Have you ever thought of how you play video games? I probably play differently than you do.
Here is how I know: I LIKED Duke Nukem Forever. I also liked Medabots: Metabee, Persona 3 Portable, and Persona 4 Arena.
Now that the people who won't get the point of this article are gone. Here is why I think a lot people don't like Duke Nukem Forever. They played it wrong. That is to say, they didn't play it in a way that maximized their enjoyment of the game. 'It's a video game', you say. You move around, shoot things and solve puzzles. You either win ( you played it right and the credits roll) or you lose (at which point you hit reload). Well, that's only somewhat true. What most people don't seem to factor is the environment they play in.
Here's how I played Duke Nukem Forever and its DLC. Me and my long time buddy would hang once a week from maybe about 8PM till 2AM. We would drink a mix of energy drinks and vodka, and order a pizza. We would take turns, whenever one of us died or the game loaded a new area. It was a good time, the game's areas were varied enough that they didn't get boring and we could laugh at the dumb jokes (valve puzzles, heh). Was the game itself a master piece? No. Did we have fun? Yes. We did the same thing with Diablo III, Singularity,Red faction, and Syndicate (that one was actually bad, though).
I picked up Medabots Metabee (or Core 2 Medabee in japan) a little while ago at a local used shop. It's considered a mon style game, according to TV Tropes. This game was played like I play most other mon games, I put on a movie or whatever TV show me and my girl are currently marathoning, she knits and I play my game. It works great because you can stop paying attention to the game and you'll be OK, even during a fight. It's actually why I like games like Magi-Nation and Pokemon Black 2. They're so light that you can miss bits of the story and it's not a big deal. It's really too bad that more games like this don't come out more often (I'm looking at you Medabots 7). But some RPGs are not like that at all.
Persona 3 Portable shares many similarities with other mon games in the demon collection aspect, but it goes much beyond that. The story, the characters and the battle system come together to form a singularly rewarding experience. To play this game, I play it alone with noise blocking headphones to cover the sounds of the city. It's a game that I find requires the player's full attention to get the most out of. Now, you can play it like the other mon games mentioned, but I find games that thrive on the emotions of the players are best played in solitude, so that no external force influences the player's reaction.
An ironic direct opposite, games that are meant to be played in groups like Persona 4 Arena. These games are are great when you have a few friends over and play against each other using house rules like loser out. I'm sure many of you have fond memories of Soul Calibur, Street Fighter, and Smash Bros.. You can recreate that arcade feel and it's great. You get moments you talk about years after like the time me and a buddy played Soul Calibur 2 (GC) for hours on infinite rounds one night, just to see if the announcer voice would stop announcing rounds (the last round he announced was round 99). Or the time that me and another friend were playing Persona 4 Arena and we both picked the boxer Akihiko and our characters fist pounded before the match and we both sat there for a couple of beats, speechless due to the awesome.
The whole point of video games is to have fun and if you bought a game and find you're having trouble getting in to it, maybe you can get more enjoyment by playing it differently or changing the environment. Now, some games are actually plain bad, but I believe some games get a bad rap for simply not being the kind of game that you sit alone in front of your TV or hand held and play.
These are just a few examples of ways to play video games, so how do you play video games?