Today was the day. Yes, today was finally going to be the day I had
some time to myself and was going to get to actually play a game
instead of write about one. I set my alarm clock early, just so I'd
have a decent amount of time to log on and get some relaxation time in
by playing my Blood Elf Paladin on World of Warcraft (and no, href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/49249" target="_blank">the
is not lost on me here). The screen pops up and rather than seeing
Silvermoon as usual, I'm staring at Christmas lights. Not red and green
ribbon streamers or something of the sort, but actual "I just bought
these at Wal-Mart" Christmas lights. What the hell?
I have to spend my drive back and forth to work each day staring at
these monstrosities the city has created with their pseudo-enthusiasm
and overabundance of holiday lights, all the while trying to ignore the
nagging voice in the back of my head that keeps telling me that my tax
dollars are paying for all of this. I have to see the fond holiday
memories of my youth destroyed because now they start showing Christmas
specials in November. I have to try ignoring the four and a half
billion ads displayed every hour telling me how much of a bad person I
am since I won't be spending my last penny (or going into debt) to
shower my friends and family members with gifts. How much more should
we have to be bombarded with on a daily basis? I think Scrooge took
things a little too far, but you have to admit things have gotten
grossly out of hand over the last decade.
style="font-style: italic;">I give you Exhibit A.
I understand companies wanting to create a festive spirit for everyone,
but do they all have to do it by creating a href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/51424" target="_blank">Winter
of some sort? How about pushing the event further into the season, like
near the end of January instead? At least pretend to give me the
illusion that this isn't some sort of Christmas copycat holiday. It
kills my coworkers that I refuse to let them decorate my desk during
the season, so why in the world would I want to log into a game and be
surrounded with the same thing? In case developers haven't realized it
yet, the vast majority of us play video games not only for a general
sense of enjoyment, but to also get away from the pressures of everyday
There are a surprising number of people in this country that think the
holidays are the worst time of the year. This isn't because their heart
is smaller than that of the Grinch (greatest cartoon special ever!),
it's because this is the one time of year when all the issues piling up
in their lives come to a boil. Since this is meant to be a time of
goodwill and happiness, they go around having to hear how happy and
great everything (and everyone) is supposed to be. Hmmm... I wonder how
folks at CME are this week? Wouldn't it be nice to let them
have a game to log into to just get away from it all for a little while?
Think about that for a moment.
Attacking this in-game holiday concept from a different perspective,
it's freezing outside right now. Although it's no where near as cold as
it used to get when I lived in Maine, I'm still shivering like a lizard
in an igloo this week. In fact it's so cold, we actually broke the low
temperature record for this time of year in Denver, set in 1901, with a
temperature of -19 degrees Fahrenheit. I know I'm not the only one cold
out there, so while the hard working folks at each game company take
some time to sit by the fire and get all nice and toasty, why don't
they get rid of all the damned snow in each game? Of course, places
that would normally have snow are fine (high mountain ridges, arctic
plains, etc), but get rid of the rest. Aside from it doing funky things
to my video card, all it does is remind me of how chilly it is out here.
many trees do we really need?
Speaking of being chilly and looking at things we shouldn't have to,
why do all the holiday outfits make the females look like festive
hookers on Sunset Strip? Not that I mind the uber miniskirt being
fashioned today, but seriously folks, it's basically a cartoon
character... played by kids... is this really what we want them wishing
they can grow up to be, the Holiday Whore?
I will freely admit that when the original ideas to have live holiday
events were first introduced, they were (and still are) a lot of fun.
If a company was kind enough to let the players know when they would
begin rather than going the unannounced route so people missed it ( href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=20554"
you SOE!), I went so far as rescheduling prior engagements so
I could log in and join the action. When things revolve around a live
event, it's more fun and exciting than carving a turkey with a
lightsaber. Ok, I'm not sure anything could be that much fun, but you
can see where I'm going with this. There was a sense of accomplishment
and camaraderie that participating in a live event gave not only you,
but the community itself.
As time moved on, it seemed developers began to take the "easy" way out
and create a temporary patch to fulfill their gamers' holiday wishes.
It may have seemed like a great idea at the time, but I don't like the
current trend of these in-game holidays. Take away time limits and fill
a game with static scavenger hunts that last for weeks and all the fun
goes down the drain like last night's bath water. Sure, you scrubbed
and scrubbed, but you just can't get rid of the feeling that you're
still a little dirty... just like these bastardized in-game holiday