Thursday, August 16, 2012

Video Game Genres I've Given Up On

I think as we all get older, we start getting a little more selective about various forms of entertainment we choose to occupy our limited free time.

I know that with gaming, the titles I find fun has narrowed quite a bit over even the lifespan of this blog, and it was in thinking about that subject that some definite trends started to emerge.

Of course, having given this topic a little time to sit and settle, it also allowed me to go through a summer Steam sale and put my money where my mouth was.

So here are the kinds of games that I think I've just grown out of. It isn't a definitive list, partially because there are a lot of games which straddle multiple genres and partially because there are still games I enjoy in genres that for the most part I am going to give a wide berth to in the future.

Racing Games: First, I should preface this by saying that Mario Kart and games like that will always be fun, and I am not talking about those ones. No, I am talking about those simulation racing games like Forza, GRID and Gran Turismo... and even some of the arcade ones like the Burnout or Midnight Club series. Basically, I am talking about games that are really predicated on performance perfection. You cannot make a single mistake or else you won't win or advance. Think about the license tests in the Gran Turismo series for instance... they demanded near perfection to open up new events, and that just isn't fun for me anymore. I mean, in nearly every other genre of gaming, you can make mistakes and recover and finish, but in a lot of these titles, with the way they are designed, it is just a slog. There was a point where I would keep forcing myself to play them because at one time I really did enjoy them, and I still had that expectation, but the thrill is gone.

Steam Sale Outcome: I bought Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box for 4 bucks. For 4 dollars, yeah, I can just shrug and not get too upset that I own it now. And I almost bought Dirt 2 for 5 because I like the Point-to-Point racing in ATV Offroad Fury 4 and I thought it might have had the same kind of racing in it.

Strategy Games in General: I remember when I was younger, I was enthralled by games like Civilization, Cossacks, Steel Panthers, Romance of the Three Kingdoms and the like but something changed for me, and I can't really put my finger on what it was. I mean, for a time, I was continuing to buy games of this style, both turn-based and real-time strategy, and it just doesn't thrill me anymore. I think the first hints that I wasn't really into strategy games anymore was the fact that I had installed and uninstalled Civilization III three times on my old computer after playing a couple of short games each time, and there were a few other games from Matrix that I had also tried around the same time that had similar fates. And even recently, I tried playing Starcraft II and I just couldn't get into it. I can see the quality of design and the attention to detail, and I can't deny it is a good game, but it isn't for me anymore, and there are times when I find myself looking at other games like Victoria II or Wargame: European Escalation with a particular longing, but I know deep down that it is best that strategy games and myself should part as old friends rather than acrimonious enemies full of bitterness and regret. I do think I probably still like the Total War series, but I can't be sure at this point.

Steam Sale Outcome: I bought a Galactic Civilization II bundle for 5 bucks. I was tempted by Civilization IV because it kept going on sale. And I bought the newest DLC for Crusader Kings II, a game which I will be writing about in the future.

JRPGs: Now this one I totally understand. Like it is as clear as day for me. I don't like turn-based combat at all, and as a kid, I only tolerated it because at the time it was connected to some of the best stories in gaming. But now that almost every genre of gaming has stepped up and produced some really good narratives, I am no longer boxed in by that seemingly artificial combat constraint. I didn't notice my break from this genre until after I got my PS2 since I didn't really buy JRPGs for that system until much later... like I had exhausted almost every genre the system had before I started buying JRPGs. And then I remembered that I hadn't finished Final Fantasy IX or Chrono Cross either on the PSX, and Dragon Quest VIII was one of my earlier purchases for the PS2, and I never finished it because the battle system was just so tedious. Yes, that is the word that I think best describes most of my time playing games in this genre: it was tedious. After finally playing an Elder Scrolls game and some of the work of Bioware, I think I can safely say that I am firmly entrenched on the Western RPG side of the cultural divide now. I also have a distinct feeling that Persona 3 FES may have been my final JRPG, and I think I am ok with that. Even thinking about starting a new game in this genre leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Steam Sale Outcome: I bought a cheap action-RPG called Chantelise which I probably will never play. Why? Because I bought The Witcher 2, Jade Empire, Legend of Grimrock, Divine Divinity and Divinity II... all Western RPGs. So yeah, I think I won that battle.

Now I am wondering if any of you, my readers, have given up on particular genres of gaming you used to enjoy when you were younger?


Lee Sargent said...

Adventure games but mostly because there don't appear to be all that many for the Mac and I'd feel weird playing them on the consoles.

Semaj said...

JRPG: I am really considering getting back into the Online gaming with Final Fantasy XIV 2.0 in the winter.
Then again, I've been playing FFT off and on for a while now.

MC said...

Lee: Well, if people start buying them again, I am sure there will be more coming down the pike.

Semaj: Be careful... it seems the online model for games is changing towards free to play across the board (WoW excepted).

Kristyn said...

Fight games. I've given them up completely, mostly because, well, I'm terrible at them. I enjoy them (mostly), but I've finally acknowledged that I suck.

My favorite games are MMOs. Okay, well, just one really. I've devoted so much time to WoW, it's insane. I don't think I'll ever give that one up. :)