appears that the next phase of my low powered hardware initiative is almost upon us. The long awaited Pinebook Pro is almost upon us and I for one am very excited about it and I plan on pre-ordering one at 8 am on 6/25/2019 when it opens up. Being that it runs an ARM processor, it will effectively negate the viability of my Steam and GoG libraries if it becomes my primary personal computing device. Neither Steam nor GoG support the ARM Linux platform and I doubt that will change anytime soon.

Finally it is also worth noting that our house was struck by a bolt of lightning about a month back and it nuked most of my console gaming equipment (2 RetroPies, PS2 Slim, PS3 Slim and a PS4 Pro) along with everything else in my primary entertainment center and a few pieces of networking equipment. I still have a secondary original model PS4 which works so it wasn't a total loss. Nevertheless the cost of repurchasing all that hardware has forced me to seriously consider just how much I want or actually need any of it. Thankfully all of our laptops and small servers survived unscathed.

After taking all of these factors into consideration, I have decided to officially begin my retreat from modern gaming. As I am clearly suffering from an addiction of some sort, I will likely relapse a few times before I manage to kick the habit. This is especially true as I still have a working PS4 and there are still a few games that I want to play on it before I give it the veritable heave ho if you will. But yeah leaving Windows as a gaming platform was hard as hell and I had a few relapses while I was making that transition and I expect this will be no different.

So where does that leave me? Well unlike when I was about to turn 30, I'm not struggling with my identity as a gamer even as I'm now mere months from 40. I won't lie though. I have known for quite awhile that this was going to be the next chapter for me as a gamer. So I'm still going to be gaming, I just plan on doing most of it via emulators and FOSS (Free and Open Source) gaming projects which can be compiled and run using ARM Linux. The reality is that this leaves me with an even larger portion of my gaming library intact as I have massive collections of ROMs and ISOs for a wide variety of retro platforms.

But hey, don't mourn for me. I'm looking forward to this next chapter of gaming. The reality is that this move perfectly compliments other tech initiatives that I hold near and dear to my heart. This includes allowing me to transition to using more low powered hardware (aka Small Server/Laptop) and further enabling me to abstain from using proprietary software whenever possible. Technically while ROMs and ISOs for older games do count as proprietary pieces of software, the fact that they are confined to the sandbox of an emulator goes a long way towards remedying many of my problems with proprietary software in general.

If any of you have any comments, advice, suggestions or just raw criticism, feel free to drop me a line. Any and all feedback on this topic is welcome as I'm still working out a lot of the details. Finally if you forget everything else you've read here today, then please remember this: We don't have to tolerate shit if we don't want to tolerate it. The choice is yours.

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