2015: A different outlook on gaming

Lately I’ve noticed that I’m approaching games in a different way. It wasn’t a conscious thing and maybe it’s just temporary. In spite of my name-checking 2015 in the title of this post, it certainly wasn’t a resolution.

I’m still playing and enjoying games but I’m not talking about them as much. I’ve for the most part withdrawn from “the community” and gone back to a time where games were purely a solitary refuge from the stresses of life. I think I’m just tired of all the baggage that comes with dealing with other people. I just want to love what I love and not have to defend my decisions. Couple that with having stopped playing MMOs and there’s not a lot of benefit to talking to other people about games. I’m sick of me saying, or seeing someone else say, “I’m really enjoying GameX” and immediately getting a “Oh GameX totally sucked” as a response from some random mouth-breather.

(My one exception is forge.gg — it’s new enough and the membership is still positive enough that I feel like people still celebrate the fun they find in the games they play and just ignore games they’re not interested in, rather than trying to ‘correct’ people who enjoy different games.)

What’s interesting about this, to me at least, is that it’s been kind of freeing. Instead of playing the latest and greatest I’ve been sorting through my game collection and playing things I always meant to finish or even always meant to start. I finally finished a port of a mobile game that is so generic I always forget the name. Dungeon Hunter: Alliance? Dungeon Explorer: Alliance? Something like that. I played it on the PS3. I bought it for $10 or $12 in I think 2012 and finally finished it a few days ago. Or at least finished my first play-through. It’s not a game I’d recommend to anyone, but I really enjoyed it. In fact I might play it again.

After that I started Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light which is the isometric co-op game that came out a few years ago. I’m playing it solo which I suspect takes something away from the experience, but I’m enjoying playing it a bit at a time. Gameplay doesn’t stand up to long play sessions, IMO. I limit myself to 1 level/night. I also finally started Papo & Yo, but its unforgiving save system combined with glitches caused me to set it aside. I’ve no patience for replaying content because save points are so far apart and I had to quit to go to bed, or worse because a character in the game got stuck and I had to restart. Some day I might give it another try on PC.

I’ve also been enjoying some tablet games; something that is completely taboo in “the community.” REAL gamers don’t play games on tablets, amiright? No, I’m not right but there’s the small but loud subset of gamers who think so and will tell you so. I played through all of Monument Valley (though not the expansion) and Quell Reflect. Now I’m playing ZenGrams. All three have been quite good and kind of relaxing. All three were free apps on the Amazon App Store, too (I’m playing them on my Fire HDX which I still LOVE). Yup, Amazon still does its free app of the day!

Along with social media, I’ve also more or less given up on gaming sites. I still have Joystiq, Polygon, Game Informer and Gamasutra in my RSS reader but fewer and fewer headlines grab my attention. It all feels like rehash, or clickbait, or someone trying to stir people up. Oh, Bungie gave us free gifts and some players are angry about it. Does that really warrant a news story? Maybe it does, but reading about people being disgruntled because they didn’t like the free stuff they got doesn’t improve or enhance my life in any way, so from now on I’m not reading stories like that.

I don’t need the hype either. Every game gets huge hype but most of them don’t live up to it. If I have a resolution this year (and really I’m not much for resolutions) it is “Wait to buy.” I have literally hundreds of games in my collection; I don’t need to pay full price for GameX on the day it comes out. It’ll be half price in a few months AND all the glitches will be ironed out (or they won’t be and I’ll know to skip it completely).

So that’s where I’m at. Kind of a pointless blog post but the take away from all of this is that I’m enjoying games a lot more than I was before I fell in love with Dragon Age Inquisition. After DAI I spent a couple hundred bucks buying the other ‘hot new games’ looking for my next love affair but none of them really stuck in spite of them being hyped and well-thought of by the community. For now at least, I’ll play the games that speak to me and not worry about what’s popular.