By Irishjohn 4 Comments
I should clarify from the start: I’m not a great example of a “hardcore” gamer. Well, maybe in some respects: I own multiple game consoles and spend way too much money on games. On the other hand, I’m not threatening to rival Ice T’s prowess in Call of Duty 4 any time soon.
I bought two video games this week, Animal Crossing: City Folk and Demon’s Souls. One of these games occupies that odd grey area between ultra-casual and slightly nutty hardcore, offering to take only five minutes of your day but willing to take many hours more. The other is a staggeringly difficult game that involves sticking sharp objects into demonic monsters or soulless humans driven insane, shortly before dying and starting all over again. Guess which is which?
I thought this would drive me crazy, and I think it has, a bit. This game is well worth it though. I don’t typically go looking for “challenging” games. I’ve never played Megaman 9 and I’ve had a lot of frustrating experiences with the GBA-based Metroid games. The only game I’ve ever played and thoroughly enjoyed that I can compare this to is Ninja Gaiden. The secret to both games, I realised, is that although they will drive you up the walls with the level of concentration required, neither game becomes cheap at any point. The end result is that once you’ve figured out how to defeat a certain type of enemy or negotiate a certain type of scenario, you can do it again. And again. And again…
Animal Crossing does not exactly overflow with such moments. Still, the game has its own way of drawing you in, whether it’s collect various fish or be at the right place at the right time. The genius of the game is the adherence to a real world clock. I always knew I could cheat at the game on Gamecube just by changing the game clock, but this was one game I didn’t want to ruin. Ok, I’ll more than likely never see the New Years party in the game. It’s become one of the great appeals for me, a central facet of this wonderful illusion that there is a living breathing town going on whether I decide to play or not.
So, this week, I am going hardcore in every which way. Loving it, too. Now excuse me, I’m off to battle evil demons in the dark and maybe get a hair cut, if I can afford it.