Lately, I find myself trying to come to terms with the fact that my gaming tastes have been changing the older I get. My buying habits haven’t yet caught up however. I still find myself buying the games that a younger me would love, and that an older me is either having trouble tolerating now, or just doesn’t have time for anymore. I end up with a pile of games that I look at and go, “I should really play that.”
Instead, I boot up another round of Binding of Isaac, race a few more events of The Crew 2, or play another table of Zen pinball. Before I know it, it’s time for bed and Tales of Vesperia remains at the 10-hour mark.
In some ways my tastes haven’t completely changed. I will plunk down and play the newest Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Mega Man game without interruption and continued glee. But in days past I would also find time to play countless JRPG’s, spend hundreds of hours in them and love every minute. These days though, not so much.
As mentioned above I find myself stuck on Tales of Vesperia. The Tales series being one that I have played all of up until this point, well, not counting the 3DS Tales of Abyss which I flat out quit because I found the characters, story, and ways of progressing insufferable. What’s that, you want me to travel to 4 different towns across the map, giving me vague hints as to where, just to hear the same story bits over and over again? Do you think I’m dumb game? Ugh….I digress. Tales of Vesperia I’m having a different issue with. I love the characters, I love the story so far, the combat is….dated for Tales pretty stiff, but fun still. The issue with it though, is there’s a cutscene in it EVERY few steps. It can’t be bothered to just give me a nice 3-hour dungeon with no interruption. It’s the same issue I took with Pokemon Sun and Moon.
Some of these scenes are hilarious don’t get me wrong, but get a freakin’ editor! This isn’t meant to be a review of Tales of Vesperia, this is more a top down view of where I find myself with video games. If I’m not actively playing and getting addicted to what the game has to offer then, I’m out. Streets of Rage 4 was one I couldn’t put down for instance. It had small story bits between levels, but they were good breathers between high tense boss fights.
I’m just a bit flabbergasted I guess that as I age, I get more and more turned off by story segments in games. This mostly applies to JRPG’s I think, a genre I thought I would never tire of. But after hearing the 1,000th tale involving a mana tree, or something calling itself “Yggdrasil” or using some other bygone myth template, I’ve just had enough. I’m tired of the plots where, oooh the twist is the monsters you’ve been fighting this whole time are actually humans who have been turned by the bad guy, or you are the “chosen” one, or your real father is the villain, or oops you start the game with no memory!
I get anxiety when I’m about to turn on a JRPG these days, knowing I’m looking at 40 to 60 hours of game time ahead of me until I get to play something else. It’s a daunting feeling, and one I find myself avoiding again and again turning a 60-hour game into a 2+ year project playing it in 20-minute bursts once every couple of weeks. Half of that time is spent figuring out where the heck I left off. It doesn’t help that as I age my short-term memory has turned into an unstable bowl of jelly. While I’m playing often the characters could be blathering on, then drop some important detail like, we need to go to Cape Town! I miss it of course, and spend the next few in game hours wandering around waiting for the next cut scene to trigger. Or my favorite when the game won’t progress until you’ve slept at the town inn. Who THINKS of doing that when your HP is full? Hate that…
Ironically here I am typing this when I could try inching myself ever closer to the end of this game. But that’s just it isn’t it? I’d rather do, almost anything but try to keep going in that game. When playing something becomes a chore, I should just do something else. My mentality doesn’t let me give up sadly, and I find myself doing something I don’t enjoy because of some vague sense of obligation I have. When I do decide to play something, I find more fun, in the back of my mind I have some guilt that I’m not playing this JRPG I spent $60 at launch. Instead I’m playing a game I’ve already churned 100’s of hours in.
This will stop when my buying brain stops bringing these misfit games into my house. I’ll see a sale on Dragon Quest, or some port of a Final Fantasy I’ve already played twice through as a kid, buy it and watch it rot on my shelf. I have to look at these things, stop myself and ask, do you have time to play this?
Then don’t buy it!
Oh….look it’s Golden Week on Steam with only 1 day left!