Greetings, I’ve invited you all here today to talk about what I consider a very important element of a good game. That would be the desire to play it. Yes, obviously there should always be a want to play a game but perhaps my explanation would benefit from an example of my experience with that “Chore” feeling.
I recently picked up the long awaited Final Fantasy XIII. I had high expectations, just like everyone else, for the game. I popped in the disc and I watched cool cut-scenes. I ran across lovely while linear HD environments. I took the only deviating paths to the floating treasure spheres. I grinded levels, summoned eidolons and synthesized weapons. And I might add that initially it was enjoyable.
But there were things about the game that really irritated me. I found the combat, for lack of a better word, boring. I thought that very few fights were optional later in the game seeing as to how everything could just catch you and attack. I found the design choice to include enemies in cramped halls that you must repeatedly traverse very poor. Many times I felt there was nothing to do but run ‘amuck’ viewing the scenery. The gil and experience farming did a number on my nerves. When I finally reached the open world chapter, I was as lost as Roger Ebert would have been at E3 2010.
Everyone knows that if you like a game, you accept its flaws and continue to enjoy the game. But one fateful day, a stray thought changed everything. I had not played the game for between one and two weeks. I didn’t particularly want to but more so felt I should play it. The train of thought went something like this:
“Man, it’s been a while since I played FFXIII. I really NEED to play that, I mean I did spend sixty hard earned bucks on it.”
So I had got up and went to put the game in when it hit me. I did not WANT to play Final Fantasy XIII, but felt as though I needed to in order to validate my purchase. That feeling is the topic of this editorial. Should I have played it then, it would not have been for entertainment or enjoyment purposes, but because I felt obligated to it. I’m here to inform my fellow gamers that this feeling is simply unacceptable.
Video games as we know them by their very nature, are to provide fun, happiness, and be something you look forward to. Not a daunting that sits in the back of your mind, taunting you, reminding you that you wasted your money on it. I haven’t played the game since.
I actually took it in last week, and combined with a coupon GameStop emailed me, the game was worth 32 bucks, nearly half what I paid. I put it towards my copy of Super Street Fighter IV, which I must say is pretty fun to me.
The moral of the story is this: If you ever feel as though you are playing the game because you have to, or it begins to feel daunting, put it down. That wasn’t the developers intent. Count your losses and take it in, put it towards something you’re fairly certain you’ll enjoy.
Play games that you enjoy, games that you love, that you’d play nonstop if you had the option. You’re not doing yourself or the industry any favors by playing because you feel obligated. Now if you really like a game, the achievements/trophies may become a kind of a chore (like the warrior and voyeur achievements from BlazBlue I did this past weekend) but that’s okay since you love the game and are working towards a milestone you can take pride in. Also, because you enjoy the game, those achievements only work to further an already positive experience.
Play what you love and NOTHING less. Thanks for your time.