“Hatsune Miku: Project Diva 2nd” and the problems with Casualization
Alright so I’m a little slow keeping up with all the latest stuff and I finally got to get my hands on “Hatsune Miku: Project Diva 2nd”. I did the usual, sat figured out the controls (simple rhythm game) then tried out my first song on normal.
And lost horribly. Ok ok so maybe its just got a sharp learning curve? I switched to easy and gave it ago. Hey this time I made it through the song but whats this? “not clear” or “you failed” I was surprised to see this result when usually completing a song in other games in this genre means I succeeded, so I tried another song, and another, and another. Each gave me a curt “not clear” at the results screen. Normally my conditioned brain would just cut my loses but something stirred in my gamer brain that I NEEDED to clear at least one song before I turned it off for the night. So I picked a song and practiced.
It took a couple tries and a lot of patience but I eventually cleared my first song in Hatsune Miku’s insane rhythm game. This was a Feat worth sharing in my opinion and I got all excited and vowed to write this article as soon as I got up the next day. After sleeping on it I decided to instead write about a semi-unrelated topic and something that bleeds its way into the video game market as it grows in popularity.
“No One Loses”
it would seem that in America over the last decade or so (around when my generation started having kids) there was put into place a “No One Loses” policy, or also a “Participation Award” not to date myself but when you lost at something you were lucky to get noticed for participating and the reward was never as good as those succeeding. This taught a valuable lesson that both life isn’t fair at times, and that if you want something you need to work for it. Getting back on track this thinking has moved to video games as they have increased in popularity from a geeky past time to a huge industry.
Am I talking about casualization? Maybe. Games used to be about skill, about the achievement of daring your friends to follow your gaming Escapades (the origin of this practice BTW: “I can beat super metroid in 3 hours!” “Prove it”. now a days you’d get a trophy or achievement digitally to show you did) instead games have become a fast pace consumer engine. Not to say the goal wasn’t always to make money but they used to require skill to be considered “good” now its just how many of my friends can play at the same time (Super Smash i’m looking at your 8player mode)
a good evidence of this is how I actually pick games to play more on their “hours” instead of if the game is going to be a good experience. Take Tomb Raider which I rated highly on this site. I beat that game in roughly eighteen hours and rented it for two days from the “Redbox” service. I did the same with Dishonored, The Last of Us, and Bioshock Infinite. These games took little skill and were wrapped up in the time it takes most people to watch the season of a television show. Did that mean they were bad, not really but it demonstrates that the game was no longer about the achievement but the consumption.
A lot of the time in games you get the “participation” equivalent of a pat on the back and are offered to play an easier difficulty. To be hand held through sections or the control taken from you in a “scripted” event that leaves all the cool stuff up to a video. There are a few games in the industry that actively don’t do this and those are games like Dark Souls (and the other Soul games) and as far as rhythm games go Hatsune Miku is a brutal experience for the casual market that the genre breeds in now.
To wrap up this rant I’d like to propose that we as gamers, attempt to support those games that ask for your skill rather than your consumption. Its ok to have casual games, but lets get back to the days when playing a game meant dedication and achievement instead of a shameless scheme to sell more copies to the most people.
Damnit I want games to be a 3 star meal, not a Mcdonalds Hamburger
thanks for listening Kupo!