MetalFRO's Blog

Posted on Oct 8th 2020 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Video Games, gaming, choice paralysis, variety

One of the things that I've been thinking about lately is variety. As the saying goes, "Variety is the spice of life." As I've gotten older, and have less time to game than I used to, I want to make sure that I'm still having new experiences, and not getting stuck in a rut. Being a podcast host, focusing on a single genre, it would be easy for me to fall into the rote exercise of playing that one type of game, and make my gaming life pretty shallow. Thankfully, I haven't (yet) succumbed to such a fate.

One way to alleviate that potential  fate is to jump into mobile gaming. Already, some have stopped reading after the last sentence, but I don't mean you should play terrible phone games. What I mean is, do something different. I don't play a lot of mobile games, but I enjoy the occasional match-3 type of game. It exercises my brain differently than the types of games I play on console or PC. I also play Words With Friends, to help continue to develop my vocabulary, and I often fire up some version of Solitaire on my phone, when I only have 5 or 10 minutes to play, and don't otherwise have access to something else. Besides that, Solitaire makes a great distraction while you're sitting on the throne, so to speak.

I don't think this would work very well in the restroom.

Now that I have the elephant in the room on the table, let's get back to the meat and potatoes. As simple as it sounds, sometimes we need to look outside the genre boundaries that usually confine us. I'm very much an action-oriented gaming kind of guy. I like shmups, platform games, 3rd person action games, etc. That tends to be where I live, in terms of most of my gaming. But within that space, there's a lot of variety. You can pick up a simple Atari 2600 action title that's good for a 20-30 minute burst of gaming fun, or you can sink hours into something more complex, like I did recently with a blind run (on stream, no less) of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. I also recently participated in one of the RF Generation Community Playthrough games, the 3rd person cover shooter Gears of War. I played the original Xbox 360 version, and despite some issues with the game's control limitations, I had fun with it. I hadn't played a game of that style in a long time, so it felt more fresh.

But sometimes, you also need to really shake things up, and play something outside your comfort zone; even to the point of trying a genre you might already have decided you don't like, based on a bad experience or two. Not into RPGs? Try something that skirts the line, and doesn't hold to those genre conventions hard and fast, like Parasite Eve. Puzzle games leave you cold? Try a game like Celeste, which has lots of puzzle solving in it, but in a less abstract way. Don't care for racing games? Play Burnout, which takes a lot of the focus off the racing itself, or go full old school, and play some Outrun, which is really more about the journey, and the experience of driving, more than it is about racing other cars. Like story in games? Try a visual novel, if you haven't already, since those are all about the plot and character development. My point is, change it up from time to time. Sometimes, playing a game you wouldn't otherwise play, due to personal tastes, might help expand your horizons, or at the very least, give you more appreciation for your favorite genres, because it helps you further recognize and cement the things about those types of games that you like.

Eve says play what you want, and try new things...but please play my game, too!

The last suggestion I want to make - actually play the games! I'm extremely guilty of going out game hunting, picking up stuff at game stores, Goodwill, pawn shops, etc. and then letting that stuff sit on my shelf. Not everyone here at RF Generation is a die-hard collector, but that's the focus of this site, so enough of us buy more games than we'll typically play. Sometimes, it's a good idea to just grab a random game off the shelf and play it. I've done that a few times over the years, and in a few situations, I found games that really grabbed me. Sometimes, you don't click with a game, and that's okay. But when it does, sometimes you can discover a game that you wouldn't otherwise have played. I had picked up a copy of Medal of Honor: European Assault at Goodwill, and it went onto the shelf years ago. One day, I decided to put it in my PS2 and just play it. I haven't been into first-person shooters since the early days of the genre, so when the game began to engage me, I was surprised. But I saw the game through to the last level, though I was never quite able to win the final fight. The point is, try something you have in your collection that you haven't thought about picking up before - you might be pleasantly surprised!

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