Sunday Soapbox: Seasons of Gaming

Where are the pegs? Or zombies?

Where are the pegs? Or zombies?

Well that was a bit of a silly week, no? Low-key, maybe, but fun nonetheless. In fact, it was nice to create a list of games that I would otherwise never talk about. Not one of the games in my Sunshine Games List would crack my top ten favourite games, or maybe even my top 25, but they were all easy picks for me. Even Flower is too melancholy, and FFIX too melodramatic and involved to be considered. And it was interesting devising my list because my criteria essentially consisted of two categories: “Fun-loving” and “Fun to play”. This made me wonder how much fun I actually have playing the games I typically find myself playing.

It should come as no surprise that I’m a RPG guy. But I like them for customization, story, mood, and the feeling of satisfaction in seeing direct benefits to the time I put in. I’m really having the same amount of fun I have when I see a movie. I enjoy myself, and I’m taking in an experience, but it’s rare for me to be giggling furiously in my seat because of all the fun I’m having. Next up is sports games; I essentially play them like RPGs. I create my entire team from scratch and the actual matches are just means to an end. The end being staring at stat pages. Finally, I can be a racing game fan on occasion, but even then I’ve enjoyed the Gran Turismo series and Forza 3 because you start with shitty cars and the more you race, the more you unlock more races and better cars. See the pattern here?

Now I’m not knocking this at all. I love the games I play and the reasons why I play them, it’s just interesting to compare a game like Tecmo Stackers to a game like NHL 10 and notice that one is more of an activity and the other more like a “game”. Not to make this soapbox into another tired “we need a new word for ‘games’” because I disagree, “game” is a fine term, and it’s not going anywhere. The term “graphic novel” is accurate, but you’ll still sound like a pretentious asshole when you say it.

That's better.

Believe it or not, what I’m trying to say with all this is that I love that we celebrate the seasons here at Riddlethos and I love that we try to draw arbitrary parallels to the gaming world as well. Because – like the seasons – all facets of gaming have their place and – like the seasons – these different sides can actually compliment and juxtapose each other very well. Just tonight I enjoyed the hilarious writing and incredible music of Lunar, then I made my season in NHL 10 extremely unbalanced by making all the settings wildly in my favour just to see how high I can get my stats, then finally I came to my room and tried to beat my high score in a survival mode with Plants vs. Zombies. How gloriously diverse. I was able to soak in the art of others, exploit settings to boost my ego, and give myself a challenge all within a few hours and all within the same medium.

But I should wrap this up before it becomes more scattered than the recently troubled Scatter Storming column. The point is that like long Canadian Winters, sometimes the beauty and novelty of 82 hour RPGs or 82 game NHL seasons starts to wear thin, and stupid fun like Peggle can melt away gaming fatigue like seeing blossoms on trees that you forgot were alive. Wow, when the similes get that bad, it’s time for bed. Goodnight, and I look forward to seeing you all for Backlog Week 2!

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