I enjoy playing video games. Even though I donít tend to play as much as some of my friends who I know to put in 20+ hours of gameplay in a weekend or more, I still get enjoyment out of them. I tend to like most genres with the exception of sports, but thatís another topic for another day. I also tend to play in short spurts of an hour or less typically, which is likewise another topic for another day. That being said, I do enjoy my games with platforming and RPGís the most prominent more often than not.
To get to the topic of this blog letís share a story. Not to bash on my roommate who is not the center of this blog - though he may think he is Ė we both recently acquired the new Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia game for the DS. Me playing in my short spurts have only so far managed to put in about 6 hours since itís come out while my roommate has already beaten it a few times. Now, about a week ago, before my roommate had beaten the game, he was at Dracula. He has yet to beat the game since he has yet to beat the last boss. He takes it upon himself to go look up Gamefaqs.com to find all the secrets of the game before taking on Dracula.
Hereís where I have a problem. If someone has yet to beat a game and they use online references to beat the game then that would be cheatingÖ right? Anyways, he goes and gets all the glyphs heís missed out on in the game and some of the good items as well and then proceeds to beat Dracula. I tell him itís an empty victory since he didnít beat Dracula using his own skills. His response is that once heís beat a game that heís unlikely to play it again since he will lack the initial drive he once had I suppose once one has Ďcompletedí a game. Well, so much for that argument seeing as he then proceeded to beat the other modes, including beating it on Max. Level 1. Anyways, the point is, would you consider him using Gamefaqs before beating the game to be construed as cheating?
First, letís take a look at the definition of cheating. Dictionary.com says this:
1. To act dishonestly; practice fraud.
2. To violate rules deliberately, as in a game: was accused of cheating at cards.
3. Informal To be sexually unfaithful: cheat on a spouse.
4. Baseball To position oneself closer to a certain area than is normal or expected: The shortstop cheated toward second base.
Now, Iím going to focus on that #2 right there. To violate rules deliberately, as in a game. Does it violate the rules that the game developer put forth and built into this game? Well, letís give another example I suppose.
Iíll use my roommate as an example yet again. (Donít hate me, youíre just a good target.) A while back when it first came out, my roommate got Final Fantasy 7: Crisis Core for the PSP. He worked very diligently to complete most of the quests and make it to the final boss. I have yet to play the game myself, but he gives me a few going-ons about it as he goes through. I find out he made it to the final boss (and I canít remember if he actually beat him first or not, but Iím going to assume he skipped him for the time being) and decided to go do this special quest instead. This special quest led him to the gameís secret boss upon which my roommate was decimated. I believe he tried for maybe a few tries but the point is he spent less than an hour trying to beat this boss. He then goes onto Gamefaqs to find out how heís supposed to beat this boss. He uses the supposed Ďoptimal equipment settingsí and beats this secret boss.
I have yet again the same problem. He did not use his own skills to beat tackle this problem. I mean, the game developers obviously put this boss in there to pose a challenge to the gamers but what use is it when you can just go to Gamefaqs and just find some cheap strategy or the optimal items to just beat him easy? Granted, I would like to think there is at least a tiny bit of work needed to still beat that last boss, but thatís besides the point. Is using Gamefaqs to beat a game considered cheating?
How about we look at a different genre of games: puzzles. If I were to go out and buy the game Eccochrome and immediately use Gamefaqs to get through the whole game then would that be cheating? The whole purpose of a puzzle game is to force the player to think for themselves, not to let someone else do the thinking for them just so they can beat the game themselves.
Letís say someone is playing a game they truly enjoy and yet they get stuck in a particular spot? If that player doesnít even put forth any effort in trying to become unstuck and immediately references Gamefaqs, is that cheating? How about if that person tries for 30 minutes to an hour to get unstuck before going to Gamefaqs? A day? A week? At what point does it become necessary for that person to quit using his own mind and rely on the genius of others in order to complete the tasks before him?
I, myself, am ill-prone to ever using Gamefaqs to get myself out of a bind in any game. Then again it also tends to lead for me to quit playing a game altogether when I get stuck and am still stuck a week later. Prime example being me stuck in Zelda: Master Quest. Iíve been stuck for at least a year now but quit playing it a long time ago because I got stuck. So now I begin to wonder, should I resort to Gamefaqs so I can continue to enjoy the game that I own?
So I suppose one might argue to me that using Gamefaqs to overcome a hurdle in a game they may be stuck on will help them to continue to enjoy a well-made game. I might be inclined to agree. On the other hand, what about using Gamefaqs to finish some alternative path in a game thatís only point is to be overbearingly hard for no apparent reason or for some grand hidden power that will help overpower the game? I might be inclined to disagree.
No matter the case it seems that using Gamefaqs hast this negative connotation as being cheating to me. Granted, I may use it without remorse to reference something, be informed (i.e. my game has no instruction book or the booklet is severely lacking) or just to figure out how to do Scorpionís cool fatality. I am also much a stickler myself and am prone to not asking for help via online references, yet I tend to think that getting help from a friend isnít considered cheating as much.
So this leads one to wonderÖ is the continued use of an online guide considered cheating? How about a playerís guide? Maybe a friendís advice? I suppose that itís all subjective to the person. So Iím going to stick to my guns and probably never finish Master Quest but at least I still have my integrity.
P.S. Donít even get me started on game-save files. >:( read