Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Serious Gamer vs. Recreational Gaming

This is a topic that was suggested to me by my wife Steph. It's a very fine line that some gamers, myself included, tend to walk when it comes to gaming in general. I consider myself to be a recreational gamer, in the sense that my only goal in gaming is to relax and enjoy my time with it. It's a time waster, it's a way for me to have fun. In some people's eyes, I'm sure I'd be considered a serious gamer, as I play a LOT. I love games and it's what I want to do in the nights after work and supper and chores. Especially in the winter, when it's too darned cold to do anything outdoors.

To me a serious gamer is into it for competition. That competition is increased universally with the advent of trophies and achievements. Now one can see where he stands globally with his gamerscore or trophy level. Some play for money. Some play for prestige. Some play because they have nothing else in the world to hold onto save for their digital avatars. Anyway you look at it, it can be considered a serious habit and one that can become unhealthy if left unchecked.

It's these serious gamers that keep me, as a rec player, from playing a lot online. I like games, I'm good at games, but I just do not hold a candle to someone who does it religiously day in day out with no other purpose in life. In games like Burnout Paradise, NHL 10, World of Warcraft, etc., online play is a key component to what you do to get full enjoyment out of a title. When I go on an none of my friends are able to play, I simply say "oh well" and not bother, because some crazy assed guy is only going to smash my car to bits for the fun of it in Burnout, destroy my confidence with a 10-0 score in NHL, and flame me and tell me off because I haven't studied my baddies in WoW. Why would I ever bother to play a game like that? I play for enjoyment, not for disappointment and rudeness. Sure, I could try and practice and get better in Burnout and NHL, and do my study and level grinding in WoW, but that teeters dangerously on the border of being "work", something for which a game isn't supposed to be for me. So, I just continue my single player experience and not bother with online play save for with my friends.


Bayonetta continues to impress me with it's visual style. Let's set aside the fact that the game seemingly was designed by a team of pre-pubescent boys giggling everytime one of them says the word "boobies" for a moment. Graphically, the game is incredibly sound. The constant motion of the characters and environments can be dizzying, but is meant to be I believe because it helps with the immersion of the player in the game. The villains can be a little repetitive, but I guess in ANY game the "filler henchmen" guys can get a little repetitive. The fact that they are so full of life seemingly makes you nearly forget you've killed the same guy 50 times before. The bosses are absolutely & unequivocally amazing to look at and to play against. I fought a boss in a "coliseum" like environment last night and to be honest with you, it felt very, VERY epic. The colours in every aspect of the game are rich and lush, right down to the cobblestones in the streets.


I'm at a crossroads as to what to play next. I'll be through Bayonetta by the weekend, and now I have the choice of these fine titles.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Alien vs. Predator
Bioshock 2
Lost Odyssey

All of these titles I've dipped into briefly (save for Darksiders, which I'm about 25% through) and do enjoy. Wolverine is the first iteration of the character in a game I've truly enjoyed. You cut guys up with wanton hate and destruction in mind. There's no holding back. The only other version of the character I've remotely liked was in the Capcon vs. fighting series, but it was over the top with not real visual cue that you were cutting into someone with devil's teeth-like claws.

Darksiders, I feel I should playthrough and finish simply because I've gotten so far in the game already. It's not that it's a bad game, I do enjoy it, but I can easily say that I wouldn't miss it if it were to suddenly be needed for a trade. I've just gotten past a pretty cool spot where you have a little competition with a guy on who kills the most angels. Very interesting indeed.

Alien Vs. Predator is a title I don't think I should have gotten, but the trade bug had me for a day and I just couldn't help taking advantage of easy deals. So far it looks like critics may have been a bit harsh on the title, as visually it seems fine. Nothing ground breaking but certainly nothing wrong with it. The control once explained to me seems fine, it just has a little bit of a learning curve.

Bioshock 2 right now is out on lender, so I think the point is moot here. But having said that, the first 45 minutes or so of it that I played, I really enjoyed. I don't care for the multi player stuff as much as some other players (see above) but the game is smooth as silk with fantastic control and an amazing atmosphere. This goes into the "must play" list for sure. It's just getting to it. :P

I stuck Lost Odyssey in here because I have a copy of it borrowed from a good friend and I'm feeling a little guilty that I've had it so long and it hasn't been put in the system yet. :P I have gotten about 40 hours in, 3 and a half disks worth of a 4 disk game. But some of the games characters are SO AWFUL that it's hard to even look at them. (The two kid characters are probably some of the WORST WORST WORST characters I've ever seen in gaming... I want them to die. Hideously. Christ.) It also has parts that are annoyingly difficult just to add length to a game. Seriously, who wait for a trolly or a moving platform when you can simply walk the tracks over to the eventual goal? Seriously. Anyway, I feel "compelled" to play this game, I don't "want" to play it. It'll be a good warm up to the eventual playbill that is "Final Fantasy 13"...

If we were to go "logically" and put these games in order, I should play Lost Odyssey first, as I'm almost done it anyway. Then Darksiders based on amount completed and the fact that the game has already started to lose value as the new price has dropped to $49 from it's original $69. This is a bad sign for the game trader in general. I would then play Bioshock 2 and then AvP, as I think I'll enjoy it more and it'll give friends a chance to pick up a copy should a little inpromptu multiplay come into effect. Wolverine is hard to place as to me, even though I like the game a lot, it seems like collection filler, as I got it for a sickly cheap price and never truly intended to play it to begin with. So I'll stick it last for now and use it as trade bait if need be. We'll stick with that I think.

Based on this, the trade count for my next title goes as such:

Divinity 2

Possible traders:

Keepers til done:
Bioshock 2

The WANT list:
Dragon Age: Awakening
Final Fantasy 13
Hard Rain

All in all, it's been a far better year so far in gaming than I had originally expected. Hell, It's been so good I blabber about it on the internet now! :D


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