My gaming habits have drastically changed recently. Since the arrival of a baby boy 6 months ago those late night BF4 sessions have disappeared and I am constantly looking at the length of games, not to see how long they are but to see how short they are. I don’t have the time or opportunity to sink 50 hours into an RPG but if I can get a game done in a couple of hours then I am more than happy. Hotline Miami and To The Moon have been two recent purchases that have given me a little gaming buzz and then let me move on to the next thing.
This has led me to a bit of a revelation that there is no right or wrong way to enjoy games. This may seem obvious but there does seem to be a little snobbery embedded in the self-titled hardcore gaming community. For example I am a big fan of gaming podcasts and regularly listen to the Videogamer.com podcast. It’s a great listen but the host, Matt Lees, is one of those that keeps trying to tell me that I am gaming wrong. Playing XCOM: Enemy Unknown on Classic Ironman is not THE way to play the game but A way to play it. I am in no way interested in playing Dark Souls because sudden and unavoidable deaths forcing me to replay the same hour of a game sounds excruciating.
Now it may seem like I am picking on poor Matt Lees (which I am) but for some, even if we did have the chance, we wouldn’t want to throw ourselves into a game that would punish us at every turn. It’s like there is this false idea that the harder the game that we play, the purer a gamer we are which is bullshit. Firaxis Games put all kinds of difficulty options in XCOM to cater for all play styles and they called them Easy, Normal, Classic and Impossible not Baby, Less Baby, True Gamer and Best Gamer. A game being hard is not a positive feature of a game, it’s just a feature.
Games used to be harder and blind nostalgia might lead us to think that games used to be better thus harder is better but back in the days of the Commodore 64 or the NES there were no checkpoints and saves only existed in very specific ways (like The Legend of Zelda’s amazing internal battery). This meant starting a game over and over and doing the same parts hundreds of times. I don’t want to go back there. I must have started the first level of Battletoads about 200 times but only started the last level once. I still didn’t finish it.
So if someone wants to blast through Call of Duty: Ghosts on easy then why the hell not. I would find the lack of challenge a bit dull but then I played To The Moon which is essentially an interactive book. At the moment I am playing Dark Void which is the very definition of mediocre but it has a jet pack. These are experiences that are not one person’s definition of true gamng but who cares. Let’s just enjoy it.