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On growing older and changing tastes

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War may never change but people do...especially when it comes to things they enjoy.

I've been thinking about writing this blog for a couple of months now, but it's taken the last couple of days for me to really come to grips with how much my taste in gaming has changed recently...and that I can only really equate this to growing older. I'll be 31 in October and my interests have, naturally, shifted a hell of a lot since I was a kid.

Let me give you an example or 30:

Here's a link to my favourite games list.

As you can see there's a lot of long form games on there - and it's pretty easy to work out which period in gaming that I grew up in - there's a Sonic game on there. Looking quickly through the list you'll see that there are quite a few RPGs and SRPGs..there's even an ARPG. Growing up I pretty much spent all of my time playing the latest Final Fantasy, Tri Ace or whatever JRPG I could get my hands on. Narrative was the main draw for me (however poor it might be in some cases) and long form storytelling was what I was looking for.

The last couple of years have really been about handheld for me. I've been ill and had work on and off in various places over the last 2 years and handheld RPGs and fighting games got me through a lot of loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong nights. I pretty much played the whole of the first Devil Survivor (imported from the US - fuck you for making us wait Atlus) in acute pain over two very long days. Most of Fire Emblem and Masou Kishin were done the same way. Bravely Default and Blazblue got me through late nights after work where I had no intention of watching shitty TV or reading whatever was on my kindle.

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This past year or so has probably seen the greatest change in my gaming tastes. You may recall that I spent a lot of last year trying to understand MOBAs (if you're interested the blogs are still there). I don't play them any more due to not really having the time or the desire to be insulted..I mean work with other people that I did - but it started an interest in me to explore genres that I generally don't play. My next experiment (which I may do a blog on at some point) was on Shooters, or if you prefer explicitly Danmaku/Bullet Hell games. Turns out I looooooove Bullet Hell games. I could wax lyrical about Shikigami no Shiro, Espgalude or Twilight Insanity for a while.

I also took a look at Arena shooters and FPS games in general - beyond the original Halo, Mirrors Edge and FEAR I don't have much time for FPS games that aren't from 1993 and made by Id. That hasn't really changed - though I did come across Tribes REVengence and had some fun skidding and sliding all over the place. When it comes to stuff like Quake 3 or Toxikk/Shootmania/Reflex/CSGO I just don't have the sort of twitch reflexes you need to actually hit someone. Shit, playing Killing Floor is bad enough - friend of mine only just stopped short of essentially shouting 'YOU SUCK GET OFF THE STAGE' at me the other day while playing.

This leads me to my biggest 'wtf' moment of the year..and for me this is a big one. Turns out I like racing games. I should give some background to this:

My brother is a massive car freak. Once he made enough money the first thing he bought was a Porsche. The only thing I remember about it (this was about 22 years ago) is that it was really low to the ground and that I had thought it was a massive waste of money. I think that my reaction to cars is probably based upon wanting to differentiate myself from my brother and also that I fucking loathe driving. I've had a licence since I was 18 and I've probably only actually driven for about 5 of those years. Cars have, up until the last month, been anathema to me. Don't ask me why, I probably panic for some reason or have a deep seated trauma relating to cars. Naturally my brother's children love cars too. While other children beg to play GTA or COD or (in one case) Dark Souls - French kids eh? - my brother's children always want to play Burnout Paradise. Always. Wars are almost started because of it. The eldest of the lost, she likes to slowly drive around the open world and obey the traffic laws..which is lucky given she's almost old enough to drive. The second eldest like to race or just drive into things - shockingly he's male. The youngest, at 8, likes to annoy everyone by doing everything she can to not crash (crash means handover) and drive like an 80 year old woman with cataracts. After going on..hmm..5 years? of putting up with Burnout Paradise (which I can't say is my favourite of that series) I decided it was time for a new open world racer.

I sat there for a while considering which one. NFS? Midnight Club? GTAV? But then I had an epiphany. Which game not only game you an open world but a completely insane storyline, dumb avatar stuff, dancing, customisation and really easy driving..but without shooting people? Well there's only one that contains all those things:

Keep in mind that it's Brad playing it - but as an arcade racer it's really dumb fun. Really...and that lead me down the rabbit hole. From there I looked into driving games on the PC and now have a health amount - I'm waiting for Steam Sale for Assetto Corsa and Eurotruck 2. I even picked up (and patiently await) a G27 Wheel - partially to see how much my Niece and Nephew will flip out and partially to enjoy these games more. GT6 and Forza are now on my radar when, before, I would have just ignored them completely. Shit, I watched F1 the other day and was fascinated.

So I currently sit here, at my desk, with Witcher 3 downloaded (my poor computer can just about play it) and Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition in my hand. If you'd asked me even a month ago which I would be playing I could have easily answered you., not so much.


War never changes, but I have.