I usually don't read opinion articles, but for some reason I did this time. Jim Sterling posted Oil on water: How I can't love the games you love
and I suggest everyone read it if you haven't already.
I wrote up my thoughts on it, but then realized that I had written five paragraphs, with more that I wanted to write.
Honestly Jim, I felt this the first times I played Portal and Team Fortress 2, both games that I love and adore now (And TF2 being the game I'm wearing a shirt of now). I didn't get what made them so good or so popular, and brushed them aside. Over time, I started playing them and actually got into them, so much so that TF2 became my most played game on Steam ([Steam Community Profile
), a title previously held by Zombie Panic: Source.
I'm not saying that that's the solution in all cases, and there are still games I can't bring myself to enjoy. I've never been able to get into Final Fantasy, let alone most RPGs (Pokemon being one of the few exceptions). Never was a big Mario fan either, aside from Super Mario Brothers 3 and the Mario Kart games. And it really can be depressing to know that both of those are cherished by the gaming community, yet I can't get any satisfaction from playing them. It also feels like you're left out of some exclusive club. Someone can make a joke about Cloud and Sephiroth, and all I can do is pretend I get the joke if it's directed at me, or ignore it if it's not. If I go the unspeakable third option of saying I don't like Final Fantasy, I get stares and people crying for my soul
Grand Theft Auto or Red Dead Redemption? Couldn't enjoy after having a few hours playing in a sandbox.
Crysis? After getting past the impressive visuals, it really didn't offer much for me.
I'm not saying any of those are bad games of course. I'm saying I couldn't enjoy them past a certain point, if at all. And there is ALWAYS a difference between saying "I dislike X game because of A, B and C" and saying "I hate X game and think anyone that likes it is a dumbass". No two people have the same opinions, and I do find it depressing that some people still don't realize this.
Try going on Reddit and going to the gaming subreddit, and reading any comments of people saying they didn't like Half-Life, Portal or Bioshock: just to name a few. Even if they give their reasons why, and they're not assholes about it, they receive the brunt of a storm. The reason being is that Half-Life and Half-Life 2 are seen as examples of the finest video games have to offer. They're seen as the epitome of the medium, the be all and end all. It boggles some people's minds that someone can physically not
enjoy those games.
Surely there has to be something wrong with you if you don't like Half-Life, right? How can you not like the Gman or not care what happens to Eli Vance in Episode 2? How can you not be in on the greatest gaming has to offer? How can you not like the hallowed halls of Rapture, or the shaking of the screen as a Big Daddy approaches? How can you not enjoy breaking the laws of physics to travel from point A to point B, with a sinister AI taunting you at every opportunity?
And the opposite is true too. I've been asked by people how or why I enjoy Team Fortress 2, Pokemon and Mirror's Edge. How can I like those games? Team Fortress 2 is, after all, just hats. Pokemon is a children's game and Mirror's Edge was horribly made. That's what some see these games as.
With situations like this, it's often a matter of bias, first and foremost. I'll be the first to admit, I'm biased to the side of Valve. I love Valve, I love their games and getting to play Global Offensive on a tour recently (Not to mention a free t-shirt) cemented my love of Valve even further. How can you not like Half-Life or Portal? They're masterpieces!
At the same time, I'm biased against Activision. Their DLC's prices grinds my gears, and makes me wonder why someone would pay $15 for a few maps. Why would someone buy the same game over and over again, year after year, with little different between each? Show me a picture of Modern Warfare, Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops, and I'll be able to tell the difference as well as someone with complete color blindness can tell blue from red from green.
On the flip side of the coin, show someone who doesn't like Valve games pictures from Half-Life 2, Episode 1 and Episode 2, and they can't tell the difference either. It comes down to what we're familiar with. I could tell you which map is which on Team Fortress 2, but would have no idea which map is Rust.
I'll close with something I posed earlier. Why do I enjoy Team Fortress 2, Pokemon and Mirror's Edge?
Team Fortress 2 I enjoy for the varied gameplay. Every class has a customizable loadout, with each weapon offering a new gameplay possibility. If you want to increase your mobility as a Medic, you can go with the Overdose, at the downside of doing 10% less damage. If you want to be able to escape from situations where you've been compromised as Spy, you can use the Dead Ringer to do that, sacrificing being able to cloak whenever you want. No two games are the same, and I'm constantly tweaking my loadouts to figure out what I like the most, or at least what is the most fun to use that day.
Pokemon is constantly improving on its mechanics, EVs and IVs being things that have really helped the competitive nature grow. While I absolutely suck at competitive play, despite trying it numerous times, I still enjoy the Pokemon games. There is something fascinating with being able to customize your team out of over 600 choices. I can pick and choose my team out of my favorites, or what is most useful.
And Mirror's Edge, a game that I played through twice the same day I got it. The game had flaws, but what it did get right was downright fun. The story wasn't much, but the gameplay was what got me. I could leap from roof to roof, run from a helicopter, jump off of a wall to get on a ramp, and always able to find new ways to get from point A to point B more efficiently or faster.
In closing, Jim wrote a damn fine article, and as I said above: give it a read. Or, if you don't like Jim Sterling or his articles for whatever reason, then skip it. But don't try and force your opinion down someone's throat. read