The Internet Makes Video Games Less Fun

Just to clarify before I start, this entry isn’t going to be an attack on online gaming. I like online gaming; in fact, I just spent the last hour or so playing Mario Kart 7 online. Today’s entry is more about the relationship between the internet and video games.
    Now, when I think back to the video games of my childhood, they all seemed to present to me with their own worlds which were just as large and mysterious as the real world. The example I’ll use is the game Pokémon Red. When I got Pokémon Red, everybody had the game. A time came when I had finished the game’s story and I was just trying to complete the Pokédex by catching all 151 Pokémon.
    What most people who had the game wondered was how exactly they were supposed to catch Mew (the elusive 151st Pokémon). I had the game guide but, despite showing screenshots of Mew, it said that there was no way to catch it. Obviously I, and everybody else, jumped to the conclusion that it was just trying to mislead us and that there was some super-secret way to find him. So many rumours about the game floated around: that you could catch an extremely strange Pokémon called Missingno by doing an elaborate sequence of events, that you could get infinite Master Balls, that there was a way to travel underwater, that there was a way to get into the garden of a character named Bill and that Mew was there and so many others. Because some of these were true, including some of the very bizarre ones, everybody was left with the hope that there were ways to find Mew and to visit the alleged underwater cities. The game seemed so big, there were so many huge mysteries and everybody believed that there was more to be discovered, even after they’d done everything. We all hoped that eventually we’d find something new ourselves, and be the first to do so.
    Today, however, nothing quite so wonderful can happen. People have hacked the game and torn it open in order to show the exact limitations of what you can do, comprehensive YouTube videos show just exactly what can and can’t be done and all rumours are confirmed or debunked very quickly. Everybody knows now that you could only catch Mew by using an obscure glitch or by attending Pokémon events. With the advent of widespread internet usage, video games have lost the mystery that they used to have. Video games today are no better or worse than they were in the past (in my opinion) but the reason we seem to get slightly less enjoyment out of them as we get older is that they’ve lost the mystery that they had in the pre-internet age.
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