Monday, February 04, 2013

I Play Games On Easy Mode…

…and I’m not ashamed of it.

I do this with a purpose. Not to skirt the system or to feel better about myself for getting an achievement. “Hey look guys! I got the Headshot achievement!” “Yeah. In Easy Mode. *laughs*”

The games that I typically play are story driven. And for me, it’s a distraction to go from story to hoards of disfigured, incredibly difficult to kill zombies coming at me in an endless stream of mayhem, and then back to the story. My heart is racing from the fight. My palms are sweating. I got out with half of a health bar and 2 bullets left. I need to breathe. Getting a detailed look on how this strain of the T-Virus was created is not a break. It’s more mental exhaustion as my brain attempts to compile this new information into the pre-existing story.

And then it’s more zombies!

I wouldn’t say I have ADD or ADHD. I have a pretty sharp memory, can multi-task like nobody’s business, and comprehend multiple things being thrown at me at the same time. However, I do feel that sometimes when you combine heavy action with a heavy story the brain just can’t process it all accordingly. Something is going to give. You might be fine for the first 2-3 hours of a game, but past that you’ll start forgetting key plot details. In turn you find yourself spending the rest of the game trying to remember what the heck the story was about, while fending off the never-ending string of zombies. I guess that’s one way to ensure replay value of your product. You have to replay to figure out the story. I rather replay just to play on the more difficult levels. Enjoy the story first. Shoot the zombies later.

So when I first played Metal Gear Solid 4 I played in the easiest mode made available. MGS is incredibly story heavy. It would have been a disservice to the game if I didn’t take the time to absorb the information. Because, let us be honest here: it’s a lot of information. If you’ve never played a Metal Gear Solid game its exposition and very dialogue heavy. The Game of Thrones book series and Lord of the Rings combined are not big enough for the content of MGS. It’s THAT much.

Spending my time stealthily sneaking and gunning down enemies in “Insane” mode is equally as tiring. No mind would be able to comprehend the depth of the story while maintaining focus on your next stealth maneuver. It’s too much to ask for.

And there is nothing wrong with playing it Easy. I don’t feel that it makes me any less of a gamer. It allows me a chance to fully absorb the story, the characters, and the artistry of the game without the constant clash against the action.

I’m this way when it comes to moves as well. There’s a beauty in simplicity; in letting the story flow on its own without the need for additional action/comedy/drama to push it forward. This is why I love some movies over others, and really hate certain titles. Avatar (blue people, not airbender) wins that award. Worse. Movie. Ever. It was just too much of everything. Too many visuals, too much story, too much action, too much exposition, too much ripping off of other movies, too many blue people. Whatever message James Cameron was trying to push onto the audience got buried by over-stimulating all of the physical and mental senses. In comparison a movie like ChinaTown, one of my absolute favorites, is really about letting the story flow and follow its own course. Settings are minimal, but memorable. Characters are unique, but don’t overpower the content. The viewer understands the depth and pain of the message because of the simplicity.

Basically Avatar is Extreme zomg! mode of gameplay (with an unoriginal story and a message that goes against everything James Cameron stood for) and ChinaTown is Easy mode.

Easy does not make you less of a gamer. It gives you the ability to truly appreciate the art in front of you.

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