Time changes all

A note from Vampire: the Masquerade Bloodlines describing how perception, time and mind are linkedLast night Naitin of Time to Loot suggested the following topic in the “Writing Prompts” section of the Blaugust Discord:

Ways in which you have changed in your gaming preferences, tolerances, needs or wants over time

After reading his post on the topic as well as the two posts that inspired his (one from Baghpuss and the other from Pete) I am not sure mine exactly fit with the prompt but I thought it might be something interesting to write about anyway.

So, let’s give this a try, shall we?

The “Righteous” Years

During my teenage years I was an insufferable idiot. I was so bad that to this day I don’t know why my family didn’t disinherit me and kick me out of the house. This behaviour of course also extended to games.

It started with arcades with the arrival of Street Fighter II which popularized the fighter genre. Soon enough the arcades were filled with other fighting games, all vying for attention and replacing games that I liked to play like Final Fight, Double Dragon and so on. This made me have a big grudge against fighting games. The fact that I am terrible at them, hate to lose and that everybody I knew loved them didn’t help matters either.

Then on the computer front Doom II popularized the FPS genre. Although I didn’t have anything against that game (I actually liked it), I couldn’t get into other shootersย  that came not long after like Quake.

Although the multiplication of shooters made me grumpy it wasn’t until the coming of Quake III and Unreal Tournament, which popularized the idea of multiplayer-only shooters, that I started to freak out and fear that every PC game from then on would be some kind of FPS. The appearance of a FPS RPG in the form of Deus Ex just felt like a confirmation of those fears of mine.

This kind of feeling also extended to consoles, with the advent of Final Fantasy VII where I didn’t understand why they would trade charming 2D sprites and high fantasy for blocky 3D models and sci-fantasy.

And there are so many other similar stories I could tell. The gist of it is thatย ย  when some drastic change happened in my little bubble of the games world, either due to technological advancements or new genres that became hugely popular, I would often react badly to put it mildly.

At those times I was still too immature, too stupid *, to understand what those feelings were. It was fear of having my favorite games being replaced by other types of games I did not enjoy. It was also frustration of having games that everybody around me was enjoying and I couldn’t join in because I was too bad at them and thus they weren’t fun. Since I could not understand these feelings I thought I was just being righteous in my hatred of those games and anyone who didn’t agree with me was clearly wrong and an idiot.

Like I said at the beginning of this section, I was an insufferable teenager.

* I still consider myself very immature and stupid. I just like to think I am less of those

Nothing stays the same

While all those changes were going on I kept just playing the games I did like. It took some time but I finally realized that just because the industry is chasing what is popular doesn’t necessarily mean the games I do enjoy will stop being made. Or even that the games I already have will suddenly disappear in thin air and I will never be able to play them again.

So when the industry in chasing a new trend I don’t feel personally threatened anymore. I’ve seem this pattern over and over again and I am pretty certain it will happen as long as the game industry exists. I don’t feel the need anymore to go out and personally demonize a game or trend I don’t enjoy.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have strong feelings about certain games anymore. I still do, I am human after all. It is just that now I try to think a bit about what I didn’t like in a game and why. I mean, it is very easy to say “This game is garbage!” and sound like a hateful idiot. But I find it a lot better to say ” I didn’t like this game because of x, y and z”. This way it makes it possible for people to understand your position and might even lead to some interesting discussion.

And of course my tastes also changed. Nowadays there are a few FPSes I enjoy, like Bioshock, Far Cry 2, etc. Granted I am still rubbish at them and it is still not my favorite genre. But I don’t automatically hate a game just because it is a FPS.

Even fighter games that used to be my bane I was surprised to find out there are a copule of them that I enjoy. For example, Super Smash (which I am still relatively new to the series) or Street Figther V which I played during a free weekend that Steam had a while ago. Again, I am terrible at these games but I had fun with them.

And this might be the biggest change for me. I don’t feel like I have to be good at games as long as I am having fun and not ruining anyone else’s enjoyment. In the end isn’t that what really matters?

4 thoughts on “Time changes all”

  1. Interesting angle! And don’t worry, I really don’t think you CAN get a writing prompt wrong, if it spawns a post then job done. ๐Ÿ˜€

    I remember being dismayed by some of the same changes as you though growing up. Not so much the arcades, I hardly ever used them. I had a PC at home from a fairly young age. First one was a 386 SX, ran at a whopping 33MHz with ‘Turbo’ on, or 8Mhz otherwise. Hah.

    At that time all was good though, it was around Quake 3 that I started to have some consternation about the FPS space as well. I mean, I loved the multiplayer stuff as well, even used to use Kahn (and later Kali) to emulate a local IPX/SPX network over the internet (Dial-up, even) in order to play the lines of Descent with people all over the place.

    But I was ALSO still a heavy fan of SP. I played probably at least as many hours in Doom, Doom II, Descent and even Quake pushing through things on the ‘Hard’ difficulty settings, sometimes even right up to Nightmare.

    Making progress at the time meant less to me than playing at those difficulties, although with the hours put in progress ultimately came as well.

    So when I saw that Quake III was moving entirely away from SP, the Unreal Tournaments doing the same…. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    Then either around that time or maybe a bit later the seeming death of the Space flight genre as well.. Eesh. It was the worst of times I tell ya.

    Funny to look at now and see a resurgence of many of these things. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • The first PC I had contact with was a 386 too, but it belonged to my brother. Mine ended up being a 486 since I begged and annoyed my parents to buy me one since the HD on the 386 was always nearly full with games, mostly some that I didn’t like but my brother refused to uninstall just “because I might want to play some day”. I even used the dirty attack of “it will help me with school projects!” on my parents to convince them. XD

      Back then I wasn’t much into the multiplayer thing. The most of it I tried was playing a bit with my brother in Duke Nukem 3D with local multiplayer but it was too much work to setup and like I said, I was terrible at FPSes while he was a pretty average player at it. In fact, he was the opposite of me, he loved fighting games and FPS and spent a ton of time in Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament.

      Space Flight was not a genre I got into but I was a big fan of adventure games. I didn’t even notice they died until laters when I tried to look for new ones and find very hard to find any. I am glad there was some kind of resurgence to them too in the form of Telltale games (RIP) and Life is Strange. Also that some of the classics are getting remakes or made available again through GOG. ๐Ÿ™‚

      This is another reason why I don’t fear any new industry trend that isn’t to my tastes anymore. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Although I tend lose interest in any fighting game relatively quickly I’m very much looking forward to Mortal Kombat 11 right now. Since playing the first two on SNES I have a soft spot for the series. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m pretty crap at playing them though, but as long as you don’t try to play them online I never found that to be a problem or hindrance.

    • Back in the days I was always too focused on trying to do the special moves rather than on the fight so I would lose easily even to the computer. Then more recently I tried some fighting games during Steam’s free weekend and I found that they didn’t spur any feeling in me, be that negative or positive.

      Smash Bros and Street Fighter V have been the exception. Smash Bros it is easy for me to figure out since the controls are pretty simple and accessible I just focused on the fights rather than try to pull special moves. Street Fighter V I have no clue why I enjoyed my free weekend with it though.

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