My love of video games has been an almost 25 year romance. I’ve played/watched consistently since I was aware of my thoughts. As a kid I grew up on Link trying to save princess Zelda and Mario doing likewise for Peach. I had no idea why they were trying to save some pixelated girl, but I didn’t question it. The problem with me playing as these avatars is the clumsiness only a child can muster; my thumbs weren’t quite up to speed yet. They would die often or I’d get stuck in a spot that I couldn’t get passed. Years later, I’m a virtuoso with my thumbs, I play rpg’s more than any other genre; skyrim, mass effect, these are my escapes from getting punched in the face and every day traffic. My favorite part of the game is always the beginning, where I shape my character, who happens to always look like me and is the warrior hack and slash type. Straight forward, no magic or bows. As in real life, all strength and endurance with just a hint of technique. The character is far from perfect, but he usually gets the job/game done. The problem with this school of thought is that some games require guile and deceit, the kind of stuff I have no interest in. So my question is, do you soldier through the game as yourself, suffering along the way and possibly getting through to the ending or Do you find a new game that welcomes your way of playing?
My answer of course is to find a new game. I’m not willing to sacrifice the character that I have built up and am trying to perfect just so I can beat a game. Games that have a weak boss or that have easy levels that don’t challenge you are boring. A game that praises you when you lose isn’t worth playing, the type of game that gives you a medal for losing is a waste of time. I know a lot of people are happy with mediocrity, with losing third place and playing it off like it’s an accomplishment, but it’s just not for me. If I slay a dragon that was half way to its death bed and couldn’t fall down fast enough when I hit him, I’m not going to dance around the room or rename my sword to dragon slayer. I’m going to put the game down and find a bigger challenge, one that doesn’t say age 3-12 appropriate. Video games are meant to challenge us, otherwise, what’s the point of playing them? You should never be proud of doing something that took little effort. If that boss at the end of the game hides in his cave, afraid to tell his henchmen what to do about the hero, it’s probably time to go to gamestop and trade that garbage in and find a better one.
For the last year I’ve been playing a game that seems to have lost its appeal along the way. It started out with everything I wanted, a boss that was equal if not better than the hero, levels that challenged me, and a great game to challenge myself with. But then something changed, my hero character fought the boss to a stand still, then all of a sudden the boss disappeared and a new one that just seemed to hide in his cave and deligate henchmen to fight the hero. Now it plays more like a fat kids version of dance dance revolution and its motto changed to if at first you don’t succeed, post a picture with medals you lost to receive. It was making me sick. I had invested so much time, not all of it wasted, I enjoyed a lot of the characters I faced. So with some regret but with a resolve to be challenged, I traded it in for a new one.
And what a pick the new one is. World class bosses and levels to go along with it. I can feel myself being challenged each time I turn it on. My character with all of its strength, courage, endurance and the hint of technique are being tested like never before. I’m at my best when I’m being challenged. I revel in the time spent trying to conquer the dragons and giant robots that take days to figure out how to beat. It’s unfortunate that I can’t take back all the wasted blood, sweat, and tears I put into the last game. But I’m happy to start over knowing this one is a challenge. Full of like minded multi players, I can’t see myself putting the controller down anytime soon. And as a bonus, lots of my multiplayer friends have told me they are trading the old one in for a new one as well. Makes my heart happy knowing there are like minded players in the world. I’m not alone. I’m part of a group that is more fire than flash, strength over guile, and action more than words. Being is much more than appearing to be. The heart, teeth and claws are gone. To all my friends, new players still playing the old game, I wish you the best of luck. I don’t begrudge you for still playing. If you have the means to, I hope you join me some day.