Confessions of a Gamer – Just Smile and Nod

We often have proud moments in games. Be it the time you completed your first game, getting the most challenging trophy or achievement, 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.

Nothing puts me off more than too much hype around something new.

Sometimes I’ll hear about a game in development, long before its release, and know that out in the world of gamers the excitement will be starting to build. The release of the game is usually met with long queues, limited edition features, and midnight launches. The time immediately post release is filled with my game friends raving about them, calling them a masterpiece, and in not too much time at all it seems like everyone and their mother has completed it. Some of these games I’ve played and enjoyed, but it may surprise you to learn that most of these “must-haves” I’ve avoided from the start.

Nothing puts me off more than too much hype around something new. ‘You must watch this film’ someone will say, whilst someone else might insist that ‘this is the restaurant that has the best steaks’, the more I hear it, the more certain you can be that I’ll be avoiding it like the plague.

Now before you, the reader, the gamer, the fan, the critic, continue reading this blog, please allow me to insert a short disclaimer here:

I’m obviously writing specifically about video games here but this would apply to anything; restaurants, films, music, holiday destinations, anything. I also hope that you will understand that this is a playful blog and that I don’t actually ‘hate’ specific titles or try to add fuel to console or game ‘wars’.

I want to get Portal 2 out of the way. The ‘game of a generation’, the ‘masterpiece’, the ‘insert any positive adjective here’. My partner and I bought it at release and he was very keen to get going with it; I was rather reluctant but as I can’t be the only one playing on our consoles or pick what he gets to play, I let him loose on this one and he played the game and loved it. I, on the other hand, was so annoyed with all the fuss everyone made around it that I made no effort to play, understand, or even like it. To this day, I don’t know what it’s about, and what all that fuss was. I don’t understand any references to that game or that 3D modeller’s joke about building a companion cube.

Now, do I feel left out? Not one bit.

In the world of first-person shooters, two games have been fighting for the crown for years: Battlefield and Call of Duty. I personally play Call of Duty and have since its first instalment, I like those games – scrap that, I like all COD games but the Black Ops ones – and I don’t feel the need to play Battlefield games as well. But every now and then, there is someone, who is clearly in ‘team Battlefield’ – if there is one – who insists that Battlefield games are superior in more than one way and that COD games are all a pile of whatever stuff is dirty and smelly at once. Well guess what? This hasn’t encouraged me to try a Battlefield game yet, I still happily play COD games with my friends, and we all blast the ‘C-word’ at the other team in unison.

I personally will pick my favourite if you don't mind.
I will pick my favourite if you don’t mind.

Saying that, Battlefield 4 is very tempting and I may very well get it on PlayStation 4 – but only when everyone stops telling me how spectacular it looks and how much better it is than COD.

I’ve fallen for the hype a couple of times, and at no other time have I regretted it than when I bought an Xbox 360 to play Fable II.

I have already written about my compulsion for ‘picking up stuff’ and when I don’t have a game that allows me to do that, I need to find a new one fast! A couple of friends had been looking forward to the release of Fable II for months and when it finally came out they did a such a great job of telling me how amazing the game was and how much I’d love it that I not only bought it, but I also bought a 360 to play it on. In the end I didn’t get on well with the game, it wasn’t what I was expecting and I thought it didn’t allow the freedom I crave in this type of game. I ended up selling the console and the game – both at a loss of course – and bought Fallout 3 for the PlayStation 3, which came out a few days later. Now that satisfied my need for ‘picking up stuff’ and my craving for freedom!

I could go on and on with examples, but the point I’m trying to make is that I don’t want to feel pressured into liking or enjoying a game, a film, or an album. When someone tries quite aggressively to sell me something, it could go two different ways: I could get annoyed and passionately defend why I’m not interested, or I could just do what I do now… smile and nod.






One response to “Confessions of a Gamer – Just Smile and Nod”

  1. Mark Paterson avatar

    It’s especially grating when people judge you for liking and not liking certain things with respect to what they agree with popular culture to be “objectively” good and bad – “how can you like X but not Y?!” It does my head in, agreed.

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