Sunday, August 25, 2019

Pinball and World of Warcraft

I'm still in the Peg for the weekend so my gaming has been mostly limited to World of Warcraft's mission table on my laptop and Puzzle Quest on my 3DS.

But I want to talk about Ikea. A three hour, linear gauntlet filled with an unimaginable amount of mobs and I ended up getting none of the loot that I wanted. I'm stiff, grumpy, and I just want meatballs. So basically this trip is training for Blackrock Depths.


We ate dinner in an area here called the Forks. It's a common feature for cities here in North America (and maybe elsewhere) where they take a former warehouse or factory and turn into a common area with food stalls and some shopping. The Forks is home to probably 20-25 pinball machines and a few arcade machines. They had a Neo Geo MVS that even my wife commented on. But I really found no desire to go in there and play a couple of games.

First I actually have to go make some change. I use my travel card for everything so I've never handled Canadian currency and I rarely keep American money on me either. Then I have to find an open machine as they were pretty crowded (which is awesome in general though). Then, when I eventually die/lost my ball/get bodied by a teenage I have to pony up my money again. Compare that to just pulling my 3DS out of my pocket and opening the lid and playing however long I feel like.

WOW Classic will have a certain amount of friction as well. But that's friction that I'm mentally prepared for. It's friction that I welcome, or at least understand is a tradeoff for a social and gameplay experience that I want.

If I was ten years older and grew up next to an arcade, instead of the MMO explosion of the mid-2000s I would probably feel a bit differently. That made me wonder if WOW Classic really had to narrow in a certain type of player, from a certain type of demographic, looking for a specific type of gametype at this specific point of their life.

But the pinball room wasn't filled with bearded guys in their 40s. Everyone I saw in there was 10 years younger than me or more. The games were obviously a draw but they were all obviously having fun together as well. It was obviously a social situation. With attention concentrating affect that streamers and social media can provide, plus a very soft video game release schedule this month, I think WOW Classic might just become the social hub for another generation. I know these things are fickle. Maybe WOW Classic will last up until Christmas video game releases begin appearing and that will be that.

It's interesting to see how niches can be found, lost, and found again by different demographics. Hopefully WOW Classic ends up positively.

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