Not the best the title I know but stick with me a moment.
Last night I thought I would give the Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate demo a play, see how comfortable it felt to play the game in the Switch’s handheld mode, and also get a sense as to how rusty I am after hundreds of hours in MH4U on the 3DS. Things were going pretty well at the start; I wasn’t too terrible, the controls weren’t too awkward, and the Great Maccao was basically suffering the same fate as countless Great Jaggi. And then it came to the point where I had damaged the monster enough that it began to limp and retreat (a staple of the series if you are not familiar) and I was hit with the realization that I was basically brutalizing some poor creature. I should say I am by no means a saintly person and I consume animal products, but at that moment I was kind of overwhelmed by the weird cruelty of the series–that, just as the name promises, the whole point of the game is to hunt monsters and while some of them are “monsters” a lot are simply goofy animals that you kill scores of to customize gear. It was a surprising moment for me and, while I will continue to swear that I love the Monster Hunter series, I think I am done with playing it for a little while.
Similarly, I have developed a real aversion to shooting games after basically a life time of playing them. A while back I thought I would check out Wolfenstein given all the praise for the series and couldn’t make it past the opening mission; I was, for lack of a better word, disturbed by the reality of the violence and the massive scope of it (despite the fact that nazis totally deserve it) and watching a few cutscenes on YouTube left me feeling really disturbed for lack of a better word. I can handle the subject of war and some gun violence when it is abstracted or made cartoonish (e.g. Fortnite and the very anime approach of Valkyria Chronicles) but anything that relishes in the reality of its depiction of violence, no matter how “necessary” or “deserved,” really bothers me at this point.
I am sure quite a bit of this can be written off to, you know, aging and, if not maturing, at least different tastes. However, I have devoted time to writing this all down and now turning the subject to you because I have now found myself alienated from one of the core genres of video games, “realistic” FPSs, and a series that I am willing to claim a fondness for even though I am now upset by the fundamental premise of it. Have folks found their selves in similar circumstances in which the games seem to stay the same but you now feel disconnected?