Sometimes it just doesn’t click
My love of gaming came a little bit later in life than most, so there are a ton of well-loved games that I need to catch up on, whether they’re old classics or recently-released bangers. What’s nice is that there’s an endless stream of hits for me to pull from, which means I’ve been binging titles like Pokémon, Ratchet & Clank, and Mass Effect over the past few months, just to name a few. For the most part, it’s been really great to have so many games to play that knock it out of the park — playing the all-time greats all in a row has me reeling over how awesome this medium is.
While I’ve loved a vast majority of the games I’ve played recently, there have been one or two that just didn’t connect with me, which is a shame considering they’re such well-loved titles. The prime example of this is Annapurna’s smash hit from 2019, Outer Wilds. In the game, you play as an alien caught in a twenty-two-minute time loop as you explore nearby planets and try to unlock the mysteries of the universe.
When I’ve asked people what are some must-plays that I missed out on over the past few years, Outer Wilds always seems to make the list, so I gave it a shot a little while ago. People describe it as a “once in a generation gaming experience” or “one of the best adventure games ever made,” and I can’t miss out on something like that, right?
I can’t put my finger on the exact reason why, but there’s just something about that game that didn’t work for me. Maybe it’s the fact that space unlocks an existential horror spiral in me, or that I’m even worse at flying mechanics than I am at platforming, or that I was going through a bad depressive episode when I was playing it — I’ll never know for sure.
I watched a video essay about the game from someone who loves it, and it all made so much sense. I could understand why it was a masterpiece and all that, but that still didn’t make me want to pick it up again.
These days, it feels like we’ve gotten pretty combative about liking or disliking media. Something is the best, or it’s the worst, and a lot of times we fall on either side of that binary. I kind of had to have this moment with Outer Wilds where I let myself be okay with not loving the game, even if I thought it was really cool on paper. Sometimes we don’t like things — that doesn’t make them bad, it means they’re just not for us.
Maybe one of these days I’ll rope in my friend who sings Outer Wilds‘ praises all the time and have him sit down with me and walk me through why he loves it, because I find that to be helpful when a piece of media doesn’t connect with me. For now, though, I’ll just have to be okay with the fact that there are some games that I won’t really get.
So, are there any well-loved games out there that you bounce off of, or can’t get yourself to finish? What’s the last game you abandoned, and why?
Let’s discuss in the comments below!