Last 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 shooters 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 that 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?