Gamer Hedonism vs. Conservativism

27 09 2007

Okay, let’s shuffle away from the political arena to talk gaming.

As noted, there’s a hell of a lot of amazing (and not so amazing yet still fun) games coming out this holiday season. The debate I’m holding internally goes like this:

Hedonist: “GAMES! YEAH! Let’s get all the ones we have an interest in. It’s gonna be great!”
Conservative: “Except every holiday season we end up getting games we never actually play due to lack of time.”
Hedonist: “We’ll play ’em eventually!”
Conservative: “Tell that to Marvel Ultimate Alliance and Touch Detective and San Andreas and hell, Paper Mario Wii. This year, we should skip over some games that look good but we aren’t gonna have time for or don’t have vast burning interest in..”
Hedonist: “But.. but… FUN!”

And then Hedonist makes a sad face D: and things degenerate from there.

It’s not just about having time to play games, see — it’s time to eat, sleep, work on creative projects, keep up with my friends, keep up with my favorite shows, etc. And then what time remains, assuming I have the energy for it, goes into games. (Otherwise it may go into the Miscellaney category of browsing the web, watching reruns, or just crashing.)

Right now on my plate I have the ongoing love/hate I have been feeling lately for City of Heroes, a desire to try and clear Eternal Sonata despite my tendency not to finish RPGs, and an itch to shoot people in TF2. By the end of the month we’re gonna have Tony Hawk, Phoenix Wright, Guitar Hero 3, Katamari Damacy, and next month, Rock Band. Presuming I postpone it for xmasu, there’s also MySims.

The one upshot is that several of those games are short and/or can be played in short bursts (PW/GH3/KD/RB). The one I’m considering giving the axe is Tony Hawk. I likes me a good skatin’ games, but the timesink needed to clear one of those bastards (assuming I don’t hit the Skill Wall headfirst) is pretty um. MySims is also potentially a timesink, but.. I want a Wii game, dammit! Other than Wii Sports! *sulk.*

Denying myself fun is tricky business given I am desperate to maintain my Happy level. But realism says I need to throttle it back some; just because I can afford to snatch up a bunch of games doesn’t mean I can play ’em all. Meh. I dunno. Frustration, it is thy nature.

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18 responses

27 09 2007
agermain

Yeah, totally with ya there. After the past… twelve years (GAH) of buying games and rarely if ever playing them through the completion, I’m kinda in a similar position. There is a lot of fun to be had — I am looking forward to keeping my Wii happy with Metroid Prime 3, and some form of Guitar Hero action… but really and truly there’s no must-haves, and lots of like-to-haves. It’s frustrating, yeah, but I know me — I’m more likely to build stuff on the computer than I am to sit down and conquer a video game.

27 09 2007
meagenimage

I have a simple solution to that problem. Poverty!
…okay, so it’s not as much a solution as a “good reason to only buy one or two games a year, which I can then take my time finishing”.

27 09 2007
lirazel

It seems to me as though you use games for two things: creative expression (see all the work you do creating chars for COx), and relaxation (aka Blowing Stuff Up or Easy Wins). If you divide the upcoming game onslaught into these two groups, does that make the decision process any easier?

27 09 2007
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Well, all of the above fall into Easy Wins, except possibly Tony Hawk.
I was able to clear THP8, last year’s game, to a reasonable degree — get every zone unlocked, outfit my skater nicely, etc. The game was designed with casual gamers in mind by allowing you to get through a goal even without godlike performance, since each goal had three levels of beating it… passing, passing well, and doing amazing.
This year’s game is a little different in that you have three different tracks of goals you can follow, and the controls have another layer of tacked on complexity. So, that might make it harder to play through, especially in a timely manner. That’s why it’s on my primary “Eh, maybe not” list… if I want to play it I could pick it up next summer for 30 bucks, easily. These games drop in price fast.
MySims also may be a drop due to complexity. It’s SIMPLE but it could be time sinking, like Animal Crossing is time sinking. That’s why it’s on my holiday postponement list.
The rest meet your definition nicely. I can get through a PW game in a week, like reading a really great book. I got through the last Katamari game in like a DAY, which was a bit disappointing, but a fun ride while it lasted. And the two music games are not all that hard to play to a degree I’m comfortable with.
Oddly, this is also why I’m going for the game I forgot to list here — the Half-Life 2 set. TeamFortress is great for pick up and put down quick play, and Portal is a short and sweet puzzle game. I’m actually not all that hot and bothered by the actual HL2 episodes that come in the box, but I guess I’ll play them eventually.

27 09 2007
malakim

Certainly hear you there. I am horrible about not finishing my console RPGs. I’ve lost count of the Final Fantasies and Tales of…. games that I’ve bought, started, and never completed.
That being said, the only two games I’m really putting on a ‘must buy’ list for the rest of the year are the new Katamari game and Mass Effect.

27 09 2007
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Mass Effect is on my “maybe” list. I love Bioware (they supported me even through corporate hell and some of my own fumbles) but the controls are my primary worry.
The few gameplay clips I’ve seen make it look like a 3rd person shooter, which is basically a 1st person shooter with the camera pulled back, which involves two thumbsticks and both triggers and all face buttons and BLARGH. Not possible for these hands.
Once some reviews come in, or better yet a demo, I’ll be able to tell if I can physically play the game or not…

27 09 2007
Anonymous

Hmm. I thought I read somewhere that it was ‘pause and issue commands’, but that might have only been for your companions. :/ I’ll pipe up if I find anything more concrete on the controls.

27 09 2007
kowh

Metroid Prime 3, while not the greatest thing since sliced bread, kept my Wii quite happy for awhile.
So happy, in fact, that I didn’t actually play any other games until I had finished it.

27 09 2007
cmdr_zoom

I hear ya. *looks over at shelf of accumulated unpaid games, including barely-started sequels Chrono Cross and Kingdom Hearts 2*

27 09 2007
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I got KH1, but never finished it. It just got too repetitive for me. All I wanted was the story and I pretty much got that off GameFAQs. Same reason I read all about KH2’s story and watched videos of various cutscenes but never bought it. It’s great stuff but I don’t have time to hack through thousands of mindless bad guys to get to the great stuff.
I did finish Chrono Cross, but that was back in Tha Day… and I did use a gameshark to help me plow through it.

27 09 2007
Anonymous

When you do play the HL2 episodes, definitely turn on the commentary option. Its an interesting look into game development. Some very neat stuff. You might want to do what I did and simply turn on god mode as well, and sit back and enjoy the story and commentary.

27 09 2007
cmdr_zoom

I suspect that they may be trying to make it look like a shooter, because those are lots more popular right now than RPGs (especially in sci-fi). :/

27 09 2007
cmdr_zoom

My problem with KH is that it’s turning into Nomura’s little showpiece, full of characters I don’t know or care about, and I was all into the concept for the nostalgia (Disney and Square characters both). Seems we’re getting some of the former and practically none of the latter.
So the Chrono line is out due to company splits? Fine. Show me Cecil and Kain and Terra/Tina and Celes, damnit. Yes, Setzer showed up in KH2, but he’s a silver-haired bishie, and we all know Nomura loves those.

27 09 2007
jeremysharpe

I hear you. Back when I was unable to afford more than a game every couple of months, I seemed to enjoy them so much more. But now that I have a job, I find I buy too many. Recently I got Puzzle Quest, Phoenix Wright 1 and Advance Wars: DS all around the same time. I’ve almost finished Phoenix Wright, but I’ve barely touched Advance Wars and haven’t even touched Puzzle Quest.

28 09 2007
sleet01

NDS: The cure for what ails ye.
This is why the DS is my go-to system now.
I used to be a strict PC gamer, but once I started working full time (and commuting by bus) I barely had any time to sit down and play at home. I started getting emulators for my PDA, but when that bit the dust I got a Lite, and it’s been fantastic. I get in a good two hours of gaming every day, rain or shine, no matter what, and the sheer range of available offerings is astounding. Plus, you can get Japanese imports, which play on the system out of the box, for $10 less than most new American console games.
I tried out WoW last year, and that was okay. But I couldn’t make the time commitments and I find that most MMO players are, no offense, raging a-holes. With the DS I’ve got wireless play if I really desire an ass-whupping but it’s not the core of every game. And nothing makes a traffic jam seem more like a blessing than a curse than Super Robot Wars W or Glory Days 2!

28 09 2007
sleet01

I highly recommend giving Advance Wars another go. I hit a point early on where I started getting distracted by other games but I gave AW a second chance and ended up finishing it feeling like I’d gotten well more than my money’s worth. It’s about the second or third game for the DS where I *thought* I’d beat the game, felt let down because it’d gotten so enjoyable, and then almost laughed out loud when I saw that there was still one more mission to go (Chou Soujuu Mecha MG is another notable example).
If you give AW one more chance, I don’t think you’ll regret it.

28 09 2007
andrew_jp

I tell myself I’m a video game collector. It eases the pain of my backlog a little.

28 09 2007
Anonymous

Uhm….Cecil is, if I recall right, also a silver-haired bishie (albiet with a pastel rainbow streak that looks really and utterly bizarre) under the armor.
….besides, there’s only so many characters Nomura has done, and a certain minimum number that you need for a KH game. I suspect he’ll have to start digging deeper into the FF Franchise’s history before too much longer.
-TH

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