It would be exhausting to want to play everything, anyway.
This may come as a surprise, but I have friends. Some of those friends even play video games, and those that do, vary widely in what they enjoy. Many of my D&D buddies for instance are really into Japanese culture and regularly play games from across the Pacific. They enjoy them, after all. In fact, the vast majority of my friends tend to enjoy JRPGs and the like.
My family tends to gravitate more towards western games. My step-father plays strategy games (RTS and turn-based) and shooters primarily. My mother tends to enjoy playing games like World of Tanks and Warframe. My sister doesn’t play many games, but she recently purchased an Xbox One with a copy of Assassin’s Creed: Origins, and she loves it.
Jennifer and I tend to enjoy RPGs and shooters, and I myself also love playing racing games, platformers, strategy games, management games (like Cities: Skylines), and sometimes a simulation game is what I’m looking for.
Mind you, not the joke simulation games like Grass Simulator or whatever; games like Elite: Dangerous and whatnot.
However, that doesn’t mean I don’t branch out every now and then.
Switching and Slashing
Not long ago, I got the bug to get my hands on a Nintendo Switch, so I hinted not-so-subtly to Jennifer that I wanted one to play Super Mario Odyssey. She inevitably got the system for me for my birthday, and my mother helped out a bit to help cover the cost. Jennifer also inevitably caved, and gave my gift to me early, because she loves me and I couldn’t help myself but try to convince her to let me have my gift a tad bit sooner than my birthday.
The thing is though, the Switch is a platform which wouldn’t have appealed to me before. Just three years ago, I was a bit more of a dude-bro. I played gritty action games and shooters with cover mechanics and realistic weapons. Even the RPGs I played were rather mainstream. Regardless, I really enjoyed what I played and didn’t feel like I was missing out on much.
Sure, games like Dark Souls, Journey, and Dragon’s Dogma were out, but I just wasn’t interested.
Here’s the thing. On one hand, had I never had the inclination to step outside my comfort zone, I never would’ve played Super Mario Odyssey and learned what a joy it is. I never would’ve experienced NieR: Automata and discovered that it is indeed, a great game. I also never would have played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and had a change of heart from my preconceived notions about it.
I would’ve missed out.
And that’s okay.
I would’ve gone on, playing the types of games that I’ve always played, and I still would’ve been as happy as a clam. Sure, I would be missing out from another’s perspective, but to me I wouldn’t be missing anything. That doesn’t mean I’m not glad that I took a risk with some of the games I’ve tried out over the years. In fact, I’m very happy with my choices. However, from my perspective I had nothing to lose from not diving in.
There appears to be a sense out there on the internet, among the message boards, forums, and Discord channels, that failing to enjoy something that others like is a sin of sorts. You needn’t look any further than the “professional” reviews of games from bigger sites and personalities, where a game with a following receives a poor review score. A game like Uncharted 4 or The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild receiving a verdict that isn’t glowing is often met with outrage.
And to some extent, I can understand why that feeling exists. As humans, we crave patterns and attempt to see them anywhere we can. Deviations from the norm upset that balance, and to see an otherwise lauded title getting a middling reception from someone definitely fits with that line of thinking. Obviously, the person who feels that the game which is well liked by many people might not be the best thing ever, is wrong.
But barring the depths of WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr posts which lambaste something for the sake of being as edgy as possible, those feelings are never honestly wrong.
Okay, So What’s The Point?
There isn’t a right or wrong to liking or disliking games, just as there isn’t a right or wrong to liking or disliking certain music or art. Sure, there are those out there that appreciate just about every piece of art, regardless of the technique used by the artist or style of the work, but those people are rather rare. The same applies to video games, especially if games are to be considered artistic.
I don’t like most rap or hip hop. I don’t find appreciation in some styles of art, like most of what I’ve seen of contemporary art. I’m by no means an expert on music or paintings, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a piece I’ve seen or a track I’ve heard. Perhaps that makes me an uncultured swine, but I would rather be an uncultured swine than a pretentious douchebag.
You might be wondering, what’s the point? The point is that there really isn’t anything wrong with not liking JRPGs, racing games, sports titles, or platformers. If you don’t like games like Super Mario Odyssey, retro games like Metroid, or even Metal Gear Solid, you aren’t doing anything wrong. You aren’t any less of a gamer, and anyone attempting to imply that you’re wrong for not liking something they enjoy is the video game equivalent of the pompous jackass in an art gallery, sneering at other visitors for not “getting” the piece they admire.
I’d like to put something on the record, mostly because Jennifer reminded me about this over and over. I’m not good about this either. Often before, and even sometimes these days, I find myself trying to defend a game I enjoy because I feel like it’s necessary. I think everyone deals with this issue on a regular basis, when confronted with an opposing view. However, I think acknowledging that I have this issue is a step in the right direction.
So while it’s important to not crap all over something someone else likes, just because you don’t share the same interests, the same applies in reverse. Just because you like something, that doesn’t mean that others should be required or expected to feel the same way. To go a step further, that also means that just because everyone else says something is good, that doesn’t mean you should feel obligated to experience it for yourself.
Play what you like. Challenge your tastes, but remember that games are there for fun. If it doesn’t sound fun to you to take a chance on something different, don’t. There’s nothing wrong with sticking with what you know as long as you’re having a good time!
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