How Do You Like to Game?

How Do You Like to Game?

For a long time, I’ve wanted to write about my favourite video games. The problem is, they change so rapidly, the post would likely be out of date by the time it went up. (For those that don’t know, I write my blogs about a month in advance.) But today I had a brilliant idea (got it while cleaning the house again, hmm…)! Instead of writing about specific games, I’ll write about my favourite types of games.

So here are the top three types of video games that steal my writing time.

Puzzle Games
Puzzle games actually sub-divide into two categories. The first is pure puzzle games. These games revolve around a specific mechanic (such as match-three). The gameplay is fairly repetitive because everything revolves around solving a specific type of puzzle. This might sound boring, and I’m sure for some people it is, but these are the games I find most relaxing. Usually the difficulty ramps up as the game goes along, until it requires either speed or creative thinking to pass the stages.

The thing with me and puzzle games is that I get OCD about solving them in the most efficient manner. This is why I’m not further in World of Goo; I just keep repeating the same stage until I get the maximum score (which in World of Goo they literally call the ‘OCD flag’). But I like these kinds of games because they require high levels of creative thinking to beat.

Recent Favourites: Girls Like Robots, World of Goo and Portal/Portal 2 (which I’m including because, although it also involves an element of first-person movement and exploration, it still revolves purely around the mechanic of solving puzzles with portals).
Want to Try: Life Goes On, Vessel

The second type of puzzle game are ‘point and clicks.’ They’re like visual novels, but they require creative thinking to advance. Basically, you find the objects you need and take them to the proper places or manipulate them in the proper order to get past an obstacle. Some of them are quite simple and some have fantastic storylines. I love any game that tells a story, but the puzzles keep me engaged. If there’s one downside to this type of game, it’s that often you hit a point where you either have to look for every clickable pixel on the screen, or give in and look up a guide.

Recent Favourites: Botanicula, Machinarium, Deponia (still working on this one)
Want to Try: Tormentum, Primordia

Role Playing Games (RPGs)
Quite possibly my all-time favourite game genre, but I don’t have the time to devote to them any more. Aside from the Mario games I played as a kid, RPGs were my first foray into video games and the genre that have held my interest longest. As I mentioned; I like stories. What could be better than an interactive story? Especially if the choices you make shape the outcome. In most older games (such as the Final Fantasy series), the story is the same every time you play it, with one or two variations on the end. But as the genre has evolved, many games have included more endings that depend directly on choices you make along the way. This also improves the re-playability of RPGs, since you may want to experience alternative endings.

What I like most about RPGs is the immersion. Sometimes you get to create a character, and those are my favourite. I like to create my personal characters and see how true to them I can stay within the confines of the game world and its mechanics. The best games are the ones where I can stay true to my characters, especially those with grey morals. I like long conversation trees; I will literally click through every option available. I will turn on the game to have conversations with NPCs or read lore I’ve gathered throughout the game. I don’t mind putting a lot of time into these games if the worlds are well-developed and the characters interesting. I’m building a story as well as experiencing one. It’s kind of like writing without having to do any of the ground work.

Recent Favourites: Dragon Age, Deus Ex: Human Revolution (still working on this one), Kingdom Hearts (recent, LOL)
Want to Try: The Witcher 2 (and 3), Dishonored, Dragon Age 3

Writing this has made me realize how many RPGs I have abandoned over the years…

As a side note, I no longer count MMO RPGs among my favourites. Despite the many hours of my life I’ve given to Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2, I’ve had a falling out with the genre. But that’s a whole other blog post.

Dungeon Crawlers
I’m not sure if this counts as a video game genre, but it’s a type of game I like so I’m going with it. I’d love to say ‘Roguelikes,’ but I haven’t actually played that many. Roguelikes tend to be unforgiving. Usually once you die, that’s it. Game over. You have to start all over again with a new character. Fans of roguelikes recommend generating a random character each time, to get the full experience.

Dungeon Crawlers are similar, but without the permadeath. Usually there will be some penalty for dying, such as a loss of xp or potentially some items, depending on the difficulty setting. I’ve never been a fan of permadeath (I get too attached), so I like games where I can revive my hero and soldier on. This type of game sometimes features an intricate storyline, but it doesn’t have to. Usually the dungeons are randomly generated so that they’re different each time. The basic idea is to run around, kill monsters and delve deeper. I don’t mind if the gameplay or story are somewhat mindless because the main fun in these games is finding random, strange, unique items to play around with (and blowing stuff up with fire and lightning).

Recent Favourites: Dungeons of Dredmor, Diablo II (again recent, LOL), Torchlight
Want to Try: Legend of Grimrock

I also enjoy action adventure games and platformers though, again, I don’t have a lot of time to devote to those genres, as they tend to be more frustrating and difficult (and while I love video games, I’m not that good at them). What kind of video games do you sink your time into?

2 Replies to “How Do You Like to Game?”

  1. If you like point and click puzzle adventure games, maybe try the Blade Runner game:

    It’s really old, but I have fond memories of it. Admittedly those memories were probably implanted by the Tyrell Corporation. But still…

    I grew up spending all my money at the seaside in arcades playing video games 10p at a time. Yes, I’m that old!

    I crave good writing, story, depth and immersion from gaming. Also ultra-violence.

    I do believe that games are an art-form, but I invariably end up running round like a lunatic, beating up bad guys and blowing shit up.

    Recent Favourites: Arkham Asylum
    Want to Try: The Last of Us
    Have played and liked from your list: Portal, Deus Ex: Human Revolution

    1. Haha, there is something satisfying about running through a game killing masses of… whatever the game lets you kill. I sometimes use it as a mechanism for blowing off steam. It’s therapeutic!

      I wasn’t very big into arcades when I was younger. I always liked pinball, but I was rubbish at it.

      Here’s a link to that fan-made Portal mod I mentioned. I checked, and it looks like it’s available for Mac! :D All you need to play it is to own Portal 2 (which is fantastic if you haven’t already played it)!

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