[Archive] I Just Can’t Play Games

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It's been a long time.

I remember writing an article talking about the issue that I just can't play video games as a normal person would. I. e. can get empathy to the character, also known as getting in the role. However, I couldn't find it in the archive. Maybe it was on a notebook that I haven't digitized yet or it is permanently lost. Either way, I have to make a comprehensive examination on this issue. Just to have a good excuse for not playing games like a normal one.

Section I - The Financial Problem

The major reason, or excuse if you please, for me not hopping on the wagon is I have a limited budget for gaming. I couldn't afford to spend too much on games or the balance will be tipped. The majority of trending mobile games are well-designed cash sinks that, from what I have learnt from multiple cases, lure you in and squeeze your wallet like a lemon. It is acceptable that mobile games are designed like this. So it shall be reasonable for me to not tackle any of those things. Compared to free-to-play, I prefer the traditional model that you buy a game for once and for all, in a single transaction and the enjoyment can be yours. Fairtrade, fair game.

Section II - The Peer Pressure

Some of those mobile games are not (at least at the first sight) sinks. But they almost always contain another thing - peer pressure. You are forced to be compared with others. I mean, come on. I have been working for hours and trying to be better than those, and you, as a game, which shall be a relaxing entertainment, throwing me under more pressure? Yelling at me to "git gud"? And if those whips are just numbers and leaderboards that would be still fine since I can still ignore them. But MOBA games? No thanks. I don't need more toxic words to ruin my day. I've seen enough.

Section III - An Alien Taste

So, we are left with traditional PC games and console games sans MOBA, MMORPG and Online Shooters. Basically single-player games or in-circle multiplayer games. We still have many choices. But it was further limited by conditions. In my early years, I wasn't using a powerful computer. The computer I used was barely enough for anything. For starters, it had no dedicated graphics card. So my choice of gaming is severely crippled. In addition, the Console Ban was still active so owning a console was not an option either. (My first dedicated device for games is the NDS that I have just bought years ago.) So, naturally, Flash games. Puzzles. Things that don't require a dedicated GPU to run. Those are what I could get on the developing stage of taste. I played a lot of bad games for sure. But what left are those good games, the games with impressive graphics and amazing programming. I remember playing Super Mario 63, which is a Flash game. The assets are, of course, ripped from Mario games. But ripped carefully and organically that if it was wrapped in a box, you would believe that it's genuinely made by Nintendo. And what's more important is that it has a LEVEL EDITOR that lets you make levels with those assets and SHARE ONLINE. It is THE Mario Maker before Nintendo even had conceptualized Wii U!

Sorry for the segue. The Flash era left me with an alien taste that trending games just so happen to miss perfectly. Well, what about consoles, then? I mean at least we have an NDS now, right?

Section IV - Inability to Empathy

Maybe there is something wrong with my brain. I have to admit that I cannot "experience" what others are experiencing. Like I can watch footages of operations without feeling uncomfortable. I can still think from their perspectives and make analyses, though. This leads to a problem that I cannot "feel" the story. I can read the dialogue, make the actions, but I can't be the One in the game. When I am playing games, I am just puppeteering a model. My role is always the inspector of the subject as if I am running some manual tests on games. This issue peels off the very fun of playing RPG. And that's why for most RPGs my standard routine is: Download - Install - Watch the intro - Get to the first checkpoint - Save - Ditch. I might make it to the second checkpoint someday.

Section V - Have to Debug

The programmers' disease. I have to know how was it implemented. I have to learn something from it. Recently I was forcing my self to pick up my NDS, just to "play some games as it was required by UtilityRateWatchdog". For the record, I have only beaten New Super Mario Bros. And for fuck sake that's 1 in ~30. And that's one of the only two games that you don't have to put your name on it. Puzzle games are excluded since they don't have a checkpoint. But RPG games are in the typical ditch cycle. I have to admit that many of them are delicate and well crafted. Zelda games inherited the art style of the Wind Waker, which is nice. And Ninokuli, the one with full-motion videos impressed me a lot. (In addition, it's a Ghibli Studio production! The state of the art!) And Professor Layton series with excellent puzzling elements. (Dog bless LEVEL-5 Studio!) It won't be a comprehensive list but all of them are amazing games ... that being ditched. I name my characters GDB (which stands for GNU Debugger for who doesn't program), or 4004 if the Latin alphabet is not available (which is the first CPU made by Intel). You get the idea -- I am here to debug a program. I am here to learn.

Section VI - Too Much to Learn

I am here to learn. Show me what you got. And, well, here is a 350+ pages booklet as your reading exercise. Please remember all 35+ Roons as you will need to use them in the game. (Yes, the Ninokuli.) For starters, here are 50+ characters and their backgrounds you need to remember. In addition, here are fandom settings that you need to also remember but do not use. And you might need this Chronicle for understanding the deeper connection of characters and the plot. Besides, you don't have to gork any of these to play the game, but it is recommended. (I beg your mercy, Touhou Project.) Fantastic. Now it's time to hit the books. I can play the game later. Save - Quit - Forgotten.

Section VII - A Inconclusive Conclusion

Well. I bear a curse that I couldn't play video games. That's cool.

I... I'm sorry.

Look. I know I owe you a chance to play games.
And now I couldn't pay the interest. 
I have to climb out of the debt. 
I mean both real and virtual. 
The VM[0] is just a backup. 
It's not perfect, either. 
Too bad I didn't have a reset 
That can void all the cheques.

Archive of Mood thread at 2020-01-21. Originally written by me. Typo and grammar fixes applied.

  1. […] have already covered the fact that "I just can't play games like a normal person". I'm too cringe to play RPGs. I have dug up a Mood thread in the past to […]


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