The Way I Play Games has Changed so much as Iíve Gotten Older.
By the_grimace 03-06-2013 11:48 AM
When I first started gaming, from the ages of 5 and up until I was about 13, I was actually quite the completionist when it came to gaming. I had to do every possible thing in the game. Get every pickup, unlock every character, get every item. You probably get the point. I couldnít put the game down till I had 100% completed my play-through. Every side-quest, every item, everything you could possibly do... I just had to do it. This play style may have stemmed from the fact that I was only able to purchase a few new games each year, so I would squeeze every ounce of gameplay I could out a single title. Needless to say, it wasnít uncommon I spent several months just playing one game to perfection, literally having played it so much I could write a detailed guide from memory. This was how my game playing habits were originally.
Then I entered a new phase from the ages of 13-18. During this phase, I got much more interested in challenging myself. I started playing a lot more competitive multiplayer games, and worked hard to do well in them. Likewise, I enjoyed challenging myself with my single player games by tackling difficult achievements or extremely hard difficulty modes. In fact, during this time I almost always would start a game by playing it on ďhardĒ instead of ďnormalĒ. If the game gave me the option to start with the ďhardestĒ difficulty from the get-go (most games make you play through once to unlock the next highest difficulty though), I would just do that. Yes, I would die... a lot, but I prided myself in slowly working my way through seemingly broke and impossible campaigns. It wasnít uncommon for me to keep playing through the same game multiple times till I had beat it on every difficulty level.
When I went to college, I entered a brief, yet distinctive, new phase of gaming style. This was from ages 18-22. Since I had less time for games due to college courses and work, I found myself with much more limited gaming time. Whereas I used to probably game an average of 4-5 hours a day, I now only had time to game about 1 hour a day. This was a phase where beating a single game took my dreadfully long to complete, but at the same time, almost felt more rewarding that way.
There was something really special about taking 2 weeks to beat your normal 10 hour FPS game over a dozen or so small gaming sessions, instead of plowing through it in a single weekend over a couple 5 hour sessions. Games felt more fulfilling to me, felt like they played better, and felt like they just had a lot more value. Most importantly, the games I played during my college years became a living part of that time frame itself. I remember I played Persona 4 in this phase, and it took me nearly an entire year to beat the game and I had been playing it about 5 times a week. Playing that game became as much as a real experience as going to school and hanging out with my friends was, and it was a very positive part of this time frame. In general, games just felt better when you played them in short 30-60 minute spurts.
As far as my approach to challenging myself and being a completionist during this phase, I still was concerned about it, with a slight change. I still strived to 100% complete games and challenge myself with harder difficulties, but I began to rationalize what challenges were worth my time. For those quests or challenges that were extremely tedious or required me to go very far out of the way to get them, I just started saying ďscrew itĒ to them, and only completing as many challenges as I could that seemed reasonable to me while playing through the game normally. I still wanted to complete as many challenges as possible, but with short 30-60 minute gaming sessions, it wasnít much fun spending my only gaming time for the night trying to do some tedious side-quest for an achievement, or going out of my way to backtrack and get some collectibles. I definitely found myself only completing about half of what I would normally do in games during this phase.
And now, the current phase of gaming I am in is unlike any before it, and has experienced the most drastic change from my past phases. Starting once I got my first internship out of college at 23, the phase of gaming I like to call ďQuick playĒ has begun, and it has only continued as Iíve gotten older and more busy with work and family. It is so different it almost makes me laugh about it sometimes. Now I play games solely to beat them and move on the to next game in my collection as soon as possible. I also could not care less about playing through on hard difficulty levels. I usually will play through on the normal setting, and as of late, sometimes Iíve even been just playing on easy! I have no will anymore to play through a game multiple times like I used to. (seriously, I would play through 60 hour RPGs like 3-4 times). I beat the game, experience the story and gameplay, and then right on to the next game.
I guess you could say Iíve become a lot less patient with games. Even if just completed a game I enjoyed, I canít even begin to fathom playing through it again, even though that would be exactly what I did years ago. Just seems like a big waste of time now. I donít care about trophies or achievements anymore. Donít care about challenges or unlockables. Donít care about getting every ounce of value I can out of the game. Most in-game collectibles I donít even look for unless they are right smack dab in front of me. I just play however I feel like it, usually just trying to complete main objectives unless some side quest has tickled my fancy enough to pursue that.
I also find myself getting much more easily frustrated with games anymore if I am stuck in a section or on a puzzle. Coming from a guy that used to play on the ďExtremely HardĒ difficulty and like it, this is obviously a big change for me. But seriously, I get stuck somewhere and right to a walkthrough I go. Hell, most times if a solution is convoluted or requires some deep thinking to solve, I still go to a guide anyway even though I could totally have figured out the solution on my own.
But there you have it, the new way I play games currently. Iím not even sure exactly why my new style is just to play through a game once and never touch it again, as itís almost exactly the opposite of how I played games my whole life. There are definitely some reasonable explanations, bigger backlog, way less free time. I think most importantly, I just donít feel I need to get every single ounce of value out of my game by completing it 100%, or prove something to myself by completing a game on the hardest difficulty. Now I just game to experience an entertaining story and play a fun game. Once itís done, Iím happy and satisfied, and ready to move on to the next. I still secretly miss the days where I played games 3 or 4 times through, and focused on unlocking everything the game had to offer, but I just donít have the time for that it seems, nor the patience. Still, I do continue to hope that someday in the future I will come back and play some of the games I enjoyed and give them their proper second or third play-through. Though, at the rate new games are released and my backlog grows, who knows when that day will be.
So there you have it, my gaming habits over the year. As you can see, they have definitely changed pretty drastically, especially this current phase I am in. I wonder how my gaming habits will continue to change as I get older, start a family, and so on and so forth. I cannot ever seeing games NOT being part of my life, but I am certain my relationship with them will change. How exactly? Only time will tell.
Turning it over to CAG now, what are your gaming habits? How do you play games? Has your gaming habit changed over the years, and if so, how did it change and why? Looking forward to reading all your comments and thoughts, and thanks for reading my blog! Till next time!
|Comments (Total Comments: 9)|
|Blank Earth - 03-06-2013, 12:46 PM|
|tylerh1701 - 03-06-2013, 02:09 PM|
|Troopa - 03-06-2013, 04:19 PM|
|soliddragon - 03-06-2013, 05:54 PM|
|lilytrabbit - 03-06-2013, 06:07 PM|
|Arachnicide - 03-06-2013, 07:04 PM|
|dustdingo - 03-07-2013, 12:04 PM|
|JohngraceofYHWH - 03-14-2013, 04:15 AM|
|lowlowgoodprice - 04-23-2013, 11:48 AM|
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