November 26, 2022

You kids have it better than any kids in history, and you just can’t seem to be happy.

In the Dad Weighs In column, I step in with some tough love and life lessons about video games in case your dad hasn’t.

Starfield has been delayed something like six months so far. I’m really sorry to hear it. Seriously, I am. Now let’s move on.

First of all, you know there’s virtually no gameplay footage of this game at all, right? Just what exactly are you missing out on? This is how I know you’re going to be upset again on release day: you’re already living in a fantasy universe about your fantasy universe.

Todd Howard says Starfield is “Skyrim in space,” but didn’t elaborate on how that’s different from Mass Effect or any of 50 other goddamn space games you could be playing right now. The good news is Skyrim is available on Game Pass, Switch, and smart fridges everywhere. Pretend each city is on a different planet. You’re welcome.

Please stop watching trailers and announcements if you’re going to get this far out of your own control. The delay is less than six months at the moment. That’s five months and 25 days longer than you’re going to play it. Did you really 100% No Man’s Sky and all the other games just like this? You’ve got half a year longer to get caught up.

My mom used to ask if I’d maxed out my NES games before she’d consider paying for another one, and it really used to piss me off too. But she was right. Focus on a game longer than a week and a half. Learn about them and learn from them. See everything and meet all the challenges the designers laid out for you. Just don’t act like a badass afterward–you’re barely keeping up with what the rest of the world is learning outside.

By the way: In my case, this only made me good at making excuses and lying to my mom, but now we have public achievement lists, so don’t try to BS me.

Do you think Phil Spencer gives a shit that anyone’s upset right now? Do you think Microsoft cares if you don’t think he’s doing a good job? There’s no reason for you to know who Phil Spencer is. No one should. Phil Spencer isn’t getting fired because this put you in a bad mood. One day you’re going to put someone in a bad mood and, if we stay ahead of shit like this, that won’t get you fired either. You can’t be convinced you know triple-A development better than Xbox and Bethesda combined and be surprised they didn’t release a perfect game right on schedule at the same time.

If video games were as disappointing as half of Twitter is saying, there would be no reason to play them. You’d be even more upset if the game launched with a bunch of bugs. At some point, you just have to dust yourself off and keep moving.

Maybe you’d like to pull out the IDE of your choice, try to make a space game of your own with any features you want (recruit as much help as you like), and see how you stack up when Starfield is finally ready to go. You won’t achieve anything, but maybe you’ll better understand the situation.

While I have you here, let’s talk about online behavior.

Learn how to move past the feeling you get when you say something shitty on the internet and 15 of your angry little friends click a heart about it. If you want to end up like the guy who buys himself a new Star Citizen ship every time he’s down in the dumps (probably always) or the YouTube guy who shot the gun in front of the other YouTube guy, you’re well on your way.

Do you think anyone goes from professional rage monster to anything other than old professional rage monster? Let me save you some time: the ones who did okay are the ones who eventually cut the bullshit.

Here are some tips to avoid getting so wrapped up in this shit:

  1. When you get excited about a game that’s not out yet, learn to forget about it.
  2. When there’s an open beta–or, God forbid, an alpha–don’t play it. It exists in an alternate dimension that has no relationship with this one at all. If you ignore this rule and play it anyway, see Rule 1 and try to forget it happened.
  3. Don’t join these little hype communities where everyone is as clueless and pissed off as everyone else. This is exactly what the publisher wants, except they have no goddamn idea what to do with all of you when this happens. Stop playing into it.
  4. If a game gets delayed, forget about it. A video game doesn’t exist until the moment it’s in your hands and playable. You’re not a more legit gamer because you experienced a bunch of early bugs, especially if you can’t handle the experience. Make them prove themselves for your $60. This will usually take place well after release.
  5. Stop airing your grievances about this shit online. No one, and I mean no one, wants to hear it.

If you find yourself with nothing to do at the keyboard or the controller, go drum up some other action in life. Keep working on that until you don’t give a shit one way or the other whether Starfield ever comes out at all. That’s how you maintain power with publishers, and it’s the only way.

Now clean up in here before your mother sees this mess.

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