Gaming is a lost mistress to me. It’s the proverbial beautiful woman who was once beautiful that and is now a chasm of fond memories? A new difficulty artificially superimposed itself into every game I play. “Substantial New Content” appears below “Balls to the Walls Insanity” threating to ruin exciting new experiences something different might bring. I hold onto the same genres, same play styles and try to recapture my youth every time I press the power button. My recent realization came when I finished Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together for the PSP. Don’t get me wrong, the game is fantastic, but as I play through it I keep referring to the protagonist as Ramza and I miss the awesome power of Orlando administering a whirlwind of unstoppable death.
Mass Effect is the same story. Literally. I’ve played through a couple of different characters between ME 1 and 2 and rarely do I deviate from the choices I made the previous time I finished each game. Regardless of how much variation any game dangles in front of my conscious mind, my id takes over and I’ve repeated my mistakes. I seem to press the repeat button and rarely experience anything new. Granted, I’ve gone through a major life change with the birth of my son and with no sense of loss I play much less, but it seems for the past few years that I want that familiar blanket that I can imagine is oh so much.
For all its flaws Heavy Rain was the genuinely exciting game I’ve played. It has rekindled a search that I once had almost given up. I think my problem was not exactly that I was afraid to play something I had to learn be it mechanics or lore. I think I was afraid of getting older and change in general. Now that I have baby boy I get much less time than I used to. Responsibility beckons, of course. I think this absence from the dark age of free reign has given back excitement to the games that I do play. I no longer rush through a game skipping the cut scenes just to finish it and then move onto the next. I used to be disappointed that I didn’t have to recharge my controllers once every few days. Now, just the prospect of picking up one of those controlers excites me in a way it hasn't in a long time. Now the giant bugs that die tonight don't need to die in vein; they might make my day just a little brighter.