By WatanabeKazuma 2 Comments
NOTE: If it hadn't been made clear by this point, not least by the garbled title, I intended this blog to me taken in jest. I just wanted to add this disclaimer after reading back through the whole thing and realizing it may come across like some alcoholics rambling break down. Intentional to a degree, but I misjudged the tone slightly.
As a personal aside I don’t really like making New Year resolutions, at least not seriously. I’ve always perceived it as some sort of posturing for the most part, you know the people, those who make a point to inform everyone about their resolution to get in better shape. Those are the kid that have that inevitable habit of never coming to pass. I usually just make a note of something in my head and if I’m serious enough about it, I will see it through.
Which is why shining a light on this probably does not bode well for any sort of promises I am about to commit to this post. Whilst attempting to power on forwards with my dissertation (the fact that I’m writing this should let you know how that is progressing) I have turned to idly skimming various blog posts and threads around the forum. Now, that’s not to say I don’t do that anyway, but as most of you will no doubt know, having some sort of deadline staring you in the face is like waving a red-flag to a bull. In so much that I will make some sort of attempt (no matter how vain that will be) to get some work underway only to be quickly waylaid by anything that just so happens to catch my interest. Which in this case could be just about anything to he honest. So bad analogy aside I’ll try and make some sort of salient point.
Reading these lists has brought to my attention a rising trend, a good majority of you buy a lot of games, more than you will feasibly have time to play. Now, I’m not about to judge anyone for this. Truth be told, I’m as guilty of this as the next person. My previous blog posts will certainly attest to this, back when I still posted them (and no one read them). No, a “Pile of shame” is hardly a new concept, but up until now it’s never bothered me too much. Lately though it has started to gnaw away at me, and reading the plethora of GOTY lists has only intensified that. You see viewing these lists highlights a good number of highly regarded games that I’ve not yet played, and in some cases not even been made aware of. It’s a sobering thought indeed, and in part has forced me to address the way that I play games.
My first thought was to simply stop purchasing so many games, maybe it wouldn't be such a problem if I just did the sensible thing and curbed the spontaneous purchasing of shiny things. But after quickly laughing at that notion, it was back to brain-storming. The logical next step would be for me to determine what it is exactly I spend the most time doing in regards to my gaming habits. I don’t really indulge in online multiplayer, at least not competitively so that wasn't an issue. I do like RPG’s and they have that annoying habit of requiring you to take up the full time job known as playing them. I have currently put Skyrim on hiatus for the time being, but that’s a story for another time and neatly rules that out of the equation. But as I started to browse both my PSN & Xbox Live accounts it hit me, I like achievements. Don’t believe me? Look no further than my Xbox Live account:
Admittedly there are a few games that are shameful entries in that list, I'll refrain from mentioning those because you probably already have a good idea as to what they are. Those specifically where during my honeymoon period with achievements, when the novelty was high and I just wanted a respectable and inflated score to get the ball rolling. That eventually gave way to shame, I mean a more completionist outlook. I’ve always been something of an OCD player; I will often seek out most of the secrets and optional content but the achievement system shone a light on this, and in my mind at least, offered a further incentive. I gradually justified this behavior as something I would only do with games that I genuinely liked, but even the best games can still fall prey to bad habits. At their best, achievements encourage you to explore aspects of a game you may not otherwise have experienced, but more often than not these boil to an over reliance on collectibles and tedious grinding. The bane of my existence in other words.
To look at my PSN profile would bring this problem into focus:
Among that list of platinum trophies is an FFXIII entry, which aside from being a game of questionable quality for many of you (not me), also carries the distinction of being a notoriously drawn out affair in completing everything. So to put it plainly, I have (had?) a problem. It severely ate into my time in which I get to play video games. In turn this means that it commits the most heinous of sins in that it hampers my ability to play MORE games. It seems easy when I lay it out like that but its something which has been a long time coming. Hopefully to put it out in the open here will encourage me to simply forget about my pursuit for that elusive score and instead simply enjoy a game, unburdened by the prospect of missing a specific item, or whether or not I’m playing the game in a way which will provide an optimum net gain in points. Believe me, those are among a number of thoughts that have occurred to me in the past before I have decided upon which game to play next. If I were to offer you the chance to play a multitude of varied and exciting games, or simply to play the same one multiple times, what would you choose? I know, it’s a plain decision when you think about it in those terms.
In boiling down these games to a science I’ve been robbing myself of the spontaneity and fun that should come from the experience. I’ve essentially been looking behind the curtain the entire time; I've been ruining the magic. I've made games boring.
This isn't some criticism of the points system itself, more of the way in which I played solely within it. I know others who have a great time playing in the exact same way, some of who let it be known on this very site. More power to you, I feel like its undermining my fun at this point. To call upon a tired idiom, consider this a line in the sand.
No more! Instead I will devote myself to more noble persuits, like watching HILARIOUS comedy shows.
A Belated Happy New Year!