People Hate The Games I Love, So What?
I have been playing videogames for 19 years, the first time I played, I was only two years old, I wasn’t good, by any stretch, but my brother plunked me down in front of the TV, stuck a Sega Genesis controller in my hand and played Mortal Kombat II with me. I don’t remember it that well, but obviously something stuck, because I’m only a few months away from being 22, and I’m still playing videogames pretty much every free moment I get. Sure, things have changed, my tastes have changed, I don’t really like Mortal Kombat now, pitchforks down, please, I just don’t like it because I suck at it.
Along the way over the many years, consoles, and series that I’ve played, there have been a few games that kind of stuck with me all these years, well, more than a few, I suppose. When I was younger, I didn’t really think much in the ways of “What makes a game good?”, I just figured if I liked it enough to play it a lot, it must be great, right? Well, let me tell you, Internet, my 6-year-old self was pretty heartbroken when he grew up and realized that a ton of Sonic fans really hated the transition from 2D to 3D, and that Sonic Adventure is actually – not so great.
Sure, the Sonic levels are fun, and the Tails, Knuckles, and E-102 levels are tolerable, but good heavens, Amy and Big are a chore to play through. What was I smoking when I thought that the Big The Cat levels were kind of fun as a kid? They’re complete and utter bullshit, who the hell programmed them and thought it was fun? Aside from that, did anyone play test that game and do anything besides just finish the levels? There’s some really weird and just plain stupid glitches in that game. For example, trying to stop in the middle of some of the loops in the game will just send you through the floor. Other times you’ll just clip right through walls just by standing in a path that the game expects you to run through. I mean, I know it was only 1999 and it was a new console and new technology, but falling through the floor and walls is a little inexcusable.
Now, the thing is, even though I know all of this stuff now, and I can critique a game that I grew up with, I still love it, and I’d rather play through Sonic Adventure to its full extent than play the latest Call of Duty for the equivalent amount of time. I don’t know what it is about some games, but no matter how broken or weird or repetitive or whatever they are, we just fall in love with them and can’t let go. I mean, I guess sometimes it’s just human nature to fall in love with people or things that aren’t good for us, not that playing Sonic Adventure is necessarily bad for you or anything.
There’s other examples I’ve got from when I was a kid, because when I was real young, I did not play Pokemon games. I watched the cartoon, sure, but I was all about Digimon as a kid, and as such, I was all about the Digimon games for the PS1. They went through Tamagotchi-style RPG to a 3v3 turn-based RPG to a 1v1 turn-based RPG, with a card game and a crappy fighting game thrown in that I won’t even try to start defending. As a kid, I had the timer on my save file maxed out on Digimon World 1, 2, and 3, according to them I played 99 hours, 99 minutes, and 99 seconds, and of course, I played well past that.
Every game seemed like such an epic adventure to me as a kid, and even when I go back now, they’re still pretty awesome and take me right back to my youth. However, looking at some of the reviews on these games now, and just kind of looking for certain things now with my refined critiquing ability, it’s pretty clear that they’re not the strongest games out there. Digimon World 2 is the grandest, most tedious RPG to build a good team in, constantly maxing out your team, then fusing them together and sending them back to level one just to do it again and again. Their max levels would increase every time you’d fuse them together, but you’d have to do it so many TIMES before you’d have a team that was good enough to progress to the endgame bosses.
Digimon World and World 3 were totally different from each other, but suffered from a similar problem, just that they were kind of cryptic. World was worse because it was the first one and there was a lot of bad Japanese-to-English translation, not to mention one game breaking glitch that could force you to reset your console in order to keep playing. It was just hard to know what you were supposed to do sometimes and a lot of the time you’d end up wandering around, and since your Digimon aged and could actually die of old age, it was a bad combination. World 3 had so many random encounters that it made you want to rip your hair out, because even just running (from battles) became tedious, and you did a lot of running around in that game. The games had a lot of problems that might have made them completely boring and unbearable to most people, and I know that, but, you know, I could totally go back and play all of them if you gave me the time to do so.
Basically, what I want to say is that it’s okay to like videogames that not everyone thinks are great, but don’t try to pass off any game as perfect. Sure, it might be perfect for you, but a big part in being a mature member of the gaming community is being able to admit that it’s not the greatest game ever and that it has issues. I love a lot of games that I know are pretty meh by most standards, and have a lot of bugs that can kind of ruin them for some people, but you know what? I like them a lot and I enjoy playing them, problems and all, and when people tell me how much they suck or how poorly made they are I say, “Yeah, it does suck, but it’s my sucky game”. Either that, or it’ll be a game from a series that might not be considered the best, like with the Tony Hawk games.
Most people that love those games are usually talking about games like Pro Skater 2 and the THUG games, but my favorite from the whole series is Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland. It’s not the best game in the series, and the story is something out of a children’s story book, but it was the first Tony Hawk game that I played to completion, and it came to me at a time in my life where I was kind of looking for an escape in the games that I was playing. Sure, I was only about 12 when I played it, but there was some stuff going on in my life around that time that was stressful and kind of pushed me to spend more time by myself with my games. I connected with the lackluster characters and mediocre story just because it was there and because the gameplay and challenge kept me going over and over and over again.
I suppose how much you like a game, even if it’s not very good, relies heavily on what’s going on in your life at that time, and that can go for a lot of things. Don’t let anyone tell you that a game you like isn’t good or that it’s not worth playing, because if you like it, and it makes you happy playing it, then play that shit. Don’t be afraid to admit that you love the Sonic Adventure games, because there’s always going to be other people that loved them too. I think the one problem that the gaming community has is that a lot of gamers put others down for the games they like, which really isn’t cool. I understand that maybe sometimes they just want to express their opinions, but a lot of the time, it just seems to come off as “Oh, you like that game? Here’s a bunch of reasons why you shouldn’t like it and why my favorite game is better.”
Friendly competition is cool, but straight up bashing each other for the games we like is not cool, so let’s try to be a little friendlier, yeah? Tell us about the games that you like, whether you think other people like them or not, because if they sound cool and I’ve never played them, I’d love to check them out!
“Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”