Gaming funks. We've all had them. We've stared with detached aloofness at our gaming rig/console/handheld of choice, echoing that morning you woke up, looked at your girlfriend and held back the words 'I'm just not that into you anymore'.
I have recently emerged from the most severe funk I have ever experienced in all my years of gaming, and I go back to 1983 with the 2600 yo (roots, what). I wrote a cblog about it a few months back, and between the 'fail blog is fail' and 'dude you must be playing shitty games, try this jrpg instead' posts I was met with some good advice. For that I love you all. However all of the advice I was given had been attempted through various means and my desperation grew.
I have now emerged with faith renewed.
Yes, it was a game that brought me back. Yes, it's a blockbuster I'm sure a lot of you have played. No, I'm not going to write a mini-review and tell everyone to go play it and broadcast 'I swear it worked better than Paxil!!'. Instead I would like to share how I came to play this game, and how the experience of arriving at it saved me from my funk and renewed my passion. The game itself is not important, but my story might help those suffering the very same affliction. I have seen quite a few cblogs on the same subject since.
First, a bit of background on yours truly. I have owned an Atari 2600, C64, NES, SNES, N64, PS2, Cube, and I currently game on a good PC and my trusty DS. I was incredibly pumped to get a current-gen console, but when the time came to get one I was held back by unjustifiable price points and an overall apathy towards the games coming out. I decided to wait and see, and the lack of interest only continued. Here is where my funk was truly born.
Last weekend I was cruising around the mall and stores on a rainy day and saw Mass Effect for PC sitting on the shelf. I hadn't played KOTOR or any of their other games so I was not familiar with the formula Bioware likes to employ. So I bought it, only expecting a cool Sci-Fi setting. I brought it home, installed it, and played for about 4 hours. It has honestly been about 3 years since I played for that length of time all in one sitting. I'm also not an RPG fan. It really is a great game. Is it the best game ever? No. Is it even all that incredible? No. Was it something new and different? Just kinda. It's a cross between Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. It truly is nothing new.
But here is how the funk ended - I took a stab at a random game and came away delighted. In this age of super-hype and up-to-the-minute videogames and online reviews and previews the voyage of discovery has been lost. Gone are the days where you can walk into a store, look at a game and think 'Hey that looks cool' and pick it up. Sure, those days also resulted in me cursing and swearing at the crap game I just purchased, but the gems became memorable because they were found pretty much at random. It's like winning the lotto.
These days we not only know exactly what we're buying but who made it, what they did previously, what the visuals look like, what the overall story is, and how much it cost to make. It is near-impossible to walk into a store and see a game that flew under the radar and grab it for kicks.
I encourage all to avoid preview and reviews and just grab something when your uninformed gut tells you. You may be pleasantly surprised.