Things were different back then. We were different. The past is a foreign country, and so on and so forth.
Hey, remember how loads of people hated on Stadia? And how loads of people hated on me for daring to say it actually worked - for me - which rather undermined their assertion back when it was announced earlier this year that it wouldn't, couldn't, possibly work for anyone?
Remember how those same people sought out those singing Stadia's praises, and then attacked them, accusing them of being paid by Google to say nice things about Stadia, and they even set up social media accounts to spread anti-Stadia sentiment?
You can't blame them; that's just a normal, rational thing to do. They went all red in the face, and steam came out of their ears, making a noise like a boiling kettle. That literally happened. It's quite, quite, normal.
These brave souls, these modern Luddites - doubtless inspired by Ned Ludd's anti-technology rebellion of 1811 to 1916, which saw armies of aggrieved workers destroying lacemaking machines and sending anonymous death threats to magistrates (and which famously cut short the Industrial Revolution before it even got underway, and that is now why we all toil in factories...) - should be seen for what they are; anti-progress heroes, whose sacrifice we should honour and remember forever.
Or maybe they just really hated looking like idiots, so have gone all-out to look like even bigger idiots, so they then stood a chance of winning The Biggest Idiot In The World Award, which is at least some sort of achievement, I suppose.
Fun times. Fun. Times...
It has been a few weeks, and I'm missing the hate, so I thought I'd check back with you all about how my Stadia experience has been going. Does it still work? Do I still, broadly, think this is the future of gaming?
Yes, is my answer to both questions. Probably more emphatically than I felt before. As I said some weeks ago... it just works. For me. That isn't an endorsement of Google's service per se, rather that I more strongly than ever believe that streaming. as a concept, has to be the way forward for gaming.
And part of the reason I believe that is because Stadia is kind of disappointing.
Wha... wha... whaaaaa?
Here's the thing; the first, and so far only, game I've completed on Stadia is Rage 2. After finishing it, I spent some time mopping up the remaining side-missions, but then I wanted to play something else.
I bought Red Dead Redemption 2, but - having already played through that once - I soon got bored. Then I bought Gylt - thus far, the only Stadia exclusive. It's a nice enough entry-level survival horror thing, but it's really a game for kids. And lastly I bought Trials Rising, because I'd not played it before, and it was relatively cheap. It's alright, but not really my thing.
The trouble is, all the other games on Stadia I have either played already on other systems (Assassin's Creed Odyssey, the Tomb Raiders, Wolfenstein Youngblood), or really aren't something I'd ever play (Farming Simulator 19). And, of course, there's Destiny 2, which I've spent some time on, but the tiresome grind gave me RSI in both finger and brain.
Since the service launched, I think there has only been one new game added to the line-up, and that's Darksiders: Genesis, a Diablo-esque action RPG. I considered buying it, but again... it isn't the sort of thing I signed up for. I want triple-A stuff, which makes full use of the sort of power a high-end PC can offer... without having to own a high-end PC.
And currently, Stadia is profoundly lacking in that area, unless you count games that many of us have already played to death.
It's a problem, because the convenience of streaming means that I want to binge. I want to pick and choose games, I want to dip into one, and then switch over to another. I want to browse the store from the main interface - not have to pick up my phone to do so.
And I don't want to have to pay full price for games that are over a year old.
To give Google a degree of credit, Stadia is limited by the fact that its launch was actually a soft launch, and it won't really get going until next year. Nonetheless - putting the whole streaming thing to one side for a minute - if this were a console launch it'd be hard to call it a success.
Big hardware brands are defined by their games, by the exclusives that become synonymous with the brand - but Stadia lacks a Breath of the Wild or Halo of its own. Consequently, it has no real identity beyond being That Streaming Thing Which Some People Hate. That's a major issue for its marketing.
Stadia needs to take advantage of the instant-access nature of its technology; it needs a library of games that are cheap - possibly even free to play, with a subscription. Ideally it needs a Steam-like selection of indie titles, quick, original, ideas that people can binge, going from one to another. It also needs to demonstrate its supposed processing power with original exclusives that really show off what it can do.
And, of course, it goes without saying that it needs to fix things so that everyone - regardless of how close they live to one of Google's server orchards - gets seamless, uninterrupted, access to all of it.
This is how streaming is going to work; not just by ensuring the technology is viable, but by taking advantage of streaming, and a fundamental, human, desire to binge. It's how we watch TV now. It's how we want to access all our entertainment. Streaming platforms can't just pretend to be a console; the content needs to reflect how we consume streamed content.
So what's next for Stadia? Even though there are many still singing the praises of the technology - myself included - Google needs to do some damage control. It needs to find a way to shut the mouths of the haters, so their noisy, lacemaking machine-destroying, becomes more of an disenfranchised mumble.
It needs to get aggressive with its content; it can slap as many sponsored posts as it wants on Reddit, but that doesn't change what it's offering. They can only lure people to it with games, and it really needed to have a lot more in place before it launched; once something has the whiff of failure about it, it's very hard to come back from that. Just ask Sega.
Plus, most significantly, it can't afford to wait around; there are rivals waiting in the wings.
You can bet that Sony is going to go all-in with streaming, once others have fallen. It will learn from Stadia's mistakes, and not repeat them. It's already happening with Microsoft; by all accounts - though I've yet to try it - the company's own streaming service, Project xCloud, which is currently on preview for a select few, has received unanimous praise.
Already it's offering 50-odd games via streaming, and by carefully restricting who has access to it, Microsoft has managed expectations and bad press.
You'd think Google would've known better, but it seems they focused chiefly on making sure the streaming worked, and not on what people were actually going to be streaming. It's like inventing a new and amazing lacemaking machine, and then just using it as a coffee table.