So letís say that youíre a person who recently beat Dark Souls. Whatís next? There are a lot of great games out there, but what if you crave the same kind of challenge that that game gave you? What if you want to have your ass kicked some more? Play it again, you say? Fair point, but Iíll probably do that later.
I think I found it, though. What do you do? You devote 3 bucks of your hard-earned Steam Trading Card money to buying La-Mulana.
And thatís exactly what I did!
I already played a bit of this game when it was still the free version, but I never got far. Mostly, that was because the free game was beyond cryptic. Nothing was explained, up to and including the most basic of gameplay elements. It took me about 10 minutes, and then I was completely stuck. I dicked around for about an hour or so before I decided that I really was irreparably stuck, and I havenít touched the game since.
Fortunately, the Steam version is MUCH more accessible. You get regular in-game e-mails with tips on how to progress, and there are steam videos and manuals explaining how to actually play the damn game. It goes without saying that helps a ton. Being able to take Steam screenshots of tips rather than having to write everything down is also very useful. Youíll still get stuck regularly, but at least youíll get stuck because of a puzzle and not because you didnít realize that you have to do certain things in the menu before you can perform basic functions like reading stone tablets.
I still maintain that this game isnít particularly difficult (not yet at least), itís just very very cryptic. You will be stumped by how the hell youíre supposed to get that treasure chest to open much more often than youíll feel overwhelmed by the enemies. Regardless, Iím liking it a lot more than when I played it the first time, and I got a lot further too. By now Iíve already reached and beat the first boss. Again, reaching the boss (that is, getting it to appear) is much more difficult than actually beating him, but itís all good. La-Mulana definitely has a different kind of challenge than Dark Souls did, but Iím starting to appreciate it more and more.
Iím not yet sure that Iíll be able to beat the game without outside help, but Iíll be damned if I donít give it a fair shot.
No matter what the experience was or which game or genre left that strong first impression, such experiences have the potential to open our eyes to the rich history of a series or genre. With any luck, we might find even more to love or something better. A great first experience with RPGs could lead to an undying love affair.
Sometimes a first kiss can be so impactful that the game gets placed on a pedestal and enshrined as a gold standard, which has its own pros and cons. I mean, it is nice to have a basis for comparison, but some folks take it too far. There are people who loved Half-Life, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, or Final Fantasy VII so much that nothing after them really got a fair shake.
So first impressions matter -- they can shape and inform our gaming habits. I grew up on arcades, Nintendo, handhelds, and eventually into RPGs, so much of what I play will be influenced by how I acquired my tastes. I probably like Overwatch a ton because it has a passion for RPG roles, but contextualizes them closer to older shooters focused on objectives more than gear builds and grinding out perks for better killstreaks.
So for this month's Bloggers Wanted, we'd like you head over to the community blogs write about your first kiss, the games that positively influenced you or maybe biased you a little too much for a time. What turned you on to a series or genre? Was it love at first sight? Did it set any expectations in stone or possibly lead you to something better?
Whatever the case might be, remember to use the title "First kiss" and place "Bloggers Wanted" in the tags!
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