I love video games. That’s part of the reason why I play so many games, as I attempt to experience every story, gameplay mechanic, and innovation that comes out. As I look at my gaming PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Super NES Classic all connected to my workstation, I am sad that I do not currently own PlayStation 4 and am therefore missing out on so many other experiences. Nevertheless, I know that I appreciate video games in all shapes and forms and celebrate the positivity found all throughout this fantastic hobby.
I previously wrote articles on Appreciating Video Games Through Variety and Appreciating Video Games Through Repetition. But what about just appreciating games? Too often we focus on the negative aspects of the things that surround us. We discuss all the things wrong with Destiny 2 without focusing on some of the things it does very well. I often tell Brian that he is playing games wrong and should instead be playing game x or game y or both.
Sometimes I succumb to the roulette of too much variety. Having so many different games to play that I am instantly overwhelmed with indecision. Other times I am stuck in the trap of too much repetition. Where I focus so much on a single experience that I lose sight of everything else. This happened in 2014-2015 when I focused solely on Destiny. I spent the next two years catching up on all the great games that I missed and earlier this year I finally completed Dragon Age: Inquisition. But this was also a feeling of helplessness as it is impossible to play and fully enjoy every game that is released.
The beacon of hope throughout the video game industry is not every game is designed to be enjoyed by every person. But each new game or new game experience can bring another gamer into the industry as the medium continues to grow and prosper. Every year popular video game websites declare that this was the best year for gaming yet. They aren’t wrong. We are celebrating the golden age of video games.
There are so many different games to play, all of them are offering something new and unique for a growing fanbase of gamers. It is both a blessing and curse for video game websites like Spoon Deep as we sift through the countless games released each month, trying to provide the best coverage possible. While also trying to get the most enjoyment possible out of each unique experience. I missed both Nier: Automata and Ni-Oh this year, which from everything I have seen from both games might be two of my favorite games of all time. I still haven’t played Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus or Assassin’s Creed Origins. In previous years I would have opened the new Assassin’s Creed game on Christmas and immediately surrounded myself with its world and narrative. Today I have a backlog so long that Assassin’s Creed Origins is just another game on a long list of must play games.
Out of all the games on my list I have found myself spending most of my time with Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove for the Nintendo Switch. A game that I have already played through on the Wii U. But that is the beautiful thing about gaming, I try so hard to spend my time with a variety of games that sometimes I just need some repetition. Sometimes I am too focused on just completing a game rather than enjoying the journey. I have written before that sometimes the worst part of a game is the ending, because that means that the experience is over. On the flipside, sometimes I am so focused on creating the perfect build and grinding to find the perfect weapon that I also stop enjoying the experience of the gameplay. In the case of certain games presented as a service the worst part is still the ending, because the game does not end.
Currently I have a large backlog of games. Sometimes I will look up how long it takes to beat each game on the list and calculate how quickly I can finish the backlog. This often leads me to play some other game for an hour or two that I hadn’t even considered playing, and thus the backlog grows. I may start leaving more games unfinished. I still want to play a variety of games, but without the expectation that I need to complete it. If the story or gameplay does not instantly grab me I may not finish it.
The Witcher III was one of those games that did not instantly grab me. I played through and enjoyed the tutorial zone, but the subsequent areas were too difficult and frustrating. I had not yet found the great gameplay loop that I had read about in the reviews. A year or two later I picked up the game from where I left off and something clicked. I did not put the game down for the next month, or at least until I found all the Gwent cards. I even replayed a large chunk of the game in order to complete Yennefer’s love story. The same thing happened with Prey, I play through about 4 hours last May with a mediocre impression. When I picked it up in December I ripped through 15 more hours in a week as the game dug its premise under my skin.
When Destiny 2 was released I played about 100 hours in three weeks. I don’t know where the time went, all I knew was that I was having a blast. I appreciate video games. I also appreciate the fact that sometimes a game is not for you. Sometimes a game hooks you into it’s repetitive loop and won’t let go and sometimes a game slowly sinks it’s teeth into you over months or years.
The game’s on my backlog would not take very long to beat. If I played them like I played Destiny 2 during it’s launch week, I could finish all of them in a month. But that might ruin my appreciation for the games. Finding the balance between variety and repetition is difficult when there are games designed for every kind of player. But appreciating each game for the experiences they offer is easy, even if you don’t get to experience all of it.
Jake “prettyboyplaid” Fredericks