The Question Mark – RANK’EM – E3 2015

So E3 2015 is in the books and I think everyone collectively agrees that it was a solid show. You had a little bit of sequels, a dash of remakes, and some significant new intellectual properties. Add in a smidge of surprises and you have a yummy cocktail of gaming goodness. Instead of exploring a topic as I do each week in the Question Mark, I am going to use this pulpit to highlight what most appealed to me from this year’s E3 announcements. Bear in mind that I was not there, did not try anything and am judging everything from the press conferences and online coverage (of which there was a lot!). Also, I would highlight that I made my choices based on my excitement level for each game as compared to how I felt before the conference, which cut out games like Batman: Arkham Knight which I am already very jazzed for and E3 didn’t really add anything new.

So finally, without further ado, here are my click-bait friendly faves from the conference:

Honourable Mention: My youth. Final Fantasy VII, Shenmue and the original Gears of War are some of my all-time favourite videogames and I am happy to see them get revitalized or relaunched. I do firmly believe that these games succeeded partially due to when they released and I am unconvinced that they will be big hits now, or even games that I spend a significant amount of time on. That being said, it was cool to see them being recognized, particularly by Sony.

Hey! Ryo! Hey! Somehow I doubt your adventures will stand the test of time.
Hey! Ryo! Hey! Somehow I doubt your adventures will stand the test of time.

10. For Honor: This new IP from Ubisoft looks promising, although it may end up being a glorified tech demo in the vein of the first Assassin’s Creed. I did enjoy the first AC and I enjoy what I like to call “thumb candy”, that slick feeling of being in control. It looks like For Honor may offer that feeling through a new and innovative control system.

9. Dreams: Again, this is theoretically amazing stuff. The fact that Sony launched their conference with a Japanese emotional adventure game, a procedurally generated universe, and then Dreams, a creative dreamscape sandbox, shows how far games have come. I prefer to play and not necessarily create. I haven’t touched Minecraft or Little Big Planet. I am excited to know that this game exists though and I am aware of the possibilities. Hopefully somebody makes something super cool in it.

So. Much. Cuteness. Completely unlike any of my dreams.
So. Much. Cuteness. Completely unlike any of my dreams.

8. Uncharted 4: I made my wife watch the exciting car ride video that closed Sony’s E3 conference and she said what I am sure a lot of people are thinking “Ehhh, it just looks like more Uncharted” to which I would say: EXACTLY. Enough time has passed since the last game for me to get sufficiently excited although it is very possible that they have gone to the same well too many times. Hopefully, this is actually the last Uncharted and Naughty Dog goes and lends its considerable talents to a new game.

Oh Drake, you are so dreamy. I will miss you when you hopefully never come back.
Oh Drake, you are so dreamy. I will miss you when you hopefully never come back.

7. Fallout 4: Announced prior to the show, I am excited for this game despite the fact that I doubt it can surpass what CD Projeckt Red has done with the Witcher. The more of these giant games, the better!

6. Super Mario Maker: The only Nintendo presence on this list, I feel like this could be a tool/game that is used for years and outlives the system that it is launching on. It reminds me of Mario Paint for Super Nintendo in a way. Like Dreams, this is more of a creation toolkit but unlike Dreams, it is one that I could see myself using. If the rest of Nintendo’s Wii U content wasn’t so barebones, I might have considered picking one up.

Super Mario Maker: Teaching budding level designers how to troll their friends since 2015
Super Mario Maker: Teaching budding level designers how to troll their friends since 2015

5. Horizon: Zero Dawn: Okay, let’s get this out of the way immediately: what a dumbass title. I get that every new IP is launched with eyes to future expansion but can we please just save the subtitles for sequels? What was wrong with “Horizon”? Also, Zero Dawn sounds stupid and repetitive. Why not call it Zero Dawn: The New Beginning, Part 1? Ridiculous. Anyway, rant over. The game looks awesome and I like the sci-fi meets cavemen concept. This is the type of original concept work that generally puts video games ahead of movies. I also like the female protagonist and the gameplay. Nothing ground breaking but everything looks solid and enjoyable.

4. Sea of Thieves: Rare was another big player in my teen years with its Nintendo 64 catalogue one of the most impressive for any individual publisher in a console’s lifespan. Sea of Thieves has all the charm of a Rare classic. I also love Monkey Island and comedic pirate games and I can see this filling that void. My concerns stem mostly from the MMO aspects as I generally prefer single-player experiences. Knowing my luck, I will end up being one of the deckhands pulling the ropes. Sounds glamorous.

3. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided: I am a fanboy for this series and have played and finished every single one. I had some trepidation with Mankind Divided as I felt that it might be an overreach for Eidos Montreal (particularly after Thief) or that it would negate the choices that concluded Human Revolution. While I still have some of those concerns, my fanboyism and the stylish trailers are winning me over.

Yes, I know we used this photo for a previous EXM but what can I say? We love us some Deus Ex!
Yes, I know we used this photo for a previous EXM but what can I say? We love us some Deus Ex!

2. No Man’s Sky / Star Citizen: I am lumping these two games together due to the similar theme of space exploration. Star Citizen didn’t get much of a showing and may still be a long way off. No Man’s Sky performed much better and is staggering in its scope. The procedural generation technology is very impressive but I am left to wonder how repetitive the game may end up being. It seems rather wide open but will there be a story or campaign? I could see myself enjoying it for a few evenings and then growing bored. Hopefully that isn’t the case. The concept is extremely exciting.

Look at all the purty colours. If you look closely, you can see that all the plants are poisonous.
Look at all the purty colours. If you look closely, you can see that all the plants are poisonous.

1. VR + Hololens: Look, by and large these conferences are about one thing: selling you the future. You must believe in the potential for new experiences and new technologies that will deliver something beyond what you are playing right now. My age and experience has made me less interested in sequels and remakes – I want new shit. In particular, I want something that will blow my mind. I think virtual reality gaming will be that thing and the highlight of the show for me was seeing giant companies like Microsoft (through Oculus, Valve, and its Hololens) and Sony (through its own Morpheus) jump on board the bandwagon. This could be a fad, like motion controls, or it could be the future. Either way, I am excited to find out.

The Question Mark – Manual Transmission

Buying a new doohicky is one of those things that tends to elicit varying degrees of endorphins depending on the person. In general, everyone gets a little rush when they make a large purchase. That rush is amplified if the purchase is non-essential, perhaps part of your hobby: the camper buying a new tent; the reader buying a new book; the driver, a new car; the stamp collector, a new…. book for stamps? Videogames are no exception.

This is super exciting for somebody.
This is super exciting for somebody.

Nothing feels better than knowing you have a new game in your hands as you exit the store. It is full of unlimited possibilities. You have yet to learn the rules, the possibilities or limitations. It is a blank slate, despite all you may know about it from previews you have read or videos you have seen. It is the rush of making a significant purchase mixed with the excitement of anticipation. As you pull off the shrink wrap surrounding a game, it feels like an ice cream Sunday, ready to be devoured. And the cherry on top? Well that my friends, is the game manual. Or, at least it used to be. Apparently there is a growing cherry shortage here in North America.

A Thing of Beauty

A well-designed game manual is not an easy thing to pull off. In the era of digital distribution, a manual is superfluous. We are in the age of “on-disc” digital manuals, as if someone would start a new videogame, watch the opening cinematic and then choose to open a fancied-up .PDF file. Manuals now feel like a company looking to check a box and meet a requirement instead of trying to contribute to the overall experience. With well-designed tutorials, the manual seems like an increasingly outdated way of explaining a game’s mechanics. But it wasn’t always like this.

Look at all that swag! This is how things used to work. That Baldurs Gate manual could double as a paperweight.
Look at all that swag! This is how things used to work. That Baldur’s Gate manual could double as a paperweight.

Nintendo always recognized the importance of a good manual. In the 8-bit (and even 16-bit) era it was difficult to properly represent something with in-game graphics. I remember looking at the character drawings in a Final Fantasy IV manual and just having my brain blown at how cool everything looked. People still make fun of the original Mega Man box art. It was an awful attempt at replicating a pixelated game in live-action.

Check out those state of the art high-resolution graphics!
Check out those state of the art high-resolution graphics! Somebody took the time to up-res this image. Good for them.

Box art had always been important for that but nothing fleshed out a virtual world like a manual. I remember sitting in the back seat of my parent’s car coming back from Toys R Us with Link’s Awakening for the Game Boy. It was a monochrome game on a portal system barely capable of NES graphics yet the manual just popped it full of life. It told a bit of the backstory of the island on which you would play the game and included coloured pictures showing all of Link’s actions and items. By the time I sat down at home ready to play, I was totally pumped for a great adventure.

Limitless potential in your hands!
A world to explore! Limitless potential in your hands!

Sierra adventure games on PC always had amazing manuals, often weaved into the lore of the game world. As I mentioned on the Exclamation Mark, my personal favourite was the Famous Adventurer’s Correspondence School manuals for each Hero’s Quest (Quest for Glory) game. They included write-ups on whatever world the game took place in, snazzy drawings and even a bestiary. The Sierra manuals built up the lore and history of the world, adding to the overall experience.

These things were the shit if you pardon my French.
These things were the shit if you pardon my French.

The second Quest for Glory game even included a map of the maze-like city of Shapeir. This was my first taste of videogame maps and also an early taste of in-game copyright as the city was borderline impenetrable without that map.

CD-R: Copyright Done Right?

Waaaaaay back, when I started into the world of PC games, piracy was already a problem. It was a simple process to copy the contents of one disk onto another. Blank disks were available at any computer supply store. Games were traded at my school like baseball or hockey cards (to be fair, I went to nerdy schools and had nerdy friends). Looking to curb all this illegal distribution from the under-10 set, game companies began including tests to determine if you actually owned the game. This was before games were cracked and before the Internet. How could game companies confirm you own the game and not penalize the rightful owner? Well, what if you needed information from the game box to unlock the game? This is still prevalent today in the form of CD-keys but, back in the 80s and 90s was done through the one piece of content in the box: the game manual.

As I said, I was really into Sierra adventure games: King’s Quest, Police Quest, Hero’s Quest, I couldn’t get enough. I even talked my folks into letting me play Leisure Suit Larry! Sierra was feeling the burn of piracy, and – not being a particularly large company – began testing copyright in the same way they tested your age before playing Larry, through a series of prompted questions prior to the game starting. The company’s first sequels, games like Police Quest 2 and Larry 2, asked the user to identify characters that they would only know from pictures in the game manual.

Oh come on Sierra! Larry doesnt even know that many women!
Oh come on Sierra! Larry doesn’t even know that many women! At least follow canon.

Continuously proving that you actually paid for the game began pissing off users and Sierra began to try to be sneakier with its copy protection. Games like Laura Bow and the Dagger of Amon Ra and Conquests of Camelot began including puzzles that relied on knowledge of the game’s lore – information that was only included inside of the manual. There was often no in-game notification given to players to suggest where the information needed to pass the puzzles lay. Even legitimate game owner might not think to check the manual. It started frustrating everyone.

Glass Half-Full

Building a game world is hard though. Game developers can only reach players through sight and sound and graphics are only now getting anywhere close to photorealistic. Manuals and maps provide a window into a greater world, a window that can be touched. Beau talked about a cloth map he received with an Ultima game. Before even starting the game, the player got a sense of time and place – they would be stepping into a world of scale and one that still used cloth in this way. Compared to the actual limited graphics of the game you were about to play, it was a powerful tool. But is it one that is still needed? We download our games digitally more than ever before. As gamers age and have more money, there is now a market for collector’s editions and nerdy swag. Why give away things for free? This has been devolving for a long time. First many companies stopped using coloured inks and provided a minimalist manual in black and white, then some started forsaking manuals altogether, and now it is less likely than not to find one tucked in the cover. Digital versions remain the same price as the on-disc versions and I feel that if retailers want to compete, they are going to need to insist on developers including some choice swag. Something has got to give.

Attention developers: this is how you do it. Thank you CD Projeckt Red.
Attention developers: this is how you do it. Thank you CD Projeckt Red.

I miss manuals and still very much value maps. My recent unboxing of the Witcher 3 included a thank you note from the developer (!), a manual, a CD with the soundtrack, a lore compendium, and a detailed colour map. Did I pay more for all this? No, it was something that the developer CD Projeckt Red still values. Before even starting the Witcher 3, I was already excited. This is becoming a lost art, one that I hope craftspeople like CD Projeckt Red and Rockstar Games manage to keep alive in a world that increasingly values the bottom line above all else.

The Question Mark – JRPGS: The Videogame Teenager

Okay, tell me if you have heard this one before: once upon a time, in a fantasy or perhaps sci-fi land, far, far away a teenager with very loose control over his hair gel bottle has been tasked with saving the world. It turns out that he is the chosen one and must rally his friends together to fight an evil enemy. The friends include a loud and brash fighter-type, a quiet ingénue woman that the hero secretly pines after, the hero’s female childhood friend who is clearly romantically interested in him, and an odd creature character with magical special abilities. After exploring the world and facing much adversity, the ragtag bunch of young heroes defeat their enemy, only to discover that another even bigger enemy was behind the nefarious deeds all along. Any of this sound familiar? If so, then congratulations: you have definitely played a Japanese role-playing game!

"C'mon Mr. Drippy, let's go express our opinion in a pointed blog post!"
“C’mon Mr. Drippy, let’s go express our opinion in a pointed blog post!”

Japanese role-playing games – or JRPGs – occupy an interesting space in videogaming as no other genre that I can think of has the nationality of the country so attached to it. The Witcher isn’t called a Polish RPG, despite being made in Poland. It is just called a role-playing game with the adjective “western” only occasionally added to differentiate it from the distinctive kookiness of the Japanese variety. Now, it already sounds like I am coming down on JRPGs and I don’t mean to because I honestly like them and there are few genres of any entertainment that elicits more nostalgia from me than a good ol’fashioned JRPG. Let’s take a look back, shall we?

In the beginning, there was only Fantasy and it was Final

In every generation, computer gaming enthusiasts continuously tout the complexity and maturity of the games that are exclusive to the PC as a platform. I would argue that there was no bigger truth to that than in the 8-bit and 16-bit generations where limited technology, marketing, and staunch kid-friendly corporate value systems limited the breadth of console gaming. Even Sega, which loudly proclaimed that it did “what Nintendont”, offered similarly basic experiences although often loaded with additional blood and ‘tude.

You had me at Spider-Man!
You had me at Spider-Man but then you throw in MJ? I love you Genesis!

There is nothing wrong with a basic experience per se – Pong is basic, Super Mario Bros. is basic, as is almost everything that requires a two button controller. For every Zelda or Metroid, there was probably one hundred Excitebikes or Track and Fields, fun games for sure but nothing that will have you gripped to your controller at all hours of the morning. From Star Control 2 to X-COM: UFO Defense, Dune 2, the adventure catalogues of Sierra and Lucasarts, the Ultimas or Wing Commanders – PC was the place to be for older gamers seeking a deep multi-hour experience.

Kids are pretty smart though and they wanted Zelda-sized experiences out of their games. Enter the JRPG: the equivalent of a gaming gateway drug. One of the first, and most notable, remains Final Fantasy.

It is now pretty widely known that the name “Final Fantasy” stems from the fact that it was Squaresoft’s last attempt at making a game before they were to go out of business. They threw everything into the game, including the kitchen sink, and a large yellow bird that you could ride around on.  It had story, personality, complexity, and it was a huge success (despite the fact that you had to buy the healing potions one at a time – I am still annoyed about that).

Growing Pains

My mom didn’t want us to have a Nintendo when we were kids. She saw the zapper and thought that it would conditioned her boys to join the military (in her defense, the zapper really does look like a gun – I would like to see Nintendo release something like that today).

Nintendo zapper: Fun toy or insidious military training tool?
Nintendo zapper: Fun toy or insidious military training tool?

One day, I had to have a tooth pulled and – to reward me for being tough son of a gun – she borrowed an NES from a friend along with a couple of games, including the original Dragon Warrior (also called Dragon Quest, it’s complicated, don’t ask). From fighting my first slime to getting my first phat piece of l00t, I was hooked. I played Dragon Warrior more than all the other games combined and didn’t even come close to finishing it before, to my dismay, I had to return the system.

Ignore his cuteness - this sucker means business.
Ignore his cuteness – this sucker means business – and yes Beau, this is the best resolution I could find.

The same pattern repeated itself when I got my wisdom teeth yanked, except this time it was a Super Nintendo and I finished the game. This time it was the story-heavy adventure of Cecil, the Dark Knight and his friends in Final Fantasy II (or IV depending on how you count – it’s complicated, don’t ask). As a young teenager at the time, the emotions presented in that game – betrayal, friendship, love, loss – while perhaps rudimentary by our Last of Us modern standards, captured me and whisked me away. Whereas many of the PC RPGs I played had me inhabiting nameless avatars, Final Fantasy II made me a part of a team of friends, one that bonded together as the adventure took them to the moon and back. And the music! Oh that music! Final Fantasy III followed (or VI, it’s complicated, don’t ask) and upped the stakes further, allowing you to control an epically large cast of characters as they worked to take down an evil empire. Games like Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger and Breath of Fire helped round out the SNES, each epic in scope with soaring musical scores and intense emotion.

These guys are my homies.
These guys are my homies – even that backstabber Kain.

The JRPG reached its nadir with Final Fantasy VII on the original Playstation. Sony pulled off a coup, luring Square away from Nintendo and putting a large marketing campaign behind the first PSX-exclusive FF game. I remember seeing actual television ads! People at my school legitimately asked if I had ever heard of “Final Fantasy” as if it had never existed before. It was completely crazy and while not the sole reason the Playstation beat the Nintendo 64, at least a significant one. Final Fantasy VII came on something like a hundred CDs with video and everything. It was big-time and – twenty year spoiler alert – included the death of a major character. Multiple other JRPGs, including two other Final Fantasys, were released for the Playstation and if you ever look at a “Best of” list of its games, you will see a lot of Japanese content. Some of the games, like Suikoden and Final Fantasy Tactics tried to broaden the narrative scope to encompass entire wars (don’t worry, they were still resolved by teenagers). However, with Halo, Grand Theft Auto, God of War and the Xbox on the horizon, console gaming was about to become increasingly adult.

Not only is this not a girl but that sword is also super practical. Crazy, I know!
Not only is this not a girl but that sword is also super practical. Crazy, I know!

The End of an Era?

Now time has gone on, gamers have aged and consoles have become increasingly similar to computers. Some of the most complex and mature gameplay experiences now exist solely on console. Time has seemingly not been kind to the JRPG which has almost remained stagnant, evolving little since the days of Cecil and his Red Wings. The narrative tropes are visible, young teens saving the world with their friends, the game mechanics recycled (random battles anyone?), all catering to the same young audience that is now spoiled for choice. The days of a JRPG making or breaking a game console are long past and many of the franchises have dried up in popularity in the West.

As I have mentioned on EXM recently, I am currently playing Xenogears, which many are saying was the last truly great JRPG. I am enjoying it, if partially in a nostalgic way, but at this point I feel like I can see a lot of the seams. I truly hope that the story of Shulk and his friends is resonating with young teens in the same way that Cecil’s Red Wings won me over. The emotion these games possess are powerful and the values they share important but, as sure as one day we have to grow up and become adults, so too does it seem that we are all fated to leave what we all used to view as the most narratively complex videogames behind.

Is there a JRPG that meant a lot to you? Is there still room for them in this modern world or are they teenaged relics of a previous generation? Tweet at @exmpodcast or @croftonsteers and let me know!

The Question Mark – Generation Game

A First in Blogging History

Beau and I cover a lot of gaming ground on the Exclamation Mark podcast, often covering the gamut of multiple topics in any given episode. Every once and awhile, I want to expand on some of things we discuss – particularly with regards to what I am playing and what we discuss in the Dialogue Tree. To that end I have decided to venture into the sparsely populated world of videogame blogging. It is my understanding that this is the first videogame blog ever written in the history of the world. I could be wrong but probably not. This blog is definitely filling a hole in the market.

I hereby christen this the first ever post of the Question Mark!

The Greatest Gaming Generation

This week I wanted to discuss something I jokingly mentioned on an early EXM episode: the upcoming gaming generation gap – the first ever gaming generation gap actually. This might be long – whatever it is my first blog.

As a gamer in his mid-thirties, I don’t want to say I am the original or inaugural gaming generation but I am damn close. I read somewhere that Hugh Hefner was addicted to Pac-Man when it came out and there were enough people playing Atari that they figured they could have sold all those copies of E.T.: The Game that they buried in the New Mexico desert. Gaming happened before I was born but my generation was the one that really had immersive games in their living rooms and on their Nintendos, Commodore 64s, and PCs (sorry Sega Master System – nobody cares, call me when you become the Genesis). From Sierra’s Mixed-Up Mother Goose onwards, I was a gamer (a term I loathe because I think everyone is a gamer to some extent – I guess it is no worse than calling a movie lover a “cinephile” which sounds super dirty and about a step away from illegal activity).

OG in the house! Best get King Cole his pipe and represent!
Original Gamer in the house! Best get King Cole his pipe and represent!

I have been playing games for every console generation since, upgrading PCs, playing BBS games on a dial-up modem, collecting an assortment of handhelds from the Game Boy on, heck I even worked for Nintendo for a spell! Growing up, I often tried to engage my parents into playing videogames with me. Neither of them ever had much interest and clearly looked at the hobby as a “kid’s thing”, a phase that would pass, much like playing with Lego (hello Minecraft!) or reading comic books (hello Avengers: Age of Ultron!). Little could they suspect, games would ended up growing up with me, becoming increasingly mature and complex and appealing to a variety of audiences, including adults.

Now, I am a new parent. For the longest time I thought I would be a super “cool” parent when it came to videogames. I would be the guy that knows all about the latest games and could keep up with my kid and understand the appeal of all the latest fads, Pokémon, Skylanders or whatever. In my idealized world, my child and I would be coop gaming together as part of them growing up. When they became a teen, gaming would be the one thing that I could remain current on. While all my music would be “lame” and my taste in movies and books “square” (kids still say “square” right?), my knowledge and appreciation of games would be my one redeeming feature – the one bridge of the generation gap. In my mind, all was well. Gaming was always changing but it was never going to get away from me.

I may not like them, but at least I understand them.
I may not like them, but at least I understand them.

Then came the Playstation 4, a console with a button that encapsulates how far behind I have fallen: SHARE.

Livestreaming the Future

The Exclamation Mark streams each weekly podcast live on Twitch. If you are not familiar with Twitch, it is probably because you are over thirty. It is a livestreaming site where people watch other people play videogames. Sometimes they watch matches of competitive gaming, labelled esports, such as League of Legends or Counter-Strike. Sometimes they watch retro-gaming playthroughs of old NES or SNES game (Beau told me that there is at least one person streaming Super Metroid at any given time). Sometimes they watch recently released games – the latest hotness – to see what they look like. Sometimes they collectively engage in active participation, such was the case in Twitch Plays Pokémon. For the most part though, they watch instead of play. Some of them play a game while watching other people play a different game.

People watched a fish play Pokémon. A fish.
People watched a fish play Pokémon. A fish.

Increased bandwidth has led to the growth of Twitch and livestreaming which has enabled the growth of esports. After several failed attempts at launching a gamer television channel, esports finally found their home online. We are in a boom period with tremendous growth, both with regards to livestream and esports. Consoles had been lagging behind but both the PS4 and the Xbox One seem to have embraced streaming to such a large extent that it is now featured in their hardware, such as through the aforementioned “Share” button.

I don’t understand any of it. I don’t like any of it. It seems stupid to me, completely ridiculous. The banality of watching someone play a game when you could literally be playing a game yourself is tough for me, as someone who loves to play videogames, to wrap his mind around.

This is how I see streamers and esports players.
This is how I see streamers and esports players.

Some people – including my co-host Beau – would probably read that last line and spout off a ton of reasons why these things are worthwhile: they could compare esports to me watching NHL hockey on television instead of playing it myself or they could make allusions to competitive players improving their skills through watching videos of others online. They could even talk about people who may not have the money to buy a game, being able to at least experience some of the hype through watching it. I have heard many of these arguments and find them all flawed. Any way I look at it, watching gaming livestreams seem ridiculous and stupid. It is almost infuriating in how obnoxious and dumb I find it.

But you know what? It doesn’t matter what I think. Not. One. Iota.

Thousands if not MILLIONS of people watch livestreams, share videos over Twitch, YouTube or other services. Countless others compete or train to participate in esports. Competitions like Heroes of the Dorm or the International or whatever South Korea is doing in Starcraft, are flourishing. People are doing it, people are enjoying it, and, in many ways, it is part of our collective gaming future. The fact that someone hated rock and roll music or comic books or Star Wars didn’t stop these things from defining generations and growing in popularity. If anything bothers me, it is the “me not understanding” part.

This is what streamers and esports players actually are.
This is what streamers and esports players actually are like.

One day in the not so distant future, my kid is going to turn to me and say “Dad, did you see PewDiePie’s livestream of the finals of the Warcraft Annual Invitational?” and I will clench my teeth, press pause on my archaic console, turn around, force a smile and say: “No, please tell me more dear.”

If I am going to be the victim of a generation gap, I am at least going to be smiling.