Are You Playing the Game?
It’s easy to ignorantly compare Halo with Resistance and Tomb Raider with Uncharted when the truth is the games may have only a fragment of a similarity. Should shooting aliens also make you jump 6 feet high? Does it require back flips to search for hidden treasure? I’d like to take these questions a bit further and ask: Do we ever put aside our genre expectations and try to enjoy a game for what it actually is, or do we expect the same thing from each genre?
Here’s a small example: Is a shotgun the best close-quarters gun you can pick up? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on the game developer, style, and story. A shotgun could take a lengthy period of time to fire up, whereas a handgun could have a quicker reaction (Devil May Cry 4). Are stronger guns better against average enemies? Some guns may have more of a kick than others, making it harder to hit your target from a distance (Uncharted 2). Another example: Should we button mash melee attacks to enemies and civilians (inFamous) or master a difficult, timed set of commands when we could easily mash buttons instead (Batman: Arkham Asylum)? Is it worth the extra effort?
Let’s say you pick up MAG from the $20 bin, play it exactly the same way as you would Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and heaven forbid you get slaughtered! Someone has made a game in the same genre that’s completely different, and now you’ve got to get into the swing of things all over again or face repeated death. So do you take the time to get used to the new areas, weapons and teamwork? Or do you blame it on bad controls and let it collect dust until the next Call of Duty game arrives?
The point is, for each game of any genre, the developers have a set of diverse tools they have spent years preparing for you. Are you, as a gamer, capable of putting your genre expectations aside and really try games that play differently from each other? Are you just playing games, or are you making a conscious effort to fully play the game in front of you, and is it worth it to do so?