I’m learning to enjoy the time between games. That calm moment following the end of a game (or decision to stop playing) and the anticipation of starting something new.
Occasionally, I’ll almost feel guilty about not playing, like I’m doing myself a disservice. But games aren’t meant to be a chore, a task to be completed. They’re meant to be experiences and entertainment. Pausing between games helps me to reset, to process what I’ve just finished, and to build up to whatever comes next.
I’m looking forward to playing something new, of course. My list of games I’d like to play far outweighs the amount of time I have to play them. But for now, it’s relaxing to just wait.
Make sure you have your favorite beverage ready (alcoholic or otherwise), because in this episode I sit down with Caleb to talk games, how they’ve prepared him for his current job and how his early experiences informed the kinds of games he likes.
Tell me if this sounds familiar: a review embargo lifts, the scores and headlines start flooding your news feed (whether that’s Facebook, Twitter, an RSS feed, or whatever), and you think, “Well shit, I wasn’t planning on buying this game, but now I feel like I have to.
Or this: “Wow, this writer totally tore the latest Final Fantasy game apart. They must have a grudge against the series or something.”
Everyone is going to have drastically different experiences with a game, and everyone is going to have different tastes from at least a portion of their audience. An aggregate review score from sites like Metacritic does nothing to tell you if you’re going to like a game. Look at the top 10 games on that site and I’m sure there’s bound to be some you dislike. So if there’s no objective way to measure the quality of a game, or to predict our own enjoyment, how are we supposed to make informed purchasing decisions?
You know how you take recommendations from friends way more seriously than you would from a critic? Or how everyone seems to have that person they know that, when they suggest a game or movie, you know it’s time to pass? That’s because you know these peoples’ tastes. And you need to take that same consideration into any reviews you read.
So do some research on your journalists before you take their reviews too seriously. And don’t hate on someone for disliking a game you like or expect to like. No game is going to be for everyone. There’s just no way. Just find out who shares your tastes, and you’ll be able to judge more clearly how you can expect to enjoy a game.
We’re not too far into 2017, and already we’ve had an impressive amount of amazing games. Personally, I’m still trying to catch up on games that came out last year. And I haven’t even finished The Witcher 3 yet.
But having great games to choose from is a good thing. What needs to change is the way we look at them. People get so critical about games, but the fact is there’s so many to choose from, knowing what game may not be for you is going to be the key.
Nobody tries to watch every movie or TV show, listen to every album, or read every book, right? We identify what our interests are and prioritize. So where do go from here, when it seems like there are more games coming out than there is time to play them?
Niche down. Don’t settle. Find the games you truly love and focus on those. When you want novelty, search for it. There is always going to be a wealth of experiences to choose from.
And learn to get over FOMO (fear of missing out). Games shouldn’t be treated as a to-do list, and sometimes we just have to accept that a game won’t meet our standards.
It’s a shift in thinking that might be hard to swallow, but it’s ultimately a good thing. It’s just going to take some adjustment.
The internet is ablaze with controversy.
Is America spiraling into destruction, or is it rising to greatness?
Is Mass Effect: Andromeda amazing or shit?
Is pineapple on pizza a God-given blessing, or a culinary abomination?
Here’s the thing: no matter how many people you ask, you’re never going to come to a consensus on these things. Even if you could instantaneously poll the entirety of the population, and 90% of them said “Yeah, pineapple on pizza is pretty much the best,” that doesn’t make that definitively true for the other 10%.
Why is that?
Maybe because we are each complex life forms, each with years of unique life experiences banked in our minds, and individual tastes often beyond our control?
So maybe, the next time someone says to you, “Boy howdy, Suicide Squad sure was the bees knees,” the least you can do is say “I didn’t enjoy it, but I’m glad you did.” And if you’re feeling especially ambitious, try “Interesting, I didn’t like it myself. What did you like about it?” Because in learning about others, what they like, and why they like things, we can better help define why we don’t like something, and at least come to appreciate differing tastes.