Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Now are undeniably great. Whether one is greater than the other largely comes down to which of the two consoles you might own, where ancient allegiances may lie, and being entirely blinkered to the other’s also impressive offering. The reality of course is that Game Pass is better. Also undeniable. I’ll be taking no questions at this time.
Every month we get game drops. Hundreds of cash, cha-ching pounds and dollars of entertainment that developers big and small have sweated blood over for months and years in the chasing of a dream. And, by and large, without fail, the general reaction to every game drop that isn’t just a list of over-hyped and frequently under-performing triple-A titles, is a big ‘fuck you’ to Microsoft and Sony from disgruntled, demanding gamers. This largely happens on Twitter. As expected.
Outraged gamers venting that MS or Sony believe they would lower themselves to play anything less than a bunch of multi-million dollar, all-singing, occasionally dancing big guns of a game for their, approximately, ten quid a month. When did gamers get so demanding?
It isn’t the entirety of players, I must add. It is refreshing to see some positivity when smaller games are packaged in. It’s just that sadly, the moaners are louder and more prevalent on the social media cesspit.
Quit Moaning Moaners
However, let us move on from the whingers and embrace the true beauty of the Game Pass and PS Now services – the little guy games. Not games about short people, although, as a short person I would be all-in for some representation beyond Grounded, rather, the games that insult the sort of triple-A demanding brats mentioned above.
These games are the magic of the services. These are the purest slice of bygone gaming eras. They represent the dreams and aspirations of people who have taken their love of games and tried to build something more. They are unburdened and frequently push boundaries in storytelling and gameplay ideas. And, on a service that allows players to experience them as part of a wider package, they are finally getting the love so many of them deserve.
As a gaming romantic, I see them as echoes of the past in terms of creation. Small teams working around the clock to get their own game out there. Like the two John’s, Romero and Carmack, of id Software and DOOM fame – among many others – these modern-day creators are made from a similar mould. Sure, the days of making an impact the size of DOOM has long gone, lost under the rapid evolution of technology, but the drives remain the same and the passion undiluted.
What Game Pass and PS Now offer is the chance that their games will get in front of players who in the past may have been saving that cash for the next slice of triple-A mediocrity. The gamble of dropping money on a title such as Carrion, Spiritfarer or Knights and Bikes is now gone. The games can be played as part of the package and the realisation that within these smaller titles lives genuine, lovingly created moments of utter joy can surface. The sort of joy something like a new Call of Duty or FIFA simply cannot deliver.
For our monthly investment, we as gamers are going to bat for more than just the big guns. We are giving the indie games a better shot at a bullseye audience in a place where word of mouth can quickly see a small game become a goddamned triple-A stomping Goliath!
I’ve mentioned triple-A a lot. Just did it again too. I am not anti-big-budget games. I love plenty of them. I just know that thanks to the services of Game Pass and PS Now I have relished many smaller nuggets of gaming genius that might have otherwise passed me by. I have been high on the sort of unhinged genius that would inhabit many of my ZX Spectrum games. Witnessed games without the shackles that the fear of losing money – big money – clamps on.
Basically, I guess what I am saying is that the next time a drop of games is announced, don’t be the dick slating the little guys simply because they are the little guys. Play the games. Appreciate them. Remember fun. Then celebrate them.
Now, quit reading and enjoy the majesty of the theme song to Knights on Bikes. See, told you there was magic in them there little guys.