THE MIDDLE MAN

We constantly hear about the “war” (if you can really call it that) between the distinct parties simply known as the casual and the hardcore gamers (Let it be known that I absolutely hate the term “gamer” with a passion. Playing video games is a hobby, not a life style choice). We know the definitions of both, we know what games both plays, and we even know the average age demographic of both, through general statistic gathering and observation.

But what about the middle man? The fellow who isn’t quite casual, but isn’t very hardcore, either? The “casu-core”, if you will. From what I’ve observed, the casu-core display a deep interest in games, but either very rarely plays them, or is easily distracted by what’s NEW and SHINY, only to toss it over-shoulder a few months to a year later, when something else comes along to dance and parade before the eyes. In general, the casu-core are very hard to talk to about games, because they’re only feet-deep in the topic, which obviously makes their knowledge limited, despite what they think.

My brother is a perfect example of a casu-core. He’s always been in the gaming scene, I guess. He’s actually the one who got me into video games. I remember being led into his room when I was three, and him sticking an NES controller in my hand, with Metal Gear blaring from the television screen.

Anyway, my brother was always into the gaming scene. As far back as I can remember, he’s always had video games and magazines at his disposal – Games like Contra, and Super Mario Bros. 3, and Super Metroid, DOOM, Final Fantasy VII, Parasite EVE, Grand Theft Auto. Magazines like Nintendo Power, PSM, Electronic Gaming Monthly, GMR…

A friendlier way to … oh.

In retrospect, my brother had the potential to be a hardcore. No, he SHOULD HAVE BEEN a hardcore. But what went wrong? What came along and made it so he was an unbeknownst (is that even a word?) traveler of the road most avoided?

Lack of funds.

Yes, games and consoles were always coming into the house, but they were also leaving just as fast. My brother, despite having decent paying jobs, was always in a financial bind – to the point where when he ran out of stuff to get rid of, he’d turn to my collection without my knowledge.

This cycle of buy-sell-buy-sell-buy-sell is still going on with him, too. I eventually got sick and tired of him regretfully selling games, that at one point, I forked over the cash just too keep them in the family.

Short story long, my brother spent so much time beating around the bush with video games, he never got the chance to fully appreciate them, I don’t think. I mean, sure he’d get super excited and passionate about a game – but then a few years later, say the game is “virtually unplayable” and/or “ugly”.

Now, I just want to clarify: this isn’t a “Let’s pick on Lime’s brother” article; he’s just the best example of a casu-core “gamer” that I know of.

My brother loved Super Metroid when it first came out. He loved it to death. And then he gave his copy to me. A good four or five years ago, he was talking about some Xbox 360 game – I think Crackdown. He was talking to me about Crackdown, and how amazing the graphics look, and everything, and I briefly mentioned I was playing Super Metroid, and how even in today’s standards of updated graphics, it’s an absolutely beautiful game to look at.

His response?

“Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay?”

I expect that sort of response from a kid five years younger than me, who grew up in the PS2 era. Not from a 36-year-old adult who cherished the EXACT. SAME. GAME. when it was released seventeen years ago.

I don’t care how many kids it made go schizoid,
Polybius is the shit! Casuals be hay’tennn~

I got a similar response from him when talking about games released in 2000 – just 12 year ago! My brother came over one day while I was playing Final Fantasy IX on my PSX. While watching, he casually said, “Dude, you should totally play this on your PS2. It beefs the graphics up.”

He’s saying this once again, about ANOTHER game he cherished (and ironically praised the graphics for) at the time of its release.

Not to mention that it doesn’t matter what Sony console you play your PSX games in, they still graphically look the same. If anything, the games load a second or two faster. That’s it.

As mentioned above, this blog entry is not about bashing my brother. It is about the subtle niche of video game players I’ve noticed. People who enjoy video games as much as the hardcore, but know or respect them just as much as the casual. The always-moving, constant-oblivious casu-core. The middle man.

Those of you who know me personally could probably even say that I’m a casu-core game player. Maybe I am, maybe I’m not. I’m extremely picky, and don’t enjoy many newer video games, even ones that are critically acclaimed, yet I own a large collection of video games; larger than the average game hobbyist. I talk more about video games than I do play them, but I have a deep, deep regard for many older games. I don’t know. And the honest fact is: I don’t really care what you think about me.

In any case, the road of the casu-core is a rather unfortunate one. It really is. There are so many great video games out there, be they two years old, or twenty years old. It really is a shame, but there’s always hope. There’s always, always a shimmer of hope that the narrow eyelids will eventually widen to see the whole picture — not just quick fixes, spiffy graphics, and what’s current.

…Maybe not.

…Probably not.

Oh well.

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