Too Many Games!

I've just been listening to Mssrs. Hemlock & Shute's fine podcast, Episode 116. In it, there's some discussion of Jon's ongoing quixotic quest to buy and play every computer game that comes out. He's saying that it's now getting to the stage where, while he still holds down a job and some relations with other humans, he simply can't play everything.

This is a new threshold in computer games, but it's by no means unprecedented in other entertainment. It's probably still possible to see every film that makes it as far as the high street cinema, if you cut it down to "films in English", anyway. Adding in the non-Anglphone world's output almost certainly pushes it past the limit where you can see everything, and if you consider what, in my ignorance of film terminology, I'm going to call "small press films", then it passed that threshold years ago.

You can probably still read every published tabletop RPG, but I don't think you can play them all, certainly not in any degree of depth, or with other humans. You certainly can't listen to every piece of music released, you probably can't even do so within some of the larger genres of music. I'd reckon, looking at my own tastes, that listening to even every metal album released in a given year might be impossible. A copy of any monthly metal magazine has about 300 reviews in it, and if you allow an hour each, you'd have a rough time finding 300 free hours in a month.

And in books, well, that's plainly impossible, and has been for centuries. Indeed, I'd say that even within a limited genre, it's difficult. I believe Gardner Dozois manages to read most of the SF published in a year, but that has to be getting difficult, and requires a fairly strict definition of science fiction.

I reckon Jon is soon going to have to confine himself to one genre of games, and possibly even a sub-genre within the next few years. I can't bring myself to think of that as a bad thing, though; the notion that we'll never run out of games can only be good.

Posted by Drew Shiel at August 26, 2010 1:50 PM

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