Gamers are an interesting lot. What I find even more interesting than that - is how each different genre of game tends to attract different gamers. Why is this interesting? I'll say later. Note that I am being purposefully narrow.
First, we have the FPS gamer. This is the kind that plays Half-Life, Bioshock, Crysis, Unreal Tournament, Quake 3, Counter-Strike and has loads of fun doing that. They love shooting things with their mice/controller. (Note that I ignored console games for the most part because, let's face it - if you're a hardcore FPS gamer, you'd claim mouse and keyboard rule. Unless, of course, you're a hardcore console FPS gamer, then you'd just claim that you have more people to play against and win the argument. :D)
Then, we have the RTS gamer. This is the gamer that plays C&C3, Dawn of War, Warcraft 3 (dota doesn't count btw) and StarCraft (and is planning to threaten Blizzard Entertainment to hasten the release of StarCraft II). This is the one that wouldn't give up their mouse and keyboard for any other game.
And then, we have the action/adventure gamer. This is the one that spends hours with the controller on games like Devil May Cry, Onimusha, Dynasty Warriors, Uncharted, God of War or something else. This is a very broad category - and often people who like one type will not like the other.
After that, we have the RPG gamer. Doesn't matter who you are, you are the kind that enjoys a good story together with good gameplay and a nice deep system of equipment, items, spells and other things that make your character cool. You do things repetitively that would make other gamers cringe (although you don't like it quite as much as to pay to play it every month).
Then, we have the MMORPG gamer - the one who spends most of their gaming life (and occasionally, real life) doing the same thing every day! This is the one who can spend hours (days, or even months sometimes) doing the same thing repeatedly! If they care for storyline, they're willing to go months without it - and probably care more about the quest/task that comes with the storyline!
Last, but not least, we have the casual gamer. In a sense, I'm making this the miscellaneous category - people in this category are those that play the Sims, Sim City, Freecell (ha ha), Wii party games, rhythm/music games. This can range to the absolute hardcore (playing every chance you get) to the very casual (playing every once in a while). Sports games also go into this category. Why? Because chances are you only buy a new iteration (of what is likely the same game from the same company) every once in a while.
OK - so first of all, chances are you don't fit into any one category. If you happen to do fit in one and only one category, you're probably spending too much on your gaming console/computer (unless you haven't bought a computer/gaming console in the past three years).
If you recall, not too long ago (about a month ago), I posted this: Cost: Console Gaming vs. PC Gaming: A Simple Look
There was one assumption I made that I didn't talk about - I assumed the gamer played a huge variety of games, like me. If you fit into just one of those categories - then chances are you only spent money on two or three games last year. If you fit into two of those categories - then chances are you spent money on four or five games last year. Chances are, if you are an avid gamer, you fit into three categories - which probably translates to you buying about six to seven games last year.
That means that my assumption of buying ten games a year is too high, isn't it? Well, that's the kind of gamer I am. While the categories I listed are by no means exhaustive, I fit into most of them. Let's look at what games I acquired (some of which have made their way into the second hand market or will soon follow suit) in 2007:
1. Wii Sports (came with Nintendo Wii) 2. Super Paper Mario 3. Halo 3 4. Gears of War 5. Guitar Hero III 6. Wii Play (came with Wii Remote bundle for 10 bucks) 7. Stepmania (FREE!) 8. Bioshock 9. Eternal Sonata 10. Assassin's Creed 11. Folklore 12. Resistance: Fall of Man 13. Motorstorm 14. Unreal Tournament III
That's 14 games - not even counting what I borrowed. Among the games I've played (but not bought):
15. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess 16. Warioware: Smooth Moves 17. Mass Effect 18. Call of Duty 4 19. Company of Heroes: Opposing Forces 20. Virtua Fighter 5 21. The Orange Box 22. Ninety-Nine Nights 23. Forza Motorsport 2 24. Super Mario Galaxy 25. Metroid Prime 3 26. Rayman Raving Rabbids 27. Trauma Center: Second Opinion 28. Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars 29. Supreme Commander 30. Crysis
I cannot claim to know how many games a normal gamer plays - but that was an partial list of my play list (the actual list is about 20 games longer) last year alone. I've finished ten of the thirty listed here. (Majority of those being games I actually purchased (seven actually) - the games I've ignored in the count are those that you can't finish - how can you claim to have finished Unreal Tournament 3?)
Is the list unreasonable? I hardly think so - I'm a student with time to spare - and note that I finished only 10 games. In truth, those ten games would've been the only ones I would've bought.
I value variety highly - while it looks like the list is skewed towards FPS gaming - if you had a chart showing gaming time per game - you'll see that FPS games are hardly my favourite. Most FPS games are notoriously short (ignoring Bioshock) and often offer little replay value. In fact, I spent the most time playing Guitar Hero and Stepmania. Just looking at the scratches on my fret buttons, the fact that I've made damaged one DDR pad (enough to be unusable regularly), and already have a tear in my current DDR pad is proof enough that I've been doing a lot of rhythm gaming.
Action/adventure gaming has seen quite the drought, but with Dynasty Warriors 6, Devil May Cry 4 and Metal Gear Solid 4 out this year to tide us over, hopefully the drought will be over by next year. RTS gamers are probably all waiting eagerly for StarCraft II (we all want a winter 2008 release I guess, but seeing Blizzard flip flop between which units are in and out is making me cringe), but we will have no shortage of those this year, with Soulstorm, C&C3 Kane's Wrath and maybe even Red Alert 3 to fill the gap.
Rock Band is still due to be out in PAL regions - I'm patiently awaiting the PAL version to avoid complications with DLC purchases and practising my virtual drumming with Frets on Fire currently so that I'll be able to jump to Medium the moment Rock Band is out in stores.
Racing games are rare to begin with, and it looks like the way to GT5 is a long road - so something more casual and luck based like Mario Kart Wii will have to do. :D
Since I'm in the plays-everything-he-has-time-for category, let's think about what I'm going to play this year:
1. Rock Band (EA/MTV Games/Harmonix knows they are making us wait - for a release date. I'm not even talking about the game, I'm completely willing to wait until November, to be honest - although a wait that long - they should bloody hell give us 10 free songs to pick off the DLC - after all by then the DLC list would be enormous, not to mention unwieldy) 2. Devil May Cry 4 (already played already completed, mentioned it just to be correct to calendar year) 3. C&C3 Kane's Wrath (already released - whether I'll borrow, beg or steal is another story) 4. DoW: Soulstorm (already borrowed from friend - playing it now!) 5. Metal Gear Solid 4 (I've always been a fan, although I've never actually played any of the four games much) 6. Disgaea 3 7. GTA IV (probably the most anticipated game that's coming soon for the two powerhouse consoles)