By ahoodedfigure 6 Comments
I've been asked by the illustrious ArbitraryWater to check out two different games in recent memory, Might and Magic 6 and Temple of Elemental Evil.
When I try to approach either of these games, I've noticed that something inside of me holds me back, even though I'm curious about both of the titles. I think I've begun to figure out what it is: I'm a bit wary of starting a large endeavor. Same goes for books, where I'm less likely to start a big tome unless I feel I already have enough momentum going in.
My history with RPGs is long, but many of the actual anecdotes are of me being intimidated by the size and scope of something, all the things I have to learn to make it work. SWTOR worked despite it being arguably NOT very much an RPG by the traditional standards simply because the depth in the game was off to the side. I was invited to explore and, oh yeah, learn a few mechanisms along the way. It's funny how much a character creation screen can acclimate you to one of these lumbering monstrosities; by personalizing your avatars you create a bridge between yourself and the machine, saying that this is how you want to interact with it. Somehow it makes it easier, and probably one of the reasons I'm suspicious of big games without some sort of customization.
Still, I think I'm afraid of getting into bigger games now because I'm afraid that the amount of effort that I put into it may not be reflected in what value I get out of it. I'm reminded of how often as a kid, when presented with something like Zork or Wizardry 7, that I'm so wary of diving full-on into something that's more than a trifle that I seek out something with less involvement instead, almost as a defensive reaction.
I was told once by one of my parents that I think too much sometimes, and maybe they were right. Sometimes trying a big game is a declaration of love. You decide to plunge-- take a step or two back, starting running straight at it, and jump in. Maybe that's why fans whose expectations aren't met are especially angry when they find the game was less than advertised; they're more willing than most to get completely enveloped in the world presented. It's sort of like encountering a demigod creating a pocket plane, then finding it's skimping on the breathable air. You're bound to be a bit pissed when you start turning blue.
Yet I do, often, get stuck in big games. Skyrim isn't a slouch, as shallow as it turned out to be in so many ways, Grimrock is demanding only because we don't see this sort of game very often, with puzzles and navigation that aren't simple button presses (thankfully). I guess it comes down to mood, meeting the right frame of mind that helps push you forward. I lack the ability to summon that up at will; I almost have to trick myself into trying something sometimes.
Since I recognize that, maybe I'm further along than I would be otherwise.