Saturday, July 5, 2014

Video games you want Vs Video games you want to play

Ok. This is something that keeps me up at night(when I drafted this it was about 1am) and I haven't really put much thought into it until last year when the PS4 and Xbox One were first shown. We all watch E3 and other major video game related things and get all hyped up for the new games being shown off like models at a Victoria Secrets runway extravaganza... but here's the thing, do we WANT these games or do we just want to PLAY these games?

You might be asking yourself, "What's the difference?" and I can understand. Simply put, a game we want is one that we'll replay time and time again throughout our life(like Super Mario Bros. 3 or Final Fantasy VII) and others are experiences that we want to play, but clog our shelves since we remind ourselves of how much we paid for them and how little they are worth now(like The Last of Us or Ashura's Wrath).There are also some subtypes to games we want to play which are games we play to make/play with friends and games we play to compete, but I talk about them later since this is more about single player games to start with.

I don't know about you but every time I look at my video game collection from the last two generations(PS2-PS3, Xbox-Xbox 360, Gamecube- Wii... well not so much the Nintendo stuff), I keep finding games I will never play again but are still on my shelf. I don't regret playing them, but I keep thinking to myself "If I could have rented these, would I have bought them?" and nowadays I realise I wouldn't have at all. For example, I have The Last of Us which is a great experience... but I can't see myself ever replaying it at all. Now you'll probably throw the multiplayer to my face but I'm not big on multiplayer in general and I'm not a fan of competition. Fact is The Last of Us hasn't got a lasting appeal for me and to make matters worse, it's only worth AU$8 trade in so it's practically worthless.

Now I know I probably just upset a few of you by saying I can't see myself replaying The Last of Us but at the same time, I'm sure there are a lot of games I love that you'd have the same opinion about. See I feel that a lot of games are actually designed in a disposable manner(hence even more emphasis on digital distribution) so that you'll play it, shelf it and move to the next one without batting an eye lid(also explains the tiny hard drives in the PS4 and Xbone am I right?). We live in a disposable society anyway where we upgrade our technology yearly, why not games? Some games are just meant to played once and that's it.

But what about the flip side? What about the games you want? What makes a games so great that you'll play it until you are a living walkthrough? Why am I asking so many rhetorical questions? For me, I'll use Resident Evil 2 as my example. I know this game back to front, every item location, every enemy placement, how to beat it without getting hit until the final fight with the Tyrant and yet... I can't remember the age of my friends and family! Why is this? Well it's because the game(at least for me), just appeals to everything I wanted from it. On top of that the game is fun, something a lot of popular games of today forgot how to least for me.

Back to E3 and the other video game press stuff. They always know how to make us want to play their games. We all go preorder them, hoping they will be awesome or that the game is fun. This is marketing, it's designed to do that and we always fall for it! We never know the truth until we get the game ourselves and we all have differing opinions(sometimes) on them. Lets face it, most of the games we buy are because we want to play them to see how it is and not to revisit it time and time again.

You know what game I've replayed the most in my life? Super Mario Bros! You could chalk it up to it being so old but the next game but the next one in line to the throne is Resident Evil 2 and following that is Super Mario Bros 3, Resident Evil 4, Final Fantasy and the list just goes on! But what does this have to do with the topic at hand? These games are games that I want to play, again and again. These games found what it is I crave most and found a way to not only give me what I wanted, but did it in a way that has me coming back for more and seeking out similar games like it.

I honestly believe that this is what drives the independent scene's passion(when they aren't just after a quick buck). These guys are making games they themselves want to play! Krome's Space Captain Steve gave his comic book Blade Kitten a game like Strider because he loved the games so much. Sure it had it's issues like every game made on a shoe string budget does, but his team made a game that they wanted to play, unlike say... Call of Duty which is all for the money!

Call of Duty leads into the next points I have.Some games we play are not for ourselves, shocker right? These are the games we buy to compete and games we buy to make/play with friends. If you actually look at the top selling games each year, chances are these are the ones at the top of the leaderboards. Not hard to see why though. These types of games are the true social games... don't crucify me just yet folks! These are games we play for human interaction. Most people need a lot of it and some(like me) prefer as little as possible, but enough to sustain us. So whats so special about these types?

Well lets start with the games we make/play with friends. These are more commonly MMORPGs and any game that features online capabilities.We buy these more nowadays since arcades killed themselves by being to expensive and the internet killed them because people are lazy by nature. Usually we buy these games to talk with other like minded people to expand our list of friends or to play with your friends since they too are playing it and it may be hard to keep a proper social life with them outside the game. This is why World of Warcraft's creators are partying on a yacht somewhere on your subscription fees. These games usually are just to play with people, no so much you actually want. That's why I consider it a subtype of the "games we want to play" section.

As for games you want to compete... I'm so going to be drawn and quartered for this, I'm sure of it! This is actually due to an evolutionary trait that has never left our primal subconscious... I'm sure at least some of you have watched a nature documentary once in your life... right? What I'm referring to is pack leader status, the alpha, our urge to be the top of the food chain amongst our own species, or more commonly referred to by me... dick measuring! We don't buy these games because we want them, we buy them so we can figuratively hump(literally in First Person Shooters!) our lesser players to prove that we are the dominant one. Call of Duty, Street Fighter, Madden, Fifa, Mario Kart are all examples of these games. Yes some do fall into the games we play to make/play with friends as well, but they are primarily for satiating our latent desire to be the best. Hell, arcade games were that in a nutshell!

Now none of these types of games are bad as such, we all play games for different reasons and in a lot of case our collections reflect ourselves. I've just been thinking about this for a while but now just put pen to paper on the subject and it feels good to share it with the small group of people who actually read this. So what games do you find are games you wanted and games you just wanted to play?

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