For those of you who don't know me (basically everyone, barring two occasional bloggers) I like to have long hair. Long hair is fun for me. Well, it's fun for me up to a certain point. After a while, I start to get sick of the extra maintenance. So today, I had another one of my major buzz cuts. Now, I can run my hand through the back of my head and feel like a porcupine again (also a fun feeling). Now what does this anecdote mean? It means that in many of the games I play for the next few months, I get to spend a minute in the beginning giving my characters shorter hair.
I like games that allow me to customize. To be fair, I see customization as a feature that caters to a very specific audience, at least in terms of character customization. Allow me to explain a bit. Video games are designed to send us into an alternate reality. Like television and flims, video games provide an alternate universe to entertain us when we want a break from our actual universe. That fact tends to make well-made video games truly encompassing experiences. Good video games hold your attention and almost suck you into their universes through a wormhole, truly entrancing you.
For some people, though (myself included), customizing your character adds that little extra touch that makes the experience fully engrossing. Don't get me wrong; I can still enter a video game that doesn't have customization features and still get caught up in it. When I have the option though, I will always take it. I enjoy the experience of creating my own character from scratch, trying to best match my own personal features. It takes an extended amount of time, but when it's finished, I literally inject myself into the game. It provides the visual aspect to a concept that I was only able to imagine before. I love being able to see the closest representation of myself catching the pass for the touchdown, or wielding a mace and bashing in the faces of those who oppose me.
When I customize a character, I customize hard. It does not matter what kind of game it is. RPG, First-person shooter, sports game, I don't care. When I can customize a character, I take at least an hour. This annoys the living Hell out of some people who happen to be in the room while I do this. "Why are you taking so long making your character? Just play the game already!" A lot of game developers introduce obnoxious amount of features to customize in characters, and it adds up to a lot of content. So I don't want to waste such a big part of the games I love so dearly, but instead take advantage of every last feature I can (That's right, I'm that guy that messes with the arch of my nose, and the width of the ear lobes, etc.).
Even with all of this, characters are just one aspect of customization! What makes customization a feature truly worth investing in is in customized level design. This is another thing that not only caters to a very specific type of video game fan (a patient one), but also specific types of games. Typically you'll only see custom-made levels in first-person shooters, but it isn't exclusive to them. The point is, though, that there have been some ridiculous things which resulted from games allowing the player to design their own levels.
My perfect example of this is located just above. For someone that isn't the hugest fan of FPS, I'm really referencing it a lot. But still, Halo 3 is a prime example of all of the amazing things that can be done when gamers are given the ability to make their own levels. Some of the things that have been designed by players are amazing. They are able to make Halo 3 something other than FPS. I once played a map of Halo 3 where you raced mongooses on blocks. Yes I just said that correctly. Halo 3. Mongoose racing. There are forums full of custom-designed levels that I frankly think are better designed than the games main levels.
Whether it's characters or levels, customization is a feature of many video games that allow the gamers to place their own personal imprint on the game. It makes them feel like they played a part in making whatever game they love so much, however small a part it realistically was. For many, it can enhance the experience of the game, making them feel like they are a part of it, one way or another. That is why I will gladly spend over an hour to make sure my character's ankles are just the right width, or that the stone block is placed in the perfect spot.
So there you have it. Thanks again for reading. No clue how long it'll be 'til I write again. In any case, still appreciate you taking the time to look at my stuff. I salute you. And your reward? This corgi in a lobster suit. Enjoy.
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