Monday, May 13, 2013

Geeky Rant: It's Not As Good As You Remember

Dear fellow gamers, 

No game is perfect.  

I don't care how many high scores it got, how great the combat is, how many critics reviewed it or how many fans it has.  At the end of the day, no game, not even your favorite one, can reach the lofty state of absolute perfection.  

Be honest, how many games have you played that had no glitches whatsoever?  No typos, no plot holes, no loading errors, not even any crash to desktop moments.  Go on, I'll wait. 

Umm... Space Invaders?

...Yeah, I can't think of any, either.  

Chances are, you probably know all this and are wondering what my point is.  I'll tell you.  Have you ever had a game so widely praised that you went out and got it without question only to be disappointed?  I know I have.  Why do games that some people love so much end up failing to even interest others?  Not only do people have different tastes, but there's also a tendency to praise our favorite games more than they really deserve.  

Let's take Planescape: Torment as an example.  I've mentioned this game more than once here on my blog, and I even listed it as one of my favorites.  It's received many accolades from gamers as being one of the greatest games ever, but is it perfect?  Hardly.  The pace is slow, fight sequences are boring, the voice acting is largely mediocre, and puzzles (I use the term generously) are poorly integrated.  

Not to mention the terrible box art.

Why then, does a game with such obvious problems receive such praise?  Why do I consider such a game as one of my favorites?  

To be honest, it's because I'm biased.  I enjoy the story that Torment tells and choose to ignore its many problems and continue playing to try and find the answers to the questions it raises.  It's a bit like eating pumpkin pie even though you don't like the crust.  You put up with the things that you don't like because it's in the same package as the things you love.  Not that I don't like a nice gluten free crust on my pumpkin pie, but I digress.  

The problem arises when we haven't played the game in while, but recommend it to our friends.  Once we've put up with all these time-consuming fights and gotten to the end credits, the first thing we usually feel is satisfaction. (Unless we're talking about the ending to Mass Effect 3, but that's another topic entirely.)  We feel accomplished because we persevered through everything that was thrown at us and now we have some sense of closure to the story.    

We get off our computers or put down our controllers and suddenly, it's like there's two different games.  The first is the actual game, the second is the one that we fondly remember because we exaggerate its strengths and conveniently forget its issues.  

All this rambling is to remind you to be honest when it comes to telling your friends about a game you've played.  Yes, tell them all about the cool guns and funny moments, but don't forget to mention the parts that were annoying or shoddily done.  Trust me, it's better to be frank than to cause someone to nerdrage.  

"I thought you said this game was awesome!"

Until next time, 

--An Average Christian Geek 

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