There are many different ways to play games. Some people hop from game to game as if they were at a buffet and starving. “I’ll try a little of this and a little of that, and, ooooooh! Give me some of that!” They play the game until they either get sick of it or they finish it, then they put it away and never think of it again. I’m pretty sure games journalist especially have to operate in this manner. Knowing a games journalist, it becomes increasingly difficult for him to game just for fun when he has to do it for his job on a daily basis.
I have a vastly different style when it comes to gaming. I’ve said this about my mindset towards pop culture in general, and it holds especially true when it comes to video games–I don’t cast my net very wide because I’m very certain about what I don’t like. When it comes to video games, I don’t like multis, RTS, FPS (though that’s more because of nausea, not the actual gameplay), bullet hells, platformers, 4X, and anything that calls itself “_____core” without a hint of irony. I hate JRPG, dating sims, survival, and most horror. I really want to like adventure games because they are more story driven, but I just…don’t. I hate all the ridiculous contrivances of the genre, such as combining a stick, a piece of lint, and a teddy bear to make a key*.
What do I like when it comes to gaming? That’s harder to define because I don’t tend to like genres in general, and it’s difficult to know what game is going to click with me. The first game I played for realsies was Pitfall when I was a kid. Then, Ms. Pac-Man as a teen. Then, while dating a guy who liked arcades, I got hooked on Time Crisis II and barked at him to get me more quarters as I finished it in one go. That was in my late twenties, and I didn’t touch a ‘hardcore’ game again for roughly fifteen years.
Once I did, however, I started playing a weird range of games. The first was Torchlight at the suggestion of Ian, and I immediately fell in love with the game. I loved that the protagonist was a woman who looked Asian if you squinted, and I loved all the dungeon crawling. I still have a soft spot in my heart for it, and I’m one of the very few who thinks it’s a better game than the sequel. Diablo III was next, and I played the fuck out of it. I reached Paragon with my Demon Hunter, and I’ve dipped my toe back in that particular river from time to time as they add to it. Borderlands (the original and II) was next, and I glutted myself on it. Playing them back to back with all the DLCs is not recommended, and I was thoroughly sick of it by the time I tried Pre-sequel, which I did not finish. I only played a few hours before I realized I thought it was crap (and not just because I had put hundreds of hours into I and II and was sick of the formula).
Some of the other games I’ve really enjoyed: Path of Exile (beta. I fell off it once I realized I’d have to start over), Cook, Serve, Delicious (and sequel), The Sexy Brutale, Nuclear Throne, Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, Night in the Woods, Dead Cells, and, of course, the Soulsborne games.
What do they all have in common? Hell if I know. I will say that once I played Dark Souls, it’s been nearly impossible to return to hack-and-slash games. I don’t have to have combat in a game, but if it’s there, it has to be meaningful, apparently. There’s a bit in one of the Prepare to Try videos (the secrets video, I think) in which Rory says, “Imagine if Dark Souls was the first game you played. It would blow your tiny mind. You wouldn’t be able to play any other game.” He was joking, but I feel as if it’s true. There are so many games that when I’m playing them, I’m like, “I could be playing Dark Souls right now.” That’s pretty much my metric for a game–would I rather be playing Dark Souls?