Does The Video Game Industry Need A Time Out?

In an article written for GameSpy, New York standup comedian Michael Drucker suggests that the video game industry take a year-long break from releasing new titles. Why does this sound like an amazing idea?

It seems that Mr. Drucker and I are in close to the same boat - our favourite hobby is getting too big for us. With three consoles, two handhelds, PC games and the iPhone, it's becoming increasingly difficult to play all of the games we want to play, let alone finish any of them.

It was easier to deal with this in previous console generations, mainly because there weren't so many good games. When we were younger, this wasn't such an issue.

Videogame Industry, you're literally releasing too many good games. When I was a kid, not only were there less games, but there were less good games. Boogerman was one of the 10 best games of 1994. Boogerman. You know, the game with the superhero who shoots boogers? Top 10. With a bullet.

Then Drucker further clarifies his point.

To look at it from another angle, a Legend Of Zelda game was probably the 10th-best game last year. If you told me that 15 years ago I would've drank, because weeping is so much less subtle.

It's an issue that has been driving me batty for the past two years. There is too much worth playing out there, and not enough time to play it all. Take 2009, for instance. I finished something along the lines of 20 games last year, from start to credits rolling. I'm almost certain those 20 or so titles were all games that I was required to finish in order to review them. I spend nine hours a day sitting in front of this computer, writing up stories for Kotaku. Then I spend 35-40 hours playing through White Knight Chronicles, and another 10-15 hours playing Star Trek Online. In my downtime, I played one Arcade Mode game of Tatsunoko Vs Capcom, and haven't been able to get back to it since.

My backlog surely rivals Mr Drucker's, so when he calls for the video game industry to stop making games for a year, I'm right there with him, standing over his shoulder, pointing my finger in the face of the industry and gruffly exclaiming, "Yeah!" after everything he says. This is a role I play rather well. The piercings and shaved head help.

Sure, Michael and I could spend a year not buying new games. There's only one problem with that, as he points out. We can't. We'd go insane. I can resist a big new title that's coming out up until the day it is released, tops. Then I frantically call every store in a 20 mile radius to see if they have a copy, shaking like a crack addict all the way to the checkout counter.

So no. We can't change, so it's up to the video game industry to change for us. Sure, it might impact companies' profits, but Drucker offers up a pretty good solution to that issue as well.

I know you've got children to feed. You work in videogames and you can still have sex, lah dee dah. Show off. You want to use the programming skills you've developed over the years to sustain a comfortable lifestyle? Make some medical equipment. That's what BioWare did before it drained me of 80 bucks every month. No reason you couldn't create software for a heart pump for a year. It should offset the guilt you feel when my generation dies en masse at age 50.

Hit up the link below to read the rest of Michael Drucker's excellent essay. It makes me want to buy the man a beer and some really spicy food, to cover up the fact that we're crying.

Dear Videogame Industry, Please Stop Making Games [GameSpy]


    That's hilarious, sprinkled with undeniable truth, the way good comedy is.

    The backlog gets bigger and bigger every year and I feel dirtier and dirtier because I didn't finish those last few levels of that game. Steam holiday sales also remind me of how many games I've missed and need to clock.

      I never even finished Final Fantasy XII or VI for that same reason, just too much coming out =( Example: I wanted Bioshock 2, Heavy Rain, Bad Company 2, God of War 3...all of which come out within two months! >.<

    Do we need to bring this issue up every year? Really?

    The good news is that while you are completing old games, the new games coming through will be cheaper by the time you come around to by them. I've got heaps of AAA titles that I've picked up for less than A$40. I just need to find the time to play them! Works for me as I rarely go online - picking up an old title for online play sucks.


    Wah wah, I own a PS3 and a 360 and a Wii and an iPhone and a DS and a PSP and a PC and I buy all the games but I don't have time to play them all. I wish I were homeless so then I wouldn't have this problem.

    "Videogame Industry, you’re literally releasing too many good games."

    A phrase I never thought I'd see without irony. Seriously are shallow repetitive 6 hour games really worth it? I mean if you've played one call of duty you've basically played them all

    Am I the only one who finds searching for good games these days akin to panning for gold in a river of poo?

    More haunting than hilarious, I feel exactly the same way. I finished a lot of games last year, almost all of them were games I had to review for my site. But there are so many games I want to play that i just haven't gotten to give a fair shake.

    Even if they could just cut production in half that would be great.

    I've actually gotten a chance to work through my backlog of games from last gen, because this one is so terrible.

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