Monday, August 19, 2013

How do you play?

It has been quite some time since I discussed the aspects of play styles and the physical act of playing a game, but I began to ponder this weekend as more people are gearing up for the re-release of FF14, and the slew of new products coming out (Saints Row 4, Splinter Cell Blacklist, Madden 25, and yesterday Disney Infinity). Our world of gaming has really grown just in the past 5 years from the home to our phones, 3D, and well heck even the Wii-U is a cool idea (even though we still don’t know if it’s an accessory or a console). More importantly, I reflected on the type of gamer that I am and how I approach playing a game.

As we see more people moving towards the mobile market, I find myself sticking to my roots. I have been a console gamer since birth. It’s difficult to swap that identity to a phone or tablet when you have been ingrained to play with a controller. That’s not to say that phone games are bad, it’s just not my preferred style of play. And while they are making controllers for phones, like the MOGA, it still doesn’t feel quite right to me. But that also speaks a lot to the type of games that I like to play.

Quick 5 minute runs of Angry Birds or Bejewled can keep my attention once or twice, and that’s about it. I’d much rather flip to my eReader app and read today’s New York Times or a book I have saved. When I play a game, I want to PLAY a game; meaning I sit my butt down for an hour or more to run quests, build up stats, find rare gear, and journey into the deepest of dungeons. I’m not a casual gamer, and that is not to disrespect those that are. I know some people thing “gamer, hardcore, you must hate the mobile games.” Not at all. I think they serve a great purpose and are giving a newfound creative freedom that our industry is desperately needing.

They’re not for me.

I need to sit down to play a game. I need to have a few hours free from my schedule. And I need to go on stupidly long ass quests to get the golden sword. That’s how I game! I have never been a fan of quick hack and slash modes, getting from point A to point B in under 5 minutes before moving to the next level. I would much rather spend hours enveloped in the space doing…whatever. This is why I love GTA so much: it is in a persistent world that requires you to be involved, but you don’t have to follow the main plot lines if you want to blow through a few hours. There is so much to explore in those GTA lands. Everyone remembers shooting the pigeon’s in GTAIV, or looking for the dragons in Chiantown Wars. Completely mindless and had no effect on the game itself, but we dove into them in order to be a part of the world.

Those are the aspects that I love about a game, and what compel me to keep playing. A mobile game can’t provide me with those experiences. I know that some classics from the RPG realm are now on cell phones, but that still seems so weird to me. Play 5 minutes, pause, let the game suck up all of my battery life, and I’m out for the rest of the day. No thanks. I want to sit down and play for hours. I need that experience. Maybe it’s because I want my games to help me escape from reality, and I can’t really do that with a phone that could be interrupted with a call or a text message at any moment. Or maybe it’s just me being an old-school gamer that wants to hold a controller, not a touchpad screen.

Take this moment to think about the type of gamer you are. How do you play your games? And don’t be afraid to experiment! Try new things, and figure out why you like or don’t like something. Open up your mind to possibilities, you might be surprised at what you find.

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