Confessions of a Gamer – I’m Not Sure What It’s About

We often have proud moments in games. Be it the time you completed your first game, getting the most challenging trophy, or even the most ridiculous kill/death ratio humankind has ever seen. This is not about any of those things; it’s a collection of the darker, more secret moments in our gaming life. These are the confessions of a gamer – please don’t judge me too harshly.

So far I’ve admitted to being a ‘little bit’ obsessed with picking up random stuff and to abusing fellow players online. You might think that this is more than enough in the bad habit department for one person but honestly I’m just getting started. My third confession has to do with stories. Like you, I’ve played many games, perhaps unlike you, I can’t remember most of the stories from those games. At its source lies a massive lack of patience that afflicts many aspects of my life, but in games it means I just can’t be bothered watching long cutscenes, and reading long dialogues serves only to distract me from the action.

Now, before going any further into this confession, I must tell you that this isn’t the case for every single videogame I have played. I have actually surprised myself by following along in things like the Mass Effect games, The Last of Us, Telltale’s The Walking Dead, and more recently Beyond: Two Souls. It’s just that some games, like some films or some books, simply fail to pique my interest at the start and so, although the challenge of completing them keeps me at the screen, I’ll not be drawn into the story.

Let me give you a few examples.

I quite enjoy playing them but then all this reading just doesn’t keep me engaged.

I enjoy playing the story mode in the Modern Warfare games but I have no idea what their stories are about. I vaguely know that the terrorists are the meanies and that they’re not the ones with the American accents. I know that as I work my way through each set mission my objective is pointed out to me and that I should head towards it through the hail of bullets traveling in the opposite direction. I couldn’t for a moment tell you any of the characters’ names, and I probably won’t recognise a protagonist making an appearance in two games across the series, let alone any in-jokes or references to events in other games.

I mean, for all I know the Modern Warfare games could all have the same protagonists and be one big story, but it could equally be in a completely separate game universe each time and have no crossover at all. I just don’t know – you tell me. I don’t play CoD games for their story, and despite the best efforts of the script writers I don’t get attached to any of their characters either. However despicable the bad guys are, however nefarious their evil schemes may be, they just turn into targets in the crosshairs of my assault rifle. Likewise, the game could have me battling alongside a saint of heroism, but if he doesn’t soak bullets well enough, or kill bad guys quickly enough he’s just slowing me down.

At the other end of the spectrum are the Resistance games. With these games I could tell you the plot and storyline at least. I’ve no idea what it is about this series that clearly managed to grab hold of my attention at the start, if I did I’d be writing game plots for the big name game developers, but they did grab me and once grabbed I stayed with each twist and turn as they took me along.

Another example will be games like the Legend of Zelda ones. They are critically acclaimed, I bought some of them, and enjoyed what I played, but the fact that the characters don’t actually speak their lines puts me off. I just find myself skipping the dialogues because reading them becomes a chore. Same with Rune Factory games. I quite enjoy playing them but all the reading just doesn’t keep me engaged.

“Cool cool. What next?”

So whilst I remember some stories, I couldn’t tell you what some of them are about and I most likely won’t be able to tell you any of their subtleties. It’s not a question of memory – I most likely skipped through the important dialogues or scenes so I could get back to playing. This means I often stay quiet when others talk about this sort of thing. It would be far too embarrassing to say ‘I’m not sure what it’s about’ because I skipped through it…


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