Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
US video game sales have record quarter as consumers stay at home (techcrunch.com)
377 points by prostoalex 22 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 296 comments

I hope there is a resurgence of couch co-op games after the lockdown. I have been playing a LOT of games, most of them of just mediocre quality, with my kids. Co-op makes mediocre games fun most of the time. I wish there were more options available for local co-op games.

PS: Don't try to play Outward with your novice gamer kids.

Co-Optimus is a good resource for finding couch co-op games.


Some co-op games ones you might enjoy are Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, Magicka, overcooked, hammerwatch, Trine, Rayman Legends or human fall flat.

There's also a really big back catalog of arcade or earlier console emulatable local multiplayer co-op games, many of which have gotten ports like Chronicles of Mystara or Gauntlet if you don't want to mess with emulation.

Unfortunately these and maybe 4 more games mentiones below are also almost the only coop games. Ive been trying to find good coop games for playing with my gf or family but the selection is small and especially if you want something for non gamer people. Split screen seems to be a thing of the past

It's not really that surprising a result, even if it is annoying in times like these. People don't make games for people who don't buy games. Where's the incentive to do so? The returns are almost certainly going to be bad by construction.

The death of split screen games is a perfect embodiment of so many problems I see in the current era.

Makes me feel like an old man, and I'm still in my 20s.

Ultimate Chicken Horse is great.

Nintendo had a bunch, like Stretchers and Moving Out and Good Job. I can't speak to how good they are, though.

Road redemption has 4 player split screen. It is like an updated version of road rash.

I've played Rayman, Lovers, and Overcooked. All a blast. I've also played Fall Flat, but that game is super annoying, I'd avoid it. Also, TowerFall Ascension is amazing as a coop game.

I would add Castle Crashers and Spelunky as personal favorites.

Ah, I meant to include Castle Crashers, good catch! I didn't know Spelunky has co-op, I'll have to give that a try.

There's also this http://moveordiegame.com/

Not affiliated, seen the talk from GDC about it.

Portal 2

Doesn't that require two machines and two screens? "Couch co-op" is for games that can be played with two or more people looking at the same screen, probably while sitting on the same couch.

I remember Portal 2 on Xbox360 was co-op split-screen.

Recently played couch coop split screen with P2 on an Xbox One. Still works! (:

The PC version initially appears to be LAN-only, but you can play split-screen using a console command.

It's a little finicky but it works OK. Nothing that detracts from the experience once things are set up.

The biggest issue is that only one XInput controller can work at a time, so you have to use something like JoyToKey to utilize a second controller unless one of you is okay with mouse and keyboard. Happy to save someone the headache if they need a JTK configuration.

Yep, you mentioned a bunch of games that I have and forgot about.

(1) Any suggestions for couples? Like something peaceful and fun, maybe open world?

My GF and I played Overcooked 2. She loved it, but honestly I found it way too stressful for me (I felt like I was at work during a Sev1!). I've always played FPS & RTS, and so entire genres of games are just so unfamiliar to me, but I'd love to explore some and see what else fits.

Just the other day, we tried Stardew Valley. I never thought that kind of game would interest me, but it's fun walking around the world, going into town, interacting with NPCs. I think those "slightly-more-structured-than-Minecraft" games would be cool.

(2.1) What's the game State of the Art for "a group of friends commanding a space ship"? I experimented with Pulsar: Lost Colony a few years back, and heard that Elite Dangerous has some new coop stuff in it. I'd honestly love a "first person perspective" version of Homeworld 2. You and some friends are manning a frigate, battling it out with NPC ships, etc.

(2.2) Other small group of friends games? I've got a friend who is setting up a minecraft server to play in, but I'd rather have some other small group game where we could team up and either build something (e.g. minecraft clones, or other open world things), or even perform adventures/quests together (I've never played any RPG, and am not particularly interested in the magic/fantasy genre). I know it's a bit dark, but I've always thought a multiplayer/co-op version of This War of Mine would be absolutely incredible.

Anyway, if anyone has strong opinions on this, please share!

As for (2.1) I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned yet;

Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator is a really good one I've played with friends before (albeit that was about 5 years ago since we last played). The graphics are fairly dated, but IMO the gameplay is there, and when you include 5 other friends playing in the various positions as well, it can make for a lot of fun.

What's the game State of the Art for "a group of friends commanding a space ship"? I experimented with Pulsar: Lost Colony a few years back, and heard that Elite Dangerous has some new coop stuff in it. I'd honestly love a "first person perspective" version of Homeworld 2. You and some friends are manning a frigate, battling it out with NPC ships, etc.

Star Trek Bridge Commander? (Crew?) though it can get kinda stressful.

If you have a ps4 Unravel 2 is pretty fun light platform for two people.

My GF plays fortnite with her cousins husband and his brothers. This like it. The voice chat is pretty decent and the game is lite for a shooter.

Plus the occasional Fortnite concert/DJ set is an interesting break.


Unravel 2 is also on Switch, Xbox and Windows, and it is delightful. I don't generally like platformers, but I love everything about this game: character design, puzzles, graphics, even the slightly menacing storyline. The co-op play is brilliant, and even has options where you can literally carry another player through the more difficult jumping puzzles.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOIn34q_oT8

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime?

2.2- For co-op I recommend Terraria, it is a 2d Minecraft but much more focused on adventure and combat. Really cheap and has lots of content, and there are mods on PC.

I also recommend getting the Epic Store free games, since all your friends can get them. Not all of them are multiplayer though. This week GTA5 is free, you might want to try the multiplayer with your friends.

And Terraria just put out a patch with 40 pages of content notes. Lots of rebalance, new content, graphics updates, and QoL updates. It's a good time to jump in and the game is $10 on steam.

Terraria has it's last major update tomorrow! Super fun game! Even better co-op

> What's the game State of the Art for "a group of friends commanding a space ship"?

I realize this isn't state of the art, but "Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime" is a very approachable take on this concept. Very couch co-op friendly and you aren't 100% reliant on your crew so you can carry the game if you're playing with people who don't usually play videogames.

> Other small group of friends games?

Terraria is a 2d-minecraft-like game that AFAIK also has some RPG-like elements. I haven't played it a ton but it seems more approachable than minecraft.

"Group of friends commanding a space ship" Star Trek Bridge Crew!!! https://www.ubisoft.com/en-gb/game/star-trek/bridge-crew

It's hilarious with the right group of friends.

GF and I have had success with Minecraft, Overcooked 1/2, Human Fall Flat, Don't Starve Together, Rocket League, and the Halo co-op campaigns[1].

Unrailed is an early access game on Steam. Short but not bad. A bit like Overcooked in terms of task management.

We've tried Borderlands and Diablo 3, but quickly became a bit bored of them and dropped off. Lots of loot and not a ton of substance I felt.


1. Halo: MCC is out for PC and will include six titles for $40 - though you need two copies for co-op play. Halo Reach, Halo: CE, and Halo 2 are out currently. Others coming in 2020)

I'll highly recommend Untangled 2. It's a platformer based around two-player couch co-op. I played it on the Nintendo Switch and found that it was cheap (~$5), had excellent platforming mechanics, and very clever puzzles that were very different from any other game without being too hard or frustrating.

It's relaxed, beautiful, tons of fun to play, and exactly the kind of game to play with an inexperienced co-pilot.

I think you might mean "Unravel 2".

Tekken - maybe not peaceful but fun to play with loved ones :D

Also, Gran Turismo or any racing game (if your partner is into these kind of games).

Barotrauma or Lovers in a Dangerous Space Time are two very different "sharing a spaceship" style games you could try.

Rayman Legends

I have been playing escape room games on steam with my friend from NYC, lot of fun. We got into it after playing this free two player escape room game: https://www.enchambered.com/puzzles/alone-together/

A game with similar vibes that works really well over conference call is Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. Even better, only one person need own a copy of the game for others to play with them.

For anybody who's unfamiliar, the game is thus: one person is stuck in a room with a bomb. They can pick the bomb up, manipulate it, and interact with it, but a clock is ticking and the bomb is going to explode. On the phone with you are the Bomb Defusing Experts, who are armed with a Bomb Defusing Manual for the bomb in question (free PDF, www.bombmanual.com if you're curious). Unfortunately, the manual was written by somebody who loves inscrutable graphs and hates the person reading it.

The person with the bomb has to describe the modules on the bomb, e.g. "I see three red wires, a blue wire, and a white wire". The people with the manual then need to instruct them on which wires to cut in order to defuse the bomb correctly, e.g. "Three red wires? Cut the second wire. Wait, hang on - does the bomb have a parallel port? Okay, cut the third wi-WAIT, how many batteries does it have? Did you cut the third wire? thank god, definitely don't cut that one."

The bombs can get hard and stressful, but it's a fun asymmetric game that works really well over voice chat.

Couch co-op is the reason for existence of the new intellivision Amico. It due this fall, so I can't tell exactly how good its going to be but they seemed to have come a decent way with it since it first was announced.

I had an intellivision growing up and playing sports games with my brothers was a great memory. Back then, all multiplayer was couch based...


I've been using https://github.com/lucasassislar/nucleuscoop to play borderlands 2 with my nephew, it's a little finniky but it works well. Can't vouch for any other games it supports

Picture this... co-op VR Elder Scrolls/Skyrim.

Dungeon crawling with the kids would be incredible. Hearing their screams as they get surprised by their first cave skeleton, and then hear them fall over backwards over the coffee table.... nothing would make me happier right now.

VR in rooms is pretty hard. VR with two people in the same room... you better not let them move from where they stand

If you have access to a PS3 Ratchet and Clank All 4 One is an excellent couch co-op game. Most of the LEGO games are great couch co-op too.

I wish Mario Odyssey (2?) had a co-op mode. I want four of us running around the same world looking for power moons at the same time..

A 2nd player can control the hat. It's not full co-op but it's something.

I think you can do balloons as local coop?

What do you recommend for co-op with kids?

On the switch Luigi's Mansion 3 is great. Got close to 10 hours of play working on the main story with my 5 year old playing as gooigi. With everything unlocked my 5 year old and 3 year old have fun roaming around the hotel catching ghosts. Plus there's some fun mini games.

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime.


Overcooked 2

Up to 4 player Co-op. Incredibly fun games.

Source: I play co-op and versus games with my kids. We've incorporated casual video game play into our family time for the past few years.

"Moving Out" also recently launched that has a similar concept to Overcooked. I've heard it's not as good as OC/OC2 but it might be interesting to try for a change of pace.

Thanks, I have been trying to do that but didn't quite find the right games (it doesn't help I am on Linux). I'll check your recommendations out.

You can buy Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime and Overcooked! 2 from Steam and play them on SteamOS.

I second overcooked and overcooked 2. Those are really fun games!

Mame has lots of great multiplayer games. As an example, we've been playing Trog and Gain Ground lately as a family.

Bubble Bobble is another obvious choice, but really there are thousands of 2-4 player coop games.

You can usually set the difficulty directly in the arcade machine setup, or by proxy by limiting yourselves to a certain number of coins.

A warning that unlimited coins can just make a game a never-ending grind because you don't have that failure/reflection loop to skill up between attempts and you can end up way beyond your ability to succeed by just feeding coins in.

I picked up Unravel 2 and have been playing it with my non-gamer girlfriend - she's had no problem picking it up and it's quite fun and challenging for both of us, both from a technical perspective (Most puzzles only require precise inputs from one player) and a mind-twister perspective. I believe it is only two player co-op, though, so if you've got more than one kid to entertain then this one might not be for you.

The Lego games can be really good with younger kids.

FIFA / NBA 2K for older kids.

Smash brothers, Luigi's Mansion, Marvel games on ps4, Lego _____ games.

Castle Crashers, Children of Morta. A little more violent, things like risk of rain, chaosbane, diablo 3, inquisitor martyr.

Check out this site too: https://www.co-optimus.com

This is what we need VR games for - to bring back co-op with the kids!

Play geometry wars with them! I’m playing with our kids and it’s great for their dexterity / fine motor control, simple game and good graphics too

This is a first world solution....

Buy two consoles....

My sons both had one when they were both at home. The older one bought one with his own money.

Then you'd also need two TVs side-by-side, doesn't seem desirable. You'd also have to buy two copies of every game you wanted to play co-op.

My son uses his computer monitor when friends come over with their consoles and they play side by side. All of our rooms including his are wired for Ethernet and he has a router.

It’s like the old days when people use to lug their gaming rigs to each other’s house for LAN parties.

and two copies of the game, maybe 2 online service subscriptions.

Pretty sure Outward is not even meant for kids content-wise. It is not even meant for novice/casual gamers

Streets of Rage 4 is very good. It's cartoony violence, so probably Ok unless you have very young kids.

Do you still have your older video game consoles? Some of the games are still playable and still fun decades later

It's not just game sales - traffic on gaming-related services like Discord, Twitch, Mixer, and others have hit historic highs [0]

The industry isn't recession-proof though. A lot of folks I know on the events, marketing, and game dev side have been losing jobs at an absurd pace.[1] It's one of the clearest examples of a double-edged sword that I've seen

[0]https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-01/twitch-di... [1] https://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/132294/game_developer...

I think your source for the "game dev side" is odd-it's from 2009, a recession with markedly different characteristics than this one-and says nothing about the claim you've made about people losing jobs right now. Usually video game sales track the market, this time they're not doing that, which makes this more interesting. Do you have any links indicating that game developers have been losing jobs at an absurd pace?I haven't been able to find any.

Apologies - I linked the wrong article, take a look at this survey[0] where laid-off game devs can submit their work after being laid off for COVID-related reasons


Maybe companies are using COVID as an excuse for layoffs, or it could be that advertising revenue is down for low end mobile games.

But it doesn't really make sense for an industry that is seeing increased revenue to have a downturn.

I'd also be skeptical of that survey, there are a lot of people with game side projects that will do just about anything for exposure.

Layoffs often happen once a game is shipped. Maybe they are getting that one game they were working on before the pandemic shipped, then laying a bunch of people off and rethinking their game plan.

Anecdata: I personally have been laid off from 3 different game studios, each time it was just after one of the games I was working on had shipped. I finally decided my dream industry was a little too dysfunctional to stay in it, and left it after the third time. I only make video games in my spare time, now.

Although I've worked for a few enterprise organizations since then, and so far I've seen nothing but dysfunction in them, too, so maybe it's just endemic all over. Like at my current company, which managed to drop from its all-time-high stock price a whopping 93% over the past year and a half, for many good reasons. But at least I get paid more.

This article also discusses the tendency, and how infuriating it can be: https://kotaku.com/why-game-developers-keep-getting-laid-off...

Professional game development jobs are nearly always done on a project basis from "peak" with smaller teams for the patching and extended concept. Until the sales come in they may not know what they can or should try to launch next or be at a phase which can even use the "massed" labor.

That's a much larger list than I expected. Wow. Over 1400 names (with details) on there when I checked, all seem to have happened this year.

hardly an unbiased source

Yep. I work for a Canadian [print/digital] media company. One of the magazines has been operating for about 115 years.

It's had record views and subscriptions. On the other hand ad revenues have dropped as well as, of course, newsstand revenues.

It's been interesting.

I'd argue it's not just lockdown. This has been an epic release year: Animal Crossing, Half Life Alyx, Doom Eternal, Gears Tactics, Valorent, Sea of Thieves. And on and on. Paper Mario: Origami King trailer looks like so much fun there is no reason to leave the house this summer ;)

As someone who works in the video games industry, I can guarantee it is the lockdown. Stay at home orders align really closely with significant lifts in new players, increased hours played, and many other core metrics across the industry. And many games have seen significant lifts in their existing live service performance (not just new games).

I also work in games and I can confirm this too - even our older games which had dwindling player numbers have gotten a massive increase in player numbers in the last 2 months. In some cases we've had to spool up our network infrastructure to levels higher than at launch, since the numbers are so high.

Also could be a large uptick in unemployment. Lots more people sitting at home with nothing to do. Games are on sale most the time and can be had for 10-15 dollars on steam. That's the same price as a case of beer in some places and you get far more entertainment hours out of a video game than a six pack.

Uptick in console sales (far more expensive than $10-15) suggest money isn't the sole motivating factor. If it really were, you'd expect people to flock to netflix and other streaming services which are cheaper

At least personally part of it is that I also have more hours in the day due to no commute that I can spend on other things, including gaming.

Half Life Alyx

Big name, but random googling says Half Life Alyx sold 50k vs.... Animal Crossing at 11 million+ by March 31.

I'm not sure Half Life Alyx has any relevance as far as volume of play goes ;)

Off by a factor of 10, looks like it was 500k but still, I think that is a function of VR headset ownership which is only at like 2% of the market or something. Adjusted for the market it was likely pretty big. I grant that within the wider videogame market it is not nearly as relevant though.

Although I’d argue the real goal of Alyx was to entice more people to take the VR plunge. That’s bad luck with the pandemic, as I’m sure the $1k price tag (more if you need a better computer too) is hard to do for many in this climate.

You don't need the Valve Index to play Half-Life Alyx. Windows Mixed Reality VR headsets can be had for under $300.

You still need a gaming PC though, lots of relatively casual gamers (like myself) still only have consoles.

You need to be able to clear out enough space to wander around a room blindfolded, too. That's really at a premium right now if you're not living alone; kids, roomies, parents, and spouses are all fighting for space in homes that were perfectly adequate when everyone went out to work or school most of the day.

>You need to be able to clear out enough space to wander around a room blindfolded, too.

You really don't. I have a 3ft by 3ft playspace (at most), and I played through Alyx (as well as tons of other VR games) just fine. Sure, having more space would've made it a little bit better, but the overall experience is just as great.

The Oculus Rift has been out of stock since March when the pandemic started. It's really hard to find VR headsets right now.

It's funny it took them this long to add something like that.

Most companies when they introduce a platform do try to push it with some of their own high profile content. Valve not so much until recently.

The whole reason Steam exists is because Valve pushed it with high-profile content, over a decade ago - initially Half-Life multiplayer (To a ton of community backlash), followed by Half-Life 2, as Steam exclusives.

It's only been the past several years that Valve has completely stopped making games, and started working on other things.

I would guess it took quite a shift for the Valve of today to make Alyx. I barely even think of them as a game dev anymore.

There was the Orange Box, which was an absolutely fantastic deal: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Orange_Box

Pretty good guess. 1.91% of people who have Steam accounts have a VR headset. Up .62% with the release of the new HL game.


I have multiple VR devices and for some reason, even with SteamVR active and my Index plugged in the last hardware survey didn't register my VR device, so its possible that the number is actually much higher than reported.

And.. even finding a VR headset at MSRP has been a real challenge. The wallet was willing, but the inventory was weak.

They are selling out continuously, I have a rift s but still choose to get the notifications when various headsets are in stock and it takes less than 30 minutes for them to sell out again. Supply chain issues from COVID are very real but the demand is pretty apparent regardless

SteamSpy figures put it at 1,000,000+ but I don't think they're that reliable.

I just had a look and sales must be around 2 million so far. Confidence interval 1-3 million.

It's easy to estimate roughly from the steam data that is publicly available.

Girlfriend Reviews said of Alyx "now we are all backseat gamers", regarding the imbalance of people watching the game be played on Twitch vs actually playing it themselves:


I think the gaming world is a lot more fractured than it used to be. Titles that are still big names, I don't think command the % of gamer eyeballs as they used to, or at least not as much.

Much like music, movies, pretty much all media.

I think it might have to do with the fact that it is a VR game requiring a VR rig, which isn’t that common yet.

Not that you are wrong, but i feel like it would be more interesting to see those numbers in the context of the entire install base. Like, number of sales compared to the number of those devices in people’s hands.

As a percentage of users on its platform it’s huge.

That's the norm on a niche, expensive, enthusiast-dominated gaming platform though, right? Release anything even half-decent (not saying Alyx isn't better than that, mind) and almost everyone buys it, because they must really want to play games on it if they've got the platform, and there's relatively little high-quality content tailored for it (so far).

I'd argue it's not just lockdown

I saw a news article a couple of weeks ago that in my city, Xboxes, Switches and PlayStations are very hard to come by. I don't think people are dropping hundreds of dollars mid-cycle to buy new machines for the games.

To a much lesser extent, I have done this, too. My local used video game store started doing free home delivery, and I picked up a half-dozen Atari 2600 carts that were missing from my collection. But for me, in addition to needing the distraction a game provides, I need the comfort and familiarity of the big wood-grain beast and simple joysticks.

I would even say it is nearing end-cycle for consoles, given that we'll see a next-gen Xbox and PS by the end of this year.

Historically, console cycles tend to overlap significantly; and I actually think the next-gen consoles will see very slow adoption curves. There's not that much difference between the current gen Series X/Pro and next gen from a capability standpoint, and the business model has shifted to where the games themselves are the platforms (Minecraft, Fortnite, Overwatch, etc). Exclusives don't move systems the way they used to (unless you're Nintendo).

And the market has seen enough console release cycles now that the average consumer knows the first releases will an even smaller jump than the system will be able to hit with more mature development.

I know that Switches were sold out even before the lockdowns thanks to Animal Crossing.

No, it's the lockdown.

I haven't played games in 10 years. But during lockdown here in South Africa, the only way to stay in touch with my friends 20km away is to have a fat chat on Discord and play some games.

Additionally pretty much all of my friends have been super hyped for a few other recent releases: Streets of Rage 4 and FFVII Remake.

One friend even mentioned he hasn't been nearly this excited about video games since childhood.

There's a few new releases I'd like to get, but I'm too busy with the games I already have, so I'm holding off.

Lockdown has increased video game consumption beyond newer releases, the price of Wii consoles and Wii Sports has increased, for example, which shows an increased demand for a console that came out 14 years ago.

So it's a combination of a strong new releases, a big reduction in options for other leisure activities, and literally millions of newly unemployed people.

Streets of Rage 4 got me back into gaming after a couple years away from it.

It's still not SOR2, but one of the best sequels ever.

I don't play beat-em-ups, but I heard good things about the River City Ransom sequel/spin-off River City Girls that came out a few months back.

I dunno, i've been playing a lot more video games than I have in years and none of them are new releases. I spent about a month on Dark Souls, another on Bloodborne, now Bloodstained and The Messenger. None of those were released this year and i've bought all of them in the last couple months.

Exactly. I just bought a Switch Lite and I'm playing Breath of the Wild for the first time. It has been 15+ years since I played a Zelda game seriously (last one I played was Wind Waker), and I am just blown away. I'm lucky to be working, but the child in me wishes I was on summer break.

Likewise. But gaming feels more pointless to me than ever. I have a hard time describing it. But games that lack a clear goal and don't guide you towards that goal are where I feel it the most. For in instance Cities Skylines building out cities leaves me feeling empty instead of accomplished. I used to treat Skylines and Civ like solitaire - play a few hours mindlessly to burn away a bit of time. But even solitaire would probably not leave me feeling like this.

Playing lately Phoenix Wright, Cities Skylines, Alien Isolation (snagged it at $2), RDR2.

>For in instance Cities Skylines building out cities leaves me feeling empty instead of accomplished.

Actually, I understand exactly what you mean. I spent yesterday trying that game. I ended up getting it for free. In the beginning it was fun, I was excited to watch the city grow. By the time I finished, I felt like I'd just wasted hours doing absolutely nothing. Everything was shallow and pointless. Didn't help that all the stuff I wanted to do and thought I might be able to do was stuff that was locked behind a bunch of dlc, that I didn't find out about until I'd gotten kind of sick of it and read a bit about the game.

I recently started playing Cities and felt the same way.

But then I also started playing Minecraft again on server set up by a friend of a friend. And the feeling is completely different. While most of us (5 players) spend out times doing our own thing much of the time, just the occasional visit (and surprises left behind) makes all the 'pointless' home improvement feel worthwhile.

And it actually is, to a degree. I'm chatting with the other players (some of whom I've never met IRL) about strategies, what to get where, and interesting things to do. And while our homes are far apart and we rarely visit each other, we're working on a massive railroad project to connect all of these homes.

I forgot how much fun this 'pointless' stuff can be when there's a social component to it!

This has been the magic of Animal Crossing for me too. Honestly it barely even counts as a multiplayer game -- you can essentially just visit each others' islands and run around making animated gestures -- but somehow being able to have a friend or brother or sister come check out your island (and being able to visit theirs) transforms the game and gives meaning to everything you're doing.

Beyond that, I've been sharing an island with my partner, and it's just been a joy-filled adventure getting to see the work each day that the other has done on the island and their house.

It depends upon what you're trying to accomplish, but there are plenty of mods that remove some of the frustrations of the game.

That being said, I do agree with the emptiness of the accomplishments feeling. I suspect that it comes from putting a lot of effort into creating something only to realize that it has no value outside of the game itself.

I don't think it's just that. People are just buying more. I run a smallish hobby site and monetize it with Amazon affiliate links. I've had Black Friday-tier sales all of April and May.

I suspect Amazon's numbers for this quarter are going to surprise a lot of people

Congrats on your success, I suspect they're not gonna be surprising for many. People can't spend in stores and are home all day, Amazon seems like a natural, almost obvious, winner. People who haven't seen a downturn in income have seen a reduction in places where they can spend money, not a reduction in reason to spend money.

That's not entirely true, expectations are not solely based on "I have a job" they are also based on the expectation of "Can I get a new job if I lose my job" among other complexities, there will certainly be a reduction in marginal propensity to consume even among those who have maintained their employment.

So yes, Amazon may well be a winner because of the shift, but they are winning a larger fraction of a smaller pie.

And the second half of the year is stacked too with CP2077, Valhalla, Godfall, and a Hollow Knight sequel at least. And there’s going to be more big titles announced at the E3 substitute events in the next month or so. And the next gen consoles will launch in the fall.

Dying Light 2, Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2, quite possibly Baldur's Gate 3 (Larian also said announcements concerning their Divinity series are coming), Crusader Kings 3, this year is looking to rob my wallet and my time.

> Crusader Kings 3

I never thought I'd have child-like excitement for an upcoming game again until I entered the world of Paradox.

Since you mentioned Hollow Knight: Silksong, it's also worth keeping an eye on Axiom Verge 2, as AV was another excellent roguelite (HK was better but AV was still very good to great)

Sea of Thieves came out in 2018.

Paper Mario: Origami King was announced yesterday.

The Final Fantasy VII remake has been huge, too.

Isn't Sea of Theives a two year old game?

Poster must be a PC gamer who doesn't use the Microsoft store (like most PC users who'd identify as gamers, probably?). It hit Steam this year, was on XBone and MS Store in 2018.

Personally, I'd forgotten there was a MS store until I looked this up just now.

And lord was it annoying as fuck to get off Microsoft store. It was something like a 50gb download and it could get version desync, the only way to get around was (in my experience) was to completely wipe it and reinstall. But completely wiping was ALSO super hard to do, because it was saved in like... $APPdata or some weird hidden folder.

All this on top of the fact that my c:/ drive is tiny and I want to install my games on an external harddrive. In fact I think I had a double install going at one point.

Long story short the microsoft store sucks.

I'm glad I've avoided it so far. I already have three stores I use and that's at least one too many, but Epic won't stop showering me with free games (I've bought one and have a library of... 30ish? Maybe more?) so I keep them around for now.

I'm surprised that the %APPDATA% folder is so mysterious and confusing for someone posting on HackerNews in good faith..

I would certainly find it mysterious and confusing to find a game installed to %APPDATA%, and I've been a PC gamer for over two decades. Saved games and config files, sure, possibly mods too, but if a game installed somewhere without asking first I'd expect it to be in %PROGRAMFILES% or %PROGRAMFILES(X86)%. Either way, as the owner of a PC with multiple SSDs I'd be somewhat miffed by not being asked first where the game should be installed, as I put most of my games on my D: drive, which is much larger (but slower) than my C: drive.

Generally speaking, people don't like being called liars, or idiots.

I'm sure it differs from company to company, but I work on the multiplayer servers at Jackbox games and it's very clear that people are playing a lot more than they were at this time period last year.

My entire family and many friends play the entire Jackbox games, over Zoom. Jackbox 3 (with Trivia Murder Party and Quiplash) is the undisputed favorite. I ended up buying all six Jackbox game sets, because demand to play is so high. I’m kinda surprised Jackbox servers aren’t melting down with the demand.

It’s amazing that the market is so big that I’ve only played ONE of those games (Doom, and only briefly... It’s not grabbing me for whatever reason) as a self-professed gamer (mostly action-RPG’s and stealth/strategy games)

Lately I’ve been playing Wolfenstein Youngblood in co-op with a friend on the Left Coast, and Phantom Doctrine also (neither of which are new games), and having a blast with both.

Animal Crossing... I just don’t understand the appeal

>Animal Crossing... I just don’t understand the appeal

It's basically The Sims mashed up with Minecraft mashed up with a cute animal aesthetic. Those things are insanely popular, but it's totally understandable that they're not universally appealing either.

Disco Elysium too--A unique text-heavy RPG with some great writing and other character elements/buffs I haven't seen before. I'm usually a selective console gamer--maybe three or for titles a year, but got Disco running on a seven year old Macbook, and I'm loving it.

Meh, nothing exciting.

Doom 2016 v Doom Eternal: same shit Valorant: it's in beta so I'll give it some slack but it's pretty boring Half Life: Alyx: a VR game. lol Valve. Much rather get a Source 2 update for CSGO

Atleast GTA V is free on the Epic store.

I dunno man, Valorant is pretty sick. Me and my friends play maybe 3-4 matches of competitive Valorant per day and we absolutely love it. Way better than CS:GO, though the maps aren't as good. And what's wrong with Alyx being a VR game?

Unfortunately, I'd expect this to slow down :( Tons of companies have announced delays due to Work from Home conditions, and with E3 cancelled developers aren't under as much pressure to rush out announcements and release dates

Idk. cdProjektRed has a good track record. There is a lot of marketing money still being spent, and subsequent hype being built, on/for Cyberpunk 2077.

My team doesn't seem to have lost much productivity

Most of those games are not that good. Uptick in traffic is perfectly correlated to school closings.

As a Gears fan, Gears Tactics is a money grab.

Gears 5 was CoDified, still happily playing Gears 4 though.

MCC for PC just came out. Can't believe I can play Halo 2 again!

No way a turn based tactical game is money grab. More like a niche nod to hardcore fans. They haven't even released it on consoles yet.

No ffvii remake in your list?

Didn't Sea of Thieves originally come out in 2016? What are you talking about?

I think I must be a simpleton compared to many people. I am able to play the same video game for years and years before getting bored with it. Currently that game is Rocket League. Before that, it was Skate, Skate 2 and Skate 3 and before that...World of Warcraft.

On the other end I sometimes just enjoy the shopping, buying, collecting games. Even just collecting digital games on sale can be entertaining in its own way.

As I age and my family grows it's becoming obvious I'll never complete many of them. But that's OK too.

I think I've played maybe .5% of my Steam account library... and I'll still put new games in there. I dunno, it's just fun.

I'm starting to do the same thing for my Switch. I've just gotten a fat 500gb microSD card for it. I'm even rebuying games I already had on PC just because the portability factor is nice.

My partner says it's bad money management. I dunno, it's a hobby I think. My only concern is that Steam kicks the bucket one day.

Try GOG, no DRM.

Another advantage of GOG: you're typically launching the game from the desktop, rather than through a launcher that also serves as their storefront. There is far less temptation to acquire new games that you'll never play.

I agree with the collecting aspect. I have some 292 games in my steam collection. I no longer consider the unplayed ones as being on my "pile of shame". I like having them at my disposal. And I like collecting them.

Spending 3 or 4 hours on a game that cost a dollar or two feels fairly economical. I got Alien Isolation for $2 recently. That probably would have just gone into my collection unplayed. But I did give it a shot. And would say it's probably worth full price.

Whenever I look at my pile of shame, I keep promising myself I'll sit down and play every one of them when I retire.

(All the while, there's a little voice in the back of my head snickering and calling me a liar.)

I've implemented a new system. Can't buy another game until I finish the current one.

Same with books. So far it has kept the pile of shame from growing.

I could be wrong, but I feel like there are more people like you that play a lower number of games for years than people like me, that play most big releases as they come out. It's a big reason why games are moving to the "live service" model, where they continually release updates for released games. Many people find a game or two they like and stick with them for years, so companies are trying to find the best way to monetize those types of players.


Tetris, Civilization, XCOM: UFO Defense, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Spelunky, Brogue, CDDA, and now Slay the Spire.

There have been a lot of other games, but those are the ones I've really played in my life. Others are pretty much relegated to 6 hours maximum, and that's just for games I really enjoy.

Slay the Spire is so good, nice choice! I'm really bad at it though, it's the first deck building game I've ever really played.

Also a big fan of Slay the Spire, I have about 200 hours in it. Another game I'd recommend is One Step From Eden, a hybrid deckbuilder and roguelike similar in a way to StS, but with a much more involved style of gameplay.

I find that it feels just as challenging (and satisfying) at my current ascension of 18 as it felt when I struggled to complete a run pre-ascension. Which is a remarkable achievement in game design.

I do wonder if me getting bored with it will occur at Ascension 20, Ascension 20 with Heart, or sooner.

That doesn't have to make you a simpleton. Some of the most complex hardcore games take years to master. Like EU4. I've been playing it for many years, and I'm still learning new things.

I tend to stick with games for a long time.

> Like EU4. I've been playing it for many years, and I'm still learning new things.

I just learned that cavalry sucks. I probably have 1000 hours in EU4. Though Paradox needs to patch it.


Paradox is constantly patching it. I believe a new patch is about be out right around now, adding tons of new missions to minor nations.

Steam claims I've got 3000 hours in the game (I think much of that was paused while I was doing something else), and I'm just doing my first complete iron man game. Possibly the first time I ever got past 1700, or at least the first time in a very long time.

I have newer systems & games but I'd probably be just as happy catching up on all the reputedly-very-good SNES, Playstation 2, et c. games I never got around to playing the first time, or re-playing ones I really like.

This is true of a lot of things. A weird effect of having so very much excellent work available in so many media is that my quality of life probably wouldn't suffer noticeably if they just... stopped making new art of those kinds, entirely, for the rest of my life. Novels, games, movies, recorded music. I don't have time for all the good stuff that already exists, as it is.

As someone on the other end of the spectrum, I wish I could do this. While MMO addiction is a real problem (or at least it was... I don't seem to hear about it much anymore), being able to stay interested in a game for years at a time is something I've never experienced and I do feel like I'm missing out on some things because of it. I've never done any kind of "end game" content (e.g. WoW raids) in any MMO because I rarely stay interested long enough to even level a character, and that disappoints me a little bit.

I'm with you. I keep buying all of these awesome AAA games and somehow end up just playing Rocket League.

I just slept 5 hours because of Civilization V, so you're not alone. But yeah, lots of people go through tons of games very quickly. Some buy stuff they will end up not even playing, like it happens with books.

I'm the same. I'm not interested in any of the new releases (besides maybe DOOM) and I've never really been able to enjoy games with a long story, I get distracted too easily and generally prefer TV shows for that type of story-driven entertainment.

I pretty much bought a PS4 only for Rocket League and Gran Turismo and that's all I've played in the last years. Plus a few SNES platformers. Perfect for 20-30 min gaming sessions without too much involvement

A suggestion: avoid AAA games and try indie games focused on gameplay or action.

People who buy games more frequently are a bigger part of the market because they buy more games.

You can still play Skate 1 and 3 on modern Xbox! Holding out hope we’ll get a 4 some day...

There’s THPS 1&2 remake comming in this summer!

Was discussing this with my partner recently.

We have all these hundreds of games we've paid for, and somehow just end up playing free co-op tower defense mods in Dota 2.

WoW is hardcore and people still playing it of course. I would think simpletons can't retain attention that long.

rocket league is a competitive esport game, WoW is an ever-evolving MMO, and the Skate series are just the deepest skateboarding sims that exist I think.

Nothing wrong with continuing to play those type of games forever. I've been playing counter-strike for 20 years now. Some games just have endless play and replay value.

that's what a lot of the industry is. that's ... exactly why games like fortnite, league, cs:go, dota, etc are all based around monetizing cosmetics and other DLC. lots of people play games like that. a lot of them ... just play fortnite now.


Currently I'm playing Stardew Valley on my FireHD10, I never played a mobile port that had THAT good controls.

I also got Terraria and Minecraft and they are pretty bad to play with awkward on-screen controls.

Does anyone here know of games that have good mobile ports? Or even good mobile games to start with? Most "native" mobile games just were really basic, full of in-app purchases etc. so I was looking more into ports, but if you know something good, let me know :D

Mindustry[1] is an open source game that works perfect on mobile, especially if you have a big screen. You can find it on app stores or download it manually.

It's like factorio but more tower-defense and round-based. Much more approachable while still being really fun.

[1] https://github.com/Anuken/Mindustry

Oh, in the open-source department, there's also Unciv which I'm keeping an eye on. It could be improved, but it's quite fun already. It's a civilization clone.


This game destroyed me. It works well even if you don't have a big screen (relatively speaking anyway. I played it on an iPhone 7. You can't really get screens smaller than 4.7 anymore).

Factorio was a bit too much for me, but I'll look into Mindustry, thanks!

* Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a classic and fully playable on mobile device

* Star Traders Frontiers is a new old-school game that's also quite excellent

* There's a large number of old-school adventure games ported or created for mobile such as TimbleWeed park or Gemini Rue

* 80 Days is a beautifully written steampunk narrative travel adventure

* Out There and Out There Chronicles are modern classics

* Also & Oddysey are single-button games that are extremely simple but quite beautiful and peaceful

There's a bunch of cheap bluetooth mini game controllers you can pickup online that will make a lot of ports (and emulators) quite a bit more enjoyable. RPGs from the playstation days are my go to.

I had one and it didn't work, but this was 5-6 years ago.

Did the controller story for mobile get better?

The XBox controllers on desktop work like a charm, even with browser games.

On Android, if you are playing a game that supports a controller, you can just pair a ps4 controller via bluetooth with no fuss.

I guess Minecraft is so well known that this could work.

Are there any stats on how many Android games are playable with such a controller?

You can also look at mobile games that got a desktop port, as that should hint at good quality games. On the top of my head, I recall the Anomaly (Warzone: Earth) series, and Kingdom Rush.

Good idea, thanks!

Xenowerk is a lot of fun, as well as the Halo games for iOS, although I think they got pulled from the store.


Someone has unofficially ported Battle for Wesnoth to Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=it.alessandrop...

The controls are actually not half-bad.

There's also A LOT of board game ports of varying quality.

I've been enjoying Through the Ages. Ticket to Ride is competent. Splendor, Race for the Galaxy, and Twilight Struggle also pretty great.

Max Payne is on Android (for some reason). It's a fantastic game, so it might be worth a try if you haven't played it yet.

The Monkey Island games work really well on mobile devices and they re-released them a few years back.

Aw man, why'd you tell me this? You just cost my company 1 productive-engineer-day.

"The Witness" hasn't been mentioned yet.

Morrowind runs really well on my modest android phone, with openmw, It even support mods,

Do you want a sick modpack? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4loGDYIJXw

Best roguelike : pixel dungeon

Even better imo? Shattered Pixel Dungeon.

It's a fork, but some nice quality of life upgrades and tweaks imo


I've bought several games for the Switch for my kids, including Animal Crossings. I don't understand it, but anything to keep them quiet for an hour (or three).

One question I have is, is this revenue rate sustainable or it is an unnatural pump that will die out in a couple of years? Once people can go outside without fear I'm thinking that it won't be a long term investment.

Wife is an Animal Crossing convert entirely due to Covid. She played zero video games on a regular basis before that. I expect she will put it back down as other recreation options become available again, but I doubt she is the only one to pick up a new hobby. This is going to go on long enough for new habits to stick. Animal crossing in particular has exceptionally soft failure modes so it's great for people who aren't traditionally into video games.

Actually Animal Crossing removes the element of failure deliberately to provide a soothing, un-stressful experience. There isn’t even a counter for how many bugs and fishes you still could catch in the current season. There was a thread recently here about the associated genre Iyashikei. The success of this game should be quite interesting for video game makers who traditionally address and compete for a very narrow market.

Games like Stardew hit this note too. What many so-called "casual"[^1] gamers are after isn't less game but a game that is more focused on having an experience and experiencing things.

[^1]: The casual/hardcore gamer distinction is a really weird dichotomy that doesn't make any sense because there's probably a set of axis akin to Bartlet types that more accurately describes videogame consumption

Also, both Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley are much deeper and richer games (i.e. not “casual”) than your latest graphics whore zombie shooter. Video game companies should pay attention to the success of these, and also many interactive indie experiences like Firewatch in recent times.

Maybe we should find a different description for them than “game” which tends to indicate competitive elements and does not describe sandboxes or interactive narration / exploration very well. Unsure what to call them but people definitely crave them.

> Also, both Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley are much deeper and richer games (i.e. not “casual”) than your latest graphics whore zombie shooter.

I'm not sure how I feel about this statement in general, but I find it funny that the actual latest "graphics whore zombie shooter" happens to be Doom Eternal, which has its own depth and richness that elevates it above the mainstream FPS games you're referring to.

> One question I have is, is this revenue rate sustainable or it is an unnatural pump that will die out in a couple of years?

The situation is better than that of toiler paper. One human being consumes the same amount of toiler paper during a pandemic that in other circumstances. So, an increase in purchases now means a decrease of purchases in the future.

For video games the increase can be real. During a pandemic, and quarantine, people needs to pass the time in some way. Movies, and video games are popular ways of doing so.

After the pandemic, thou, the need for recreation will go back to normal with the decrease of available time (corrected upwards by the amount of new players that keep on with the habit and downwards with less available income during a recession).

> The situation is better than that of toiler paper. One human being consumes the same amount of toiler paper during a pandemic that in other circumstances. So, an increase in purchases now means a decrease of purchases in the future.

Aren't types of toilet paper important too? I would assume the average household is literally going through more toilet paper now than before; since before they were partially using industrial toilet paper at their employers.

The paper employers buy is usually not the same types that consumers buy.

With that said, I don't doubt we were out of toilet paper due to hoarding. Just adding a little asterisk that it's not purely hoarding.

I can see that being the case, but perhaps the amount of disposable time people currently have to spend with dedicated game systems, will help new users to cultivate a taste for the form that will last beyond the lockdown.

At least enough to take a few users away from Netflix and Youtube permanently.

It could get a lot of new people to be interested in games. I know some people who never really tried playing video games because they were always busy. When they suddenly got a lot more time at home, they realized that games were enjoyable.

> is this revenue rate sustainable or it is an unnatural pump that will die out in a couple of years?

The revenue rate already isn't sustainable for anyone who isn't Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft (and as the story notes, Nintendo won the quarter in part by taking enough business this quarter from Sony and Microsoft for them to end _down_ even with some big announcements and releases).

There's a real fear in studios that between the pandemic, unemployment spikes, expenses in moving to remote work coming before savings from getting rid of offices, and the broader economic malaise, this represents the last bit of inflation before wallets close for years and the games industry bubble pops for many, many studios.

Gaming is an inferior good so it doesn't follow the normal market dynamics. When people have less money they can't spend their time doing expensive activities, so they spend more time gaming since it is one of the cheapest ways to spend your time.

100% this. Gaming is like ramen noodles.

I think it will become a permanent bump, even if the same rate is not entirely sustained.

I never watched any movies or tv until I met my partner. It just wasn't a thing I even thought of doing. Now, I suspect I would still watch things on my tv even if we separated.

Once you're addicted to sugar, you crave it.

Dopamine is habit forming.

Can confirm, have played a lot of video games and had purchased the Covid-19 related humble bundle.

I got Monster Hunter World recently. Was debating whether to go down that rabbit hole for months but the lockdown and steam sale made it an easier decision.

It really good. This was my first real attempt at a Monster Hunter game and for two or three days I didn't understand the hype. Then the controls clicked and I loved it. Very well designed game, from the controls to the character progression.

This is really common. A lot of people struggle with it then something clicks and they get really into it. Happened to me too, though I have to say the micromanaging (in and out of fights) is a bit too high for me so I've gone off Iceborne recently.

People thought the games industry was 'immune' from the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, and it did ok for a while as people retreated to games as a relatively high value form of entertainment versus others (eg. movie theatres), but eventually all the layoffs in other industries and decreased discretionary income all around hit the games industry too and games publishers tightened belts, projects were canned and people were laid off.

I expect the same to hit the games industry this time around too if the economy isn't able to 'open up' to some degree in time.

I had to order a new Xbox One controller from Gamestop because my local Wal-Mart was completely sold out of all controllers other than Switch and Xbox 360. They were also completely sold out of TVs other than TCL 65".

In the last week both my laptop and gaming PC died. I replaced the laptop easily (system76, first one) but finding decent motherboards and video cards is really hard right now. I'm trying to get the newest stuff, but i think everyone else had the same thought already. I don't think I'll be able to rebuild my gaming PC for a few weeks or months now, at the worst time, while I'm unemployed and stuck in my house!

If anyone has a good source for parts online that isn't backordered to next year, let me know!

I'm not a gamer, but I want to play something to maintain connection with family and distant friends. What should I play? I was once given a copy of Civilization and after playing it for a day, decided it was too much work and I already lose to many things IRL no need to add the Assyrians to my vanquishers as well. I also played Zelda, by "play" I meant wander around the landscape looking for goodies and trying to chat up the game hint characters, and not really interested in solving the game.

You should definitely ask the family and distant friends you're trying to maintain connection with what they're playing. Right after telling them you're interested in gaming to keep in touch.

They might invite you to some gaming session on the spot, or some time later, which is huge for maintaining connection.

Even if they don't, the weak-ish bond of having a common interest is stronger if you're interested in the same specific game, than if you're just interested in gaming in general.

I would consider myself a "gamer", and play a lot of the big name, high budget titles, but the game I'm most looking forward to is the new "Clubhouse Games" for Switch that's due out on June 5. It sounds like that would be perfect for what you're looking for. It's 51 classic board/card games with many that can be played multiplayer, either couch co-op or online.

Now you could say, "there are already other versions of these sorts of games out there". True, but this brings them all under one roof, so to speak. One consistent interface through which you can play Connect 4 or Yahtzee or or whatever you choose. It's also developed by Nintendo, so there's going to be a certain level of polish you don't usually find in some random indie developer's release. I think it's going to be a killer title, especially if lockdowns continue to drag on. My only question is why they didn't try to accelerate the release date on it to catch more people stuck at home (though maybe it was considered and they had a good reason not to).


Animal Crossing might be up your alley, there's no real goals in the game, you can decorate your house and island, garden, befriend fellow villagers, craft new furniture, catch fish and bugs, and change your clothes and that's basically the entire gameplay. You can visit islands of your family and friends to swap items, shop in each other's stores, and share special events/visitors that happen in one person's island in the game. The friends and family part is interesting because each island will have different fruit and flowers available. It's literally the only game I've ever played multiplayer.

Can you visit same console friends/family islands or does this have to be online?

We play party games with my nieces and their family. We use the jackbox games screen shared over zoom.

You actually use your phone as an input controller into the game server (Quiplash and drawful they like). Check the setting for "child friendly". Its ends up being pretty fun. (We've been playing a couple hours the last 4 weeks)

A brief description of the game here: https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2020/04/the-games-getting-us-...

Definitely Animal Crossing. It’s a pure sandbox and particularly popular with people who are not interested in competition or overcoming game challenges, but rather in wandering around in a soothing environment, having some space for creativity (expressing themselves) and “meeting” their friends online in a relaxing environment. While they could have added more to multiplayer, existing elements like sending gifts to your friends or evening walks through the in-game museum together are actually working quite well.

You could give the new Animal Crossing a go. It's a super relaxed game with no real "goal" and it let's you interact with friends in-game.

I did check it out, no lie, I find the art work not very engaging, bordering on creepy. For context I liked all the Mario/Wario/Peach/Yoshi etc incarnations and found them to be really cute.

You could try Tabletop Simulator, there are tons of games, and many free thanks to mods.

FWIW I have been spending a lot of time playing games because, well, there's not much else to do.


> Gardening, home improvements

Not if you’re living in an apartment.

> personal or side development projects

I write enough code at work, thanks.

> online courses, playing music

Sure, those are good options.

> the utter stagnation that is television and video games

The fact that you decided to lump watching television (passive) with playing video games (active, engaging, sometimes social) tells me that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

> Gardening, home improvements, personal or side development projects, exercise, online courses, playing music, etc.

I've done all those things AND have spent more time gaming than ever before (well at least since college). Don't hobby shame, celebrate your differences and support those who have unique interests.

I have a group of four friends and we have a video game night twice a week. Outside of my wife, it's probably the only social contact I have now that feels "normal".

Like wise for Roleplaying (TTRPG) - for my groups its a way to keep in touch and have human contact.

I have three game sessions for the upcoming week and we are supposed to be starting Startrek at half term.

This is a tired and archaic take.

Makes you wonder what their response would be when I bring up that one of the more common games I play is Stormworks, where I spend most of my time in the engineering screen figuring out how to build fuel control and PID systems to run jet engines properly. Not quite to realistic levels, sure (it's one of my gripes about the game). But it's not on the level of mindless shooters by any means (which I also occasionally enjoy).

Even "mindless shooters" have a tangible benefit to cognitive and social function -- https://www.avondwenm.nl/images/avonden/avond-2019/studiemat...

The benefits of implementing play are vast and are emphasized in evolutionary psychology. Video games are just one means to leverage play.

Games like CS:GO, Valorant, and Overwatch are far from mindless. In fact, they take so much brain power that I have trouble even speaking when playing. But if you mean single player shooters, then yeah, I kind of agree.

Trust me, I'm on your side. When I say mindless I'm just talking about the classic corridor shooter (which, again, I also can enjoy sometimes).

It's not total stagnation. Sometimes you need to lay back and play some mindless game. Other times it's fun to team up with friends/coworkers and play a co-op game. Or maybe you just want to play some visual novel, which can be on par with reading a book.

I definitely would love to put my focus more on something harder like a side project or blog but it can almost feel like a side job at times. I'm trying to tackle those projects by just chipping away at them. Latest has been a blog. I started with Hugo, didn't like the templates, then went for a straight HTML approach to do it bare bones. I'm starting to get ideas of just making my own personal Markdown parser since I start seeing patterns in my HTML that can be generated. I think this way will be more fun!

To each their own.

This comment being downvote is incredibly odd. Yes, I can confirm that there are plenty of activities programmer can do at home that are not gaming.

Preferring gaming is one thing, getting offended over suggestion it is actually possible to be happy at home without gaming is ... odd.

It's obviously (and rightly) being downvoted because of how condescending it is to people who choose to spend any amount of their time with video games.

Except the comment didn't just suggest alternatives, so don't pretend that's what it was downvoted for.

Your thinking is so antiquated name me a good novel and I'll give a video game that matches it in narrative content. And playing music and gardening? Please.

While I don't agree with any attempt to see games as lower form of culture, I don't think that story telling/ narrative is something that games do well.

I personally find narratives in games actually detract from the experience, and many games are better from having no or only minimal story built into it, and more like being sandboxes:

-Cities: Skylines

-Just Cause 2

-Prison Architect

-Kerbal Space Program

-Pool Nation

-Blood Bowl


-Sins of a Solar Empire

-Elite: Dangerous

-Dungeons of the Endless

-Rocket League

-Sonic Allstars Racing

Literature has immensely more complex narratives than it is likely possible for films and games can hope to achieve. But to be able to provide interactive sandboxes with unlimited possibilities is perhaps one that only games can provide.

I can offer some counters to that off the bat,

Nier Automata, Deus Ex, Destiny, The Witcher, Stanley Parable, Undertale

If anything I think games with the right attention can have better narratives than literature because they aren't limited to words in assisting the narrative with visualization and depiction of events / emotion.

Much like pulp fiction and early sci-fi were treated as second class literature games range the spectrum as well. I think we can likely both continue to find examples to fit our points and it just shows the range games have as a medium.

That literature does not use visual images is its advantage: it isn't contstrained or restricted to a single visual realisation; every on who reads it's reconstructs in their own unique manner, also same reader may imagine it in a different manner at a different time. Also that mental image is out of the bounds of normal space and time; such freedom is what makes it special in that regard.

Take witcher for example, the games offers a single model of Geralt of Rivia, while someone reading the Witcher novel is free to construct their own model, their own landscape,..etc.

My point is that narratives are not a strong point of games, rather it might even be a weak point; they are not what makes games unique or different from other forms of culture. The more games move away from a narrative structure, the more unique and compelling experiences they are able to offer, is my view of the matter.

Is the best literature then a blank page?

Or maybe I should edit to sound less dismissive because that wasn't my intent.

How little can you say and how much work should the reader/viewer/player have to do before we stop really considering it a narrative? And if those gaps exist, couldn't we argue they aren't really part of the narrative? Unless, of course, the gaps are intentional but I'd argue as one example that vague character descriptions are a lack of fidelity in written language rather than intentional.

Do you also think narrative is a weak point of movies and TV? Everything is constructed (filmed) for the viewer there, too.

I also enjoy the visualization and imagination involved with reading books, but if you are limiting the definition of "narrative" to how much visualization is involved, then I don't think it makes sense to directly compare books to movies and games.

Yes I do believe movies and TV offer lesser narrative scope than literature. When you read you get your own visualisation, when you watch a movie/tv series you get somebody else's and often simplified visualisation/construction.

If you get the chance (it is exclusive), I consider Bloodborne to be a contender for narrative excellence in games.

There is complete mechanical proof of the player's knowledge and understanding of the narrative and there is no wrong way to play. You simply get a different interpretation of the story depending on how curious you are and how closely you examine the textual evidence they elude to.

The storytelling can seem obtuse. I argue it works in support of the world design. You are the narrator.

The Souls series in general. I'd argue the world is the main character, but you have to pay attention to learn about it. And no matter how hard you try there will be gaps and conjecture.

I got your point, I disagree and continue to.

From those I played Deus Ex (I decided to not play games anymore) and narrative in that rather average ordinary scifi book with rather normal storyline. I am not saying bad book, but it is not some kind of narrative masterpiece.

I can only speak to the reboot, and I found those fantastic, but we are now in the realm of opinion which ultimately is where the conversation is going to wind up anyway so I'm not going to push back on it just that we had different experiences.

I think the important distinction is games that have a story in them, compared with those that use the medium to tell the story in a way that other mediums cannot.

I can't attest to Destiny and my memory of Deus Ex is hazy but all the other games you listed are firmly in the second category.

> our thinking is so antiquated name me a good novel and I'll give a video game that matches it in narrative content.

"Brothers Karamazow"?

Nier Automata

Can you elaborate how the themes in this game map onto themes in Brothers Karamazov? I tried doing that myself, based on plot synopsis in Wikipedia, but was not able to.

Not to mention that just equivalence of narrative content does not mean anything in terms of work of art's quality - i.e. one could write the most wretched version of Brothers Karamazov, with technically the same content, but just no substance... The true value of work of art reveals itself in how deep it is - i.e. how much it can deliver to its reader (in terms of richness of characters, jumping points for philosophical thought etc.). BK were studied for over a century now, with countless articles and PhD theses from different angles written about it - a true testament to its richness. One can wonder how deeply "Nier Automata" will be studied.


'Please don't post shallow dismissals, especially of other people's work. A good critical comment teaches us something.'

Wii Sports

I actually love this comment, because personally, Dostoevsky doesn't rank very highly in terms of literature for me.

Maybe because I feel like his examination of human nature or the bleak reality of things feels less impactful now that its such a common thing to write about. I can recognize his historical importance but in modernity his work I believe falls behind.

I just live for the drama of not using the Wii-mote wrist strap while bowling.

Lisa the painful

Gardening and playing music are both timeless activities, what do you mean? Kind of unfair to jump down the throat of someone who’s only offering friendly advice.

Both are equivalent leisure time activities that I would never say improve your life as the OP claimed. They improve your life in so much the same way games do, leisure, so their comment is purely "I don't like them so they can't be good" which is complete crap.

I do think, say, acquiring the skill to play piano or guitar tolerably well gains one more general social standing (not just with a subset of gamers) than "I'm fairly good at Rocket League" and also builds a better understanding of music generally, which can be useful and/or pleasant, and gardening produces good food and also carries more social benefits than "I caught all the Pokemon".

I'd agree they're not wildly better. Though if I put as much time into one of those activities as I have into games I'd probably be really really good at them, which I bet would open up some doors if I went looking for them, rather than just being alright at games and knowing some stuff about them, for whatever that's worth (nothing at all).

I think pursuing leisure for some end goal loses the point of leisure itself and is an unfortunate side effect of the times we live in.

That said I'm a workaholic with my job and 2 active projects outside of that who likes to lift and go outside so I can't really take fault with that mode of thinking since I've never quite captured my own idea of how I should be doing leisure.

> That said I'm a workaholic with my job and 2 active projects

I kind of dont see how you could play The Witcher while working overtime and having two side projects and going outside.

You've never taken a week off?

We use weeks off when there is no school to go together somewhere as a family. Around half time with friends too.

I don't have that much time off that I could take week off for the game.

Yeah, that's totally fair, I believe I'm just in an earlier stage of my life where I don't have a family yet so I can sometimes burn the time like that versus prioritizing my social relationships.

I spend a lot of time watching TV. I WISH I could play more games, the fact is playing games is an active activity, that forces you to focus on something, learn new things, interact with people. I get bored of doing this and end up playing less games and watch more shows. I think your view of putting in the same bin is very wrong.

Video games are pretty fun though. They are quite mentally stimulating, and you can play with friends.

I take multiple walks every day (I have a dog), but I also live in a 500 sqft rental apartment in Manhattan which limits the kind of activities I can engage in.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact