I am a creature of habit. I like routine so much in fact that if I don’t walk the same way around the Parliamentary triangle at lunch, or eat the same thing at the same time each day, I feel like it puts my entire day into disarray. It’s a strange little character trait to be sure – and a pervasive one at that – but thankfully not one that has tended to encroach on how I play video games.
I’ve written before about how I am envious of the types of people that play the same game year in-year out. The people that buy FIFA in September of every year like clockwork and play for an entire year without even so much as a wandering eye, for example. To them the incremental improvements are enough to keep them on their toes – if they even notice them that is – as long as it doesn’t compromise the core experience they’ve enjoyed for the past however many years. Predictability is what these people are after and the $70 in cold hard Aussie dollars is worth the price of entry. Oh how I long to be one of the FIFA faithful.
Although I may be closer than I think.
The reemergence of more than a handful of familiar games at E3 over the last couple of days has cemented an important thing about what I want from video games – something that I came to realise both while I was recently having guilty fun with the DOOM reboot(?) and while I play through 2006’s Dead Rising and its lesser Wii spin-off Dead Rising: Chop ’til you Drop more often (and regularly) than I care to admit.
When it comes to gaming I’m not after anything new or anything revolutionary. In fact, when it comes to videogames I’m after the familiar – reboots of classic games, retakes on old names, remasters of old faves.
I had a conversation with a friend of mine this afternoon who had been watching the events of E3 unfold over the last few days. When he asked what looked good, I started rattling off a few little ditties that had caught my eye: Crash Bandicoot 1-3 Remastered, Dead Rising 4, God of War and Forza Horizon 3 featuring right at the top of my list.
He agreed and we started lamenting the fact that there was no sign of Red Dead Redemption 2 yet.
But it was at this point that I had a vivid flashback to a conversation I’d had with another friend 10 years ago at practically the same time of year in pretty much exactly the same spot.
God of War II.
Forza Motorsport 2.
It was an odd realisation that with all the shiny new game experiences that are unleashed upon the world ever year, the things I’m craving are ones that I’ve played before. The God of War reboot looks to be an interesting take on a familiar theme. Dead Rising 4 sees a welcome return of Frank West and the Willamette Parkview Mall that I love so dearly. And Forza Horizon 3 is a prettier version of an iteration of a spin-off I’ve been enjoying for the better part of my adult life.
Quite simply I would be happy playing new versions of old games or old ideas ad infinitum. I’ve been a relatively strong advocate for remakes and remasters as a way to introduce old games to new audiences, I realised that I’d just be happy to be reliving old favourites rather than embracing new characters and mechanics.
Combine the fact that I’m a terribly nostalgic person with the fact that I don’t deal well with change and you’ve normally got a recipe for disaster. But if you’re the video game industry willing to draw from the well just one more time, well I’m pretty much your ideal customer. So while everything old is new again, I could not be happier.