How Do You Get Your Game On?: Question on your approach to gaming?
Recently, I posted the above question on a major gaming site's message boards. What's your approach to gaming? I thought it would be interesting to see how other gamers handled their hobby. The following article proposes to investigate not only what influences players to buy a new game, but once it's home and in the machine, exactly how one approaches their play time. Throughout the piece, you'll see quotes from the gamers who responded to my query. They'll be reproduced here exactly as they appeared in the post. I'll only be using the first initial of each individual's screen name (you know, that whole protecting the innocent thing).
Let's start with my initial post:
From: Skynet82997 (that's me, I don't need protection, and besides, you already know who I am): ?Question on your approach to gaming- What I mean is, what kind of gamer are you? Do you buy a new game and plow through it as fast as you can? Or do you take your time? Personally, when I get a new game, I like to play the game at my leisure. For example, I just bought MOH: Frontline the other night. As soon as I played through the first level, I immediately played it again, even though I could have saved and moved on. I played the 3rd level 4 times, just because it was so much fun. Of course, I eventually finish all my games, but even Halo took me 3 weeks to complete, because I couldn't wait ?til I was finished with the game to play my favorite sections again!! Also, when I get a new game I like to read every review I can get my hands on, as well as check out the boards specific to that game (in other words I'm obsessed with it).?
As evidenced by the previous quote, I like to take my time with new games, explore every nook and cranny of a level, and really soak in the atmosphere of the title. When I first picked up Spider-Man for Xbox (a game I had been highly anticipating for some time) I spent lots of time just exploring the city, checking out all of Spidey's abilities, and really learning how to handle the character. I had such a good time marveling at how incredible the city and character models looked, that I wound up replaying the first level several times before saving and moving on. I can't tell you how many times I replayed the beach assault from The Silent Cartographer in Halo. I mean I really can't tell you, not because I don't want to, but because I really don't know!! I lost count after the umpteenth time (actually, I guess I lost count before that, since umpteen isn't even a real number). All I know is that storming the beach alongside your Marines, taking out Covenant Grunts and Jackals with assault rifles and grenades, and the sweet sound of FoeHammer dropping a Warthog from her Pelican onto the beach so you can mop up the remaining enemy in style sent chills down my spine, and I couldn't wait to do it again!! So as we can see, I definitely like to spend my time with a new game bouncing around like a moron while I sit there with a slack-jawed expression of amazement on my face.
From: I: ?I play my games whenever I have time?girlfriend always naggin me when she comes home so I try to squeeze in as much time?when I wuz younger I use to just PLOW thru games in one sitting, but it takes the fun out of it and it's supposed 2provide entertainment not become ur job (unless ur a game reviewer) so I just take my time and explore the crap out of them (b4 the nag machine comes home and kicks me off so she can play some Monkey Ball).?
So here's another gamer that enjoys taking his time with a game. The nag machine non-withstanding (see what I mean about protecting the innocent? The nag machine probably wouldn't appreciate her secret nickname), here's a player that likes to explore the game to it's fullest. Notice how he mentioned plowing through games when he was younger, although I wonder if that has more to do with games of yesteryear, than personal choice (with no save system, games had to be started from the beginning every time you played). Long, story driven games like MGS2 and Max Payne wouldn't have been possible 10 years ago. An open-ended title like Grand Theft Auto III would have been impossible as well. How far we've come since those days). Either way, he seems to appreciate taking the time to get the most out of a game.
From: P: ? I play a game when I feel like playing, I don't rush through. The only time I rush is at the end of an RPG, and it's hard for me to play through a game twice, I don't think I ever have done that.?
Interesting. Here's another gamer who likes to stop and smell the virtual flowers (so far this seems to be a trend, maybe I'm not the only slack-jawed yokel out there in the gaming community!), though he's indicated that he likes to give a big push at the end of an RPG. I understand that. When I sense the end of the adventure drawing near, I'm usually motivated to push forward at an accelerated pace in order to finish the game. Although, much like a great movie that I don't want to end, realizing that I'm about to polish off an amazing gaming experience does make me feel kind of sad. I never wanted Metal Gear Solid 2 to end!! The other point here is the question of replay value. P has indicated that he's never played through a game twice. I can't say that I haven't, but I usually have less enthusiasm for a title in repeated plays (I'm talking about linear adventure games, not racers or other genres that have built in replay value). Once I've seen all the environments and levels and completed the game, I'm usually done. Even if there's an alternate ending to be unlocked, it's usually not worth my time. That's why I like to repeat certain areas before saving and moving on. If I'm enthralled with a particular part of the game, I'll dawdle there for a while and get my fill. The promise of new areas and plot twists as yet unseen keeps me playing, but once I've seen it all, I'm ready for the next title. Which brings us to the next post.
From: J: ?I like to take my time with games, but I tend to buy too many at one time, then never have the time to play them all. Example: STILL trying to play Red Faction, but it seems like everytime I start to play it, a new game comes out that I have to have and I play that. But I like to finish every game I have, so it can be frustrating.?
I understand that feeling all too well. Because I also like to take my time with games, not to mention the occasional deadline for a review (where I must play the heck out of the title in order to be able to give an accurate rating), I constantly find myself playing at least two games at once. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, as taking a break from a long, story intense adventure like Eternal Darkness to cause some mindless mayhem in State Of Emergency or run a few races in Rallisport Challenge or Splashdown, can be cathartic and allow me to re-approach the adventure game with renewed vigor. Though it's tough when new games come out that are must haves while I'm still in the middle of a previous title. J continues: ?Speaking of Medal Of Honor, I wanted to play the Nijmegen Bridge level over about 10 more times. That had to be the funnest, coolest level I have played in any game in a long time. Nothing like snipering from high atop a bridge. Great game.? See what I mean?! Certain games, and furthermore certain areas of said games, strike a chord with players. They evoke a visceral response that can't be easily explained. If you're a gamer you feel it, if you're not you don't. It's as simple as that. It's what makes you want to stay up all night hunting for hidden packages all over Portland, or giving the Pillar Of Autumn one more run through to see if you can keep all of your marines alive.
From: V: ?I like to refer to myself as a seasoned hardcore gamer. When I was younger I'd buy at least one game per week, and at a time even three or four. They could be brand new games or bargain bin games, but I bought them like they were selling on ebay for a million dollars, lol. As I've gotten older, I'm spending less and less on games. I'm beginning to overlook a lot of good games because it just isn't worth it. When I look at my three cd towers and see all of the average- or worse- games that I wouldn't play if you paid me, I feel f'n stupid. I'm a huge PC gamer. Since I can't rent PC games, I've become extremely picky about what games I'll actually buy. I've somewhat limited myself in PC and console gaming to established series that I know will be worth the purchase. In the console world it is a little different in that I only own an Xbox for now. After E3 I am blown away by the number of awesome games coming to the Xbox and I'm so impressed that I know that I'll have to pass on some really great games because I just can't afford it. For console games, I rent a hell of a lot. Again I like the established series. I will buy MGS2: Substance the day it's released, however, I will wait and see how Splinter Cell is after I give it a rent. Metal Gear Solid is, imo, one of the best games of all-time, and I'll gladly lay down $50 of my hard earned cash to enjoy a similar experience. But the folks behind Splinter Cell will have to prove to me that the game is, indeed, a ?MGS killer?. I won't buy it until I see it, no matter how wonderful the game looks in the previews. Now I do still take risks, especially on consoles. I bought Hunter: The Reckoning the day it came out knowing that I could be burned and hate the game. This one turned out fine, as I really like the game. There are quite a few games coming out that I will buy when they're released that aren't established to me, that I could get burned on. Morrowind, for example. It looks like it'll be a Game of the Year candidate imo, and I'll take the risk here. Enclave, another example. The game looks wonderful!! The same goes with Project Ego and Star Wars: Galaxies. However, these games are in the minority. The vast majority of games that I buy are games that I'm 99% sure that I'll love.?
I've got to agree here. In my personal experience, knowing the industry is half the battle in choosing games that won't disappoint you. Following game designers and development houses that have proven track records can go a long way in indicating quality software. Also, gathering a solid cross section of reviews for a particular game from the major web sites and print mags can help separate the wheat from the chaff. Apparently, many other gamers feel the same way.
From: O: ?I buy all the must-haves, I try to get all the games that get a lot of reviews in the 9-10 or sometimes 9 and under range, if the game appeals to me. I play games when I'm bored and take my time with games. I spend a lot of times in games like Grand Theft Auto III or others just doing stuff for fun that I never thought I could do. Games are my form of entertainment, when people get bored and watch movies, I get bored and play games. Simple as that. I play games when I feel like it and take my time on them.?
Again, here we have a player who puts his faith in reviews and makes it a point to purchase games that receive above average scores. Not a bad strategy as long as you keep in mind my earlier point: that you should always have multiple sources for your game reviews, so as not to be swayed by one critic's opinion. Take a look at all the evidence and form your own conclusion. Back in the 16-bit days, I would go into the game store and pick out a game, largely unsolicited. Sometimes I'd get stuck with a stinker, and other times I'd find a real gem. Of course, big games still got hype and write-ups even back in the day, but today's gamer is more sophisticated, and everyone knows the star development houses. At this point the industry has reached unimagined heights, and gaming journalism can help players more than ever in making the right choices in the games they buy. If you take the time to do a bit of research, you'll be less likely to make disappointing purchases. That aside, here's yet another gamer who likes to take the time to fully immerse himself in the game. He makes another good point in noting that games are his form of entertainment. On the surface that seems obvious, if you play games then duh, it qualifies as your form of entertainment. However, if you think about it a bit further, how many people sit there night after night watching lame television shows? Let me tell you, it's a large number. Yet many of these people would view gaming with disdain, and deem it a waste of time. That's kind of ironic when you think about it. Videogames engage the player because they're interactive; by comparison watching television is a passive activity. I would venture to say, without hesitation, that the more stimulating activity is gaming. Wouldn't you agree? Personally I'm a big movie fan myself, but I still spend a far greater amount of time gaming than I do watching films. Though that's probably why I love games based on my favorite movies. Titles like The Thing or Terminator: Dawn Of Fate appeal to me because it's a real thrill to interact with my favorite settings and characters from beloved films. When handled properly, games based on movie licenses are a real treat. Rogue Leader is a perfect example of this. You get to relive all of the epic battles from the Star Wars trilogy, as well as engage in missions that unfold like lost footage from the vault at Skywalker ranch, and it's all wrapped up in an aural and graphical package that appears to have been ripped straight from the films. The only difference is that you're piloting the X-Wing, doing insane barrel rolls and ripping across the stars, blasting Tie-Fighters into careening balls of flame. You're not watching, you're participating, and that makes all the difference. Speaking of films, let's take a look at another post.
From: S: ?Similar to movies I tend to go with directors more than any titles?in gaming's case, this would be the dev houses. If the dev house has truly impressed me throughout the years, I will definitely buy the game without renting?but most of the time this is not the case as there are a nice quantity of slack out there. If I rent the game, I will plow right through it?.but plowing right through the game to me is getting everything, seeing everything etc. as fast as I can. Really?I take my time at the levels, chapters, worlds etc?.but I do not play through the level a multitude of times before I go on?.I simply go on. Different story if I purchase it. I will play levels over and over again for improvement?or if there is the added option of perfecting my time/score?.then again, I will constantly try to one-up myself. I initially plow through the game?but when I purchase it?.I will definitely go through the game ever so thoroughly so as to fulfill what exactly the dev house wanted us to experience.?
Now this is a man that I can thoroughly agree with. I always find myself interested in what Ridley Scott's next project is going to be, or when James Cameron might return to the action or sci-fi genre. I know Michael Mann makes good films, just like I know that Hideo Kojima is never going to let a piece of software with his name on it go gold without having done everything in his power to insure that players receive a superlative gaming experience. The Metal Gear Solid games?. Resident Evil?.the first Tomb Raider, Halo, Grand Theft Auto III, Doom, Castle Wolfenstein, Flashback and Fade To Black, the Mario games, Contra, Rygar?..the list is endless. These are the titles (among so many others) that define the best of videogaming; it's very heart and soul if you will. Innovation, perfection, radical play mechanics, unprecedented visuals and sound, and a depth that envelops the player and thoroughly engages them in the adventure at hand. Going with the talent and vision of game gurus like Miyamoto, Kojima or the boys at Bungie is where the smart money is. Then again, don't pass up new developers either, you just might find a diamond in the rough. Remember, everyone was just starting out at some point, and today's nobody may be tomorrow's star. All that aside, again we have a gamer who takes the time to see everything in the game, as well as perfect times and scores. Unless he's renting, and we all know about that. Five days to do whatever's necessary in order to beat the game. Time to plow.
From: V: ?As far as how I play the game goes, well, it depends on the game. I'll blow through Diablo 2 so fast it'll make your head spin, because I have a drive inside to have characters in the game that are f'n bad ass, and that can be considered some of the better characters in the entire world. Morrowind, on the other hand, I'll take my time with. I want to take it slowly to get the most enjoyment that I can out of the game.?
Interesting approach. Here's a player that wants to plow through an RPG, but only to level up his characters. Obviously he's interested in all the game has to offer (his desire to take in all of Morrowind establishes that) however, it's exactly this inherent trait that evokes the need for such a playing style. Establishing powerful characters is important in an RPG, and V is apparently in possession of a healthy Ego (hey, show me a gamer who isn't) and wants to have playable characters that resemble Aragorn and Legolas, not Bill and Ted. Fair enough. I guess you Diablo players should watch out for this guy.
So there you have it, real gamers giving their opinions on a topic that concerns us all. How much gaming time can we get, and after we figure that out, we need to get rolling on the next issue. Which is: where can we get even more time to play? So taking that into consideration, it's no wonder that we all demand high quality titles from developers. No one wants to waste their time playing through a lousy game, and most gamers in fact demand an extremely polished title, perfection really (or at least as close as possible), and when all the truly talented artists, programmers, writers and composers in the industry come together, we get games like Halo, Devil May Cry and Eternal Darkness. The hardcore are enamored with every facet of gaming, be it the behind the scenes minutia surrounding the creation of a new title, the competition and camaraderie afforded by online play, or just comparing console specs. Even more so, players value their time with a game, and only wish to be afforded the luxury to fully immerse themselves in the experience.
So what do the rest of you think? I'd love to hear from you guys and get your opinions and thoughts on gaming. How do you get your game on? Drop me a line and let me know, just click on the author link and E-mail your ideas. All the editors here at Gaming Target want to know how you guys (and girls, we know there's plenty of lady gamers out there) feel, so if you read a piece by any one of the staff here that strikes you, please don't hesitate to contact the author and give him your take on the game, or just discuss gaming in general. Also, please be sure to sign up and post in our forums, we really do want all the readers to have a voice. Now go play whatever you're currently infatuated with and wait for all the great titles that are due out this holiday season. With Xbox Live and Sony's online service about to launch, not to mention the dizzying amount of new software on the way, I think it's safe to say that every gamer will be occupied for the foreseeable future. All right, I'm off to play some GTA III. Happy gaming everyone, and remember, it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game.
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