Today we’re gonna discuss something a little more serious. I know there are wars, and terrorism, and poverty, illiteracy, political scandals, cancer, racial hatred, ethnic hatred, and that the designated hitter is still a part of baseball, but we need to sit down today and talk about something that’s even more real, terrifying, and dangerous. I think after a minute of solemn pondering, we can all agree that the biggest threat to the lives of Americans, nay the very denizens of planet Earth themselves, is the ever escalating prices of video gaming systems and video games themselves.
Stay with me here, don’t just tune out and roll your eyes at me. Let’s just think this through slowly and logically and see where we end up.
Back in what I consider to be the golden age of video games, long before final fantasy 473 had serious gamers playing for 96 hours to complete 47% of the game with 9% of the secrets unlocked, there were two platforms: Nintendo and Sega. A clear dichotomy, and for the most part, you were either on one side of the fence, or the other. A Nintendo cost $99.99, at a time when the only other option was a Sega Genesis (for a similar price I assume, I was a Nintendo boy- but I’ll do my best to remain objective and not try to compare the two) or a computer, but this was back when unless you were playing Oregon Trail, you weren’t playing video games on your computer. The console came with Mario and Duck Hunt, friggin incredible. When I got my Nintendo, it came with 2 controllers (all it could handle), a gun, and two games…for $99.99! Now you can pay a grand for a console when it just comes out, you get 1 lousy controller, then you gotta shell out another 60-70 bones for your game. Honestly, this system is becoming horribly detrimental to society at large and could have catastrophic consequences unless we, as a nation, and as a people, stand together and say “Hey! You! Video Game Designers and Console Manufacturers! How about some affordability over here!”
99.99% of boys who are worth knowing, hanging out with, fun, cool, or otherwise positive influences on society at the ripe age of puberty have, or are well indoctrinated into the video gaming world. If things continue the way they’re headed right now pretty soon parents’ll be taking out second and third mortgages to get a PS10, waiting in line for 2 weeks outside of the Best Buy in Topeka, Kansas because they think the population is less dense there so there’s a better chance of getting one before they sell out 3 seconds after their intial release.
I already know what you’re gonna say now. “But Paul, look at the graphics, the complexity, the time required to beat these new games. Look at how far the progression has gone. Games can now take 96 hours to beat, surely that warrants in increase in price. The games for Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and even Super Nintendo just couldn’t hold as much information, and thus, their value can’t possibly be expected to compare.” You’re sitting there thinking you have a good point. To you I say, try beating Contra in 96 hours without using a cheat code. I bet you a million* dollars you can’t. You’ll sit there for days trying to avoid every single pellet that comes across the screen and dodge every vehicle and make every jump and you won’t be able to do. Try beating level 99 on Duck Hunt, the very first game you’ll ever get. I’ve done it, it took weeks of attempts, weeks, I’m not kidding in the least. It probably took me as long to beat Duck Hunt, as it did for the average kid to beat Crono Trigger. So don’t tell me you’re paying for the added gameplay time required to beat the game until you can kill Donkey Kong in under a day. [Edit. Note: Yes, we know the final level in original Donkey Kong is a kill screen, and you’ll ultimately lose. Let’s see you try to find a pithy way to write “So don’t tell me you’re paying for the added gameplay time required to beat the game until you can get to the last level with an absurd number of points in under a day, with still enough time to desperately try to beat the final level before dinner.”]
So now you’re probably saying “Okay, you’ve got a point, it’s become slightly ridiculous to shell out all this cash for video games, inflation doesn’t account for the price jumping and it’s higher than it should be, why is this such a huge deal?”
I’m glad you asked.
The escalating price in video games has begun to and will inevitably continue to create a class rift between those who can afford the newest game systems and those who cannot. Since the emergence of Microsoft on the gaming scene with the Xbox prices really started to jump. The PS2 was expensive, but not oppressively so after the initial pre-Christmas release and insanity finally died down. But the X-Box 360/PS3 obvious price escalation coordinated release dates are more than the average middle class consumer can feasibly bear. So, sorry Jimmy, unless you wanna work for a year between high school and college to make up the difference, you’re gonna have to make do with your original X-Box and play Gears of War at your friends house. Now who has the power? Jimmy’s friend Jamison Theodorus Huffmire III, because his parents can afford to shell out a cool G for the newest and most up-to-date gaming system out there.
The blood of the innocents has already been shed, and much much more will come before the end. I bring back your attention those three kids who were robbed outside a Walmart waiting to buy a PS3. Someone was even shot and killed over an X-Box 360 when it was just released. People are insane enough, let’s not give them another reason to spread hate. I spoke of consequences. Here they are: hatred, greed, violence, inevitable civil war between a fractured class structure oppressively designed and tailored to the needs of the already upper-handed minority. Soon video game systems will be a measure of class themselves and not just a mere indicator. Owning an X-Box 1080 will be the pre-drivers license equivalent to having a beamer or Bentley.
Wake up! For the love of God and His legions of cherubim! This needs to end now before riots break out and more people feel disenfranchised by the companies that used to show love. Depression will settle in soon, people won’t eat, they won’t sleep. They’ll pace in front of EB Game World and Best Buy longing for the newest games out there. People will let their kids go hungry so that they can afford game consoles and extra controllers. Pretty soon the apocalypse will hit, the Mighty Arm of the Lord will come down with a vengeance against all mankind, haves and have-nots alike. He will smite mankind so that no woman will be able to bear children and the human race will spend its final years watching our number decrease one pitiful corpse at a time. Whole countries will become vast wastelands and where people remain there will be nothing but warzones and refugee camps. Brother will turn against brother in seeking the answers to why Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony caused this. Conspiracy theories will pop in numbers greater than the stars in the sky. A mysterious quiet will fall on the Earth, and then the Dark Lord will rise. He will rule all video game companies and charge egregious prices so that only the most fantastically wealthy will be able to afford them. He will keep the masses down by extorting the wealthy and threatening the poor. Man will lay with beast and mothers will eat their own children. Rosie O’Donnell’s career will be revived and the Battlefield Earth will win an Oscar.
You alone have the power to stop it. You can save us. You don’t realize it? You’ve been with us all along. We were there when you hid from the bullies in the bookshop, we were there when you took the book with the snake talisman, and when you shut yourself in your room to read this website. All you have to do is give me a name and the unbearable plight of mankind can be avoided. Join the our mission, our divine charge! Join our chorus:
Do you hear the people sing?
Singing the song of angry men?
It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again.
When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums,
There is a life about to start when tomorrow comes!
Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me?
Beyond the barricade, is there a world you long to see?
Then join in the fight that will give you the right to be free!
Seriously though, $70 a game is outrageous. We should really do something.
[Image from Science News for Kids]
*[Edit. Note: Actual dollars = Zero.]