Game Purchases - Making Wise Decisions

I’ve read various articles before about the reasoning behind not purchasing games that are craptastic just because you recognize the name on the front – you know, the games for every Disney movie that comes out and anything with “Hannah Montana” in the title. Yeah, those games. The ones that usually get low review scores – and for good reason – but sell reasonably (sometimes insanely) well just because of the branding on the front. This, in turn, spurs the developers and publishers on to make more craptastic games because, hey, the last one sold better than expected, we should make more!

This isn’t one of those articles. I’m not going to complain about you purchasing those titles. Under one condition, of course – whomever you buy it for actually has to enjoy playing it.

Here’s the thing: I highly discourage anyone – whether they know what they’re doing or not – to buy a game simply because of the title, branding, licensed product or media it’s attached to. If it’s a publisher or developer you like, and you trust them enough to make a product that you will enjoy, by all means, go ahead and purchase. If it’s not, at the very least, see what the general consensus is from previews or in the review scores before you make a decision. Because, if the game sucks and you buy it, it is only encouraging the developer to continue putting out bad games. That isn’t good for anyone.

To continue that line of thought and explain my condition above, if you l like a game, or its genre, or whatever, regardless of how awful reviews make it out to be or the general feeling towards it in the gamersphere, then, by all means, buy it. Gaming is about fun, its about enjoying the games we play. I’ve been in the situation before where a game I like gets beat to hell in the review department and criticized through numerous avenues. Yet, I still enjoy it, sometimes I enjoy it a lot. I’m a huge JRPG fan and, as you can imagine, that is a hard genre to like these days. Yet, I still do. I find it hard to play any JRPG and not like it. Call me a fanboy or whatever, but if I enjoy it, what’s wrong with that? If you, or whomever you’re purchasing it for, enjoys a game, whatever game it is, buy it and have fun. Don’t let anyone stop you. But, don’t just buy it because its based off your favorite movie of all time or because it has pretty colors on the cover.

On a similar note, don’t let others bully you into buying games that you don’t like, whether those “others” are reviewers, GameStop employees or friends. I don’t own Grand Theft Auto IV, Halo 3, Call of Duty 4 or Fallout 3, not because they aren’t great games, but because I don’t like them. Almost every time I go into GameStop one of the employees tries getting me to pre-order a smattering of games, most of which I could care less about. Why do they do this? They think that because the games are hugely popular, everyone in their right mind would want them. That simply is not the case. The spark that started this article happened at GameStop one day, in fact. After I had pre-ordered a couple games for this month, I thought I was going to get strangled on the spot. The kid behind the counter was someone I had never seen there before and he kept trying to get me to pre-order Halo 3: ODST. I swear about half a dozen times in the time it took me to check out he was like, “Do you want to pre-order ODST?”…”We have a lot of pre-orders for ODST already!”…”You sure you don’t want to pre-order ODST?” Every time I would tell him that I’m not into straight FPS titles, not even Halo. He said I had to have played COD4. When I told him I’ve never played any Call of Duty games, he seemed to get visibly upset. The point is, don’t assume that everyone likes what you like or that everyone will like the “popular” games.

Again, it all comes down to what you enjoy. A lot of people enjoy Halo and Fallout 3, but not everyone. I highly encourage trying out new games and new genres, because you never know what might tickle your fancy, but if you really don’t like something, don’t buy it. In this case you don’t really have the intention of “putting your money where your mouth is”, so to speak, and telling the developer they have a bad game. No, this situation is different than the one above. You didn’t buy the game because it doesn’t suit your preferences, not because the game is horrible.

I realize rabid fanboyism is a fact of life in the gaming community, but I’ll say this anyway: Just because you like something, doesn’t mean everyone should be forced to like it. Not everyone likes the PS3, not everyone is a Final Fantasy fan, not everyone wants to have Master Chief’s babies. Get over it. Ultimately, as I pointed out several times before, our gaming purchases should be based on what we consider fun and, really, nothing else. After all, that’s the whole point of our hobby – our passion – right?

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Chad Awkerman

Chad joined the DualShockers staff in mid 2009 and since then has put much of his time into covering RPGs, with a focus on the Japanese side of the genre, from the obscure to the mainstream. He's a huge fan of iconic games like Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy VI and Persona 4 yet enjoys the smaller niche titles, as well. In his spare time he enjoys experiencing new beer, new foods and keeping up with just about every sci-fi show on television. He's married to an intelligent, beautiful Southern Belle who keeps his life interesting with witty banter and spicy Cajun cooking.

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