First read this – http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2016-11-07-video-games-are-boring
So I have a few thoughts, and usually I’d do a tweetstorm for this, but Im feeling grouchy today and would rather write it all in one go. That may be relevant later?
So yeah. I agree. I mean. Ok. So like, I identify as a ‘weird gamer’. Thats not a..I mean its not an identity, like I dont wear it on a Tshirt, its just how I describe my taste because Im never sure where I fit. Like, a lot of the time when talking to people the venn diagram of things I like in games and things most people seem to like in games doesnt cross over at many points. I’m speaking incredibly broadly here, perhaps unfairly broadly, but like, for example, I could take or leave action , Im not really someone who gets super excited about fantasy RPG stat building ( even though I do enjoy like, Dark Souls or whatev, but that game feels like a weird british TV movie you find on channel 4 at like 3am ) I find guns really boring, and like, space stuff doesnt do much for me.
I like to be surprised, I guess? I like weird stuff -and I dont mean just in games there, like, old medieval art with derpy weird monsters and rocket cats? Sign me up, awesome. Dont get me wrong -there are pockets of time where a bunch of games come out that I really resonate with, but most of the time I’m just not excited by the stuff youre supposed to be excited about if you’re a gamer. And that’s ok? But I do feel sometimes like I probably have more in common with people who don’t like games, because I often have to search P hard to find something that sticks with me. Piles and piles of games stacked around me and like 3 of them played to the credits.
But I do notice like…I’m almost embarrassed to hype up the stuff I really get excited about at times, in person. For example, my GOTY 2015 was – hands down – Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer. And even when I’m describing the game to other people, I dont really describe it as a game. I mean I feel embarrassed even saying the title of it even tho HAPPY HOME DESIGNER is an amazing warm and fluffy title of cozy. I’ve had conversations with so many people in the past who say they like the idea of Animal Crossing but think it could do with like, a tower defense mechanic or something, some action. And I dunno, I find that kinda sacrilegious.
Because I dont play Animal Crossing – or HHD – to feel like Im in danger? I play them when I want to relax, when I’m grouchy because my train was horrendously delayed and want to pop into a little beach and walk along the shore looking at my little footprints in the sand . I play HHD to create a gaudy 1970s bedroom for a duck who wants a recording studio, because I can, because its cozy and I like the idea that these animals are litterbugs, or they’re uptight, or they have a very high opinion of themselves. It’s the videogame equivalent of wandering past someones house and wondering how they live, inventing a little story about how they chill.
I play games like…to facilitate these emotions? Emotions in general? Like, If Im feeling confident I like to get into smash bros and kick people in the face as Charizard, even though I never win, because being this powerful dragon thing feels p cool. I dont careabout winning, I just like it when I slam my big ol lizard tail down on someone and they go flying. If I want to shake myself up I’ll seek something more emotional, stuff like Papers Please, or Life is Strange. If I crave utter absurdity I’ll pop in one of the Wario Ware games. Its not about winning or losing, its about making myself feel things.
‘Win’ and ‘Loss’ – in that way where theyre plastered across the screen – are states which can drive those emotions, but they can also feel kinda like an arbitrary label on something, like they can make the fun feel kinda disingenuous. The whole reward star/coin system every ‘casual’ leaning game has now, for example, just feels kinda gross to me. Like..if I do super well and I earn a special notation of that, thats cool, yay i was special. But those 3 stars on there, like…hey you didnt have enough fun, go back and earn more fun you. Its weird. And chasing those 3 stars can be a grind, it can be boring, I stop caring because its no longer tickling my emotions, not the ones that count. Im not gonna re-eat a pizza because the chef thinks I didnt munch it fast enough.
And like…I dont know if other people do this, the playing for the sake of it thing? I mean I for sure can’t be the only one, but I for sure can see how if you don’t have a vocabulary of games, if you dont know that there’s a game where you can be a dolphin or poke around your neighbours house, that games will be boring. Like, just a big confusing mess of explosions and tickboxes and stars and wins and losses, just a buncha work, and a lot of work to find anything that’s gonna resonate with you to boot. I got the bug in me, I keep buying games because I keep searching for the ones which will take me somewhere amazing, but I can totally see why people would just not care to do that.
A game to relax, a game to laugh, a game to surprise.
I could be talking outta my butt here, maybes what im saying is just nothing, just a ramble IDK. All I know is that if Im feeling sad, shooting people in the face to try and be the #1 team hedshotz won’t cheer me up, but sitting on a little tree stump listening to cicadas does, even if theyre not real cicadas. Shooting people in the face might super cheer you up, and thats cool too, but yeah. YEH. Games.