From The Armchair: I Know What I Like… And I Know Which Games I’ll Never Enjoy

What ho, chums!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a fairly hefty games backlog. But having said that, it’s nowhere near as bad as it used to be. Partly that’s because I’m a lot more ruthless these days in getting rid of games if they don’t grab me. And I’m much more picky in the games I buy. There are plenty of genres that I instinctively steer clear of.

What I don’t like

Military shooters – I don’t know about you, but I don’t really see the appeal of playing realistic war games. I found Call of Duty: Modern Warfare more harrowing than fun. I don’t tend to play that many first-person shooters, but if I do, I’d rather shoot hell demons, aliens or giant robot Nazi dogs.

Sports games – I’m not totally averse to sport in real life, but I’m not exactly a massive fan, either. I think the last sports game I played and enjoyed was Brutal Sports Football on the Atari Jaguar. And I’m not sure that really counts as a sport, what with all the swords and beheadings.

Bullet-hell shoot ’em ups – Yeah, the clue is in the name really. If the genre is described as hell, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be the opposite of fun and relaxing.

Is this fun?

Most Pokemon games – I quite liked the first Pokemon game I played, but it’s been downhill since then as I realised that a) they’re all the same and b) they’re incredibly grindy. I got into Pokemon Go for a while, enjoying it’s stripped back nature, but the grind got me in the end.

Real-time strategy games – I happily played my way through Dune II and various other real-time strategy games on the Amiga, but nowadays I find them too stressful. Have you ever seen professional gamers play Starcraft? It makes me tired just watching it. I might make an exception for the new Settlers game though, I loved that series back in the day.

Fighting games – Again, I loved games like Street Fighter II, Soul Calibur and Dead or Alive 2 when I was a bit younger, but nowadays I just find them difficult and frustrating. The last fighting game I bothered to properly play – as in religiously learning all the moves – was Soul Calibur 2. And I can’t see myself ever doing that again with another fighting game.

Massive open-world games (most of them, anyway) – Do you find open-world games stressful? I often do, bewildered by the forest of markers that litter the map, denoting side quests, challenges and god knows what else. I enjoyed playing Mad Max earlier this year, but the cornucopia of map markers bewildered me at first – until I decided to methodically clear them all, area by area. Maybe I’m just weird. But this sort of thing is what puts me off playing games like GTA V and Assassin’s Creed. I’ll make the odd exception – but one big map mopper per year is enough.

Argh, where do you even start? Taken from this excellent article.

Horror games – Yeah, I’m a coward. I make the exception for Resident Evil, though. And I liked ZombiU, even if I had to play it with all the lights on.

Punishing Rogue-likes – Starting over again from the beginning again every time you die is definitely something I don’t miss from the 8-bit era. Dead Cells is about the only Rogue-like I’ve enjoyed, but even then the thought of starting over again repeatedly stopped me going back to finish it.

Pretty much any online games that aren’t Monster Hunter – Oh, and No Man’s Sky. That’s pretty good fun with friends. Everything else though… meh, not for me.

Kirby games… and most 2D platformers, actually – I don’t get Kirby games. But some people utterly LOVE them. I’ve played a few, and I always end up scratching my head and trying to understand the appeal. Then again, after playing through so many 2D platformers back in the 90s, they have to be really unique and different to warrant my attention these days. I even gave up on New Super Mario Bros. U.

I don’t get it.

Stealth games – I’m crap at being stealthy. I bounced off the first Metal Gear Solid for this reason, and the only stealth game I’ve really enjoyed since has been Dishonored – although chiefly because it allowed me to ignore the stealth and go crazy with magic powers and stabbing. I recently tried Deus Ex: Mankind Divided to see whether it might change my mind. It didn’t. Beautiful game, though.

What I do like

Point-and-click adventures – I played loads of these back in the day, and I’m pleased to say they’re undergoing something of a resurgence – we had two in our top ten games of 2018. Even better, obtuse puzzle solutions seem to be a thing of the past. Hurrah!

Turn-based strategy games – I could happily sit and play XCOM all day, and often have. Likewise Valkyria Chronicles. I love having space to think in these games, planning out strategies and adapting to changing situations. Maybe I’m getting old, but I much prefer this methodical gameplay to more fast-paced stuff.

I’m-a sneaking on the roof / Gonna get those bad guys / But I’m taking my sweet time / ‘Cos I’m old.

RPGs – Love ’em. Whether it’s Zelda, Mass Effect or some kooky JRPG, I’ll gladly play any RPG you have to offer. Except Final Fantasy. For some reading I just can’t get into those games, even after trying a fair few. Maybe it’s the overblown cut scenes – I spent more time watching Final Fantasy X than playing it.

Metroidvanias – 2018 saw a plethora of Metroidvanias being released, and I couldn’t be happier. Just give me a map to fill in and abilities to collect and I’m as happy as a pig in sh… in a pile of missile upgrades.

Weird indie games – I’m nearly 40, and sometimes I get a bit tired of seeing the same old games being trotted out again and again. So god bless the indie developers and their weird imaginations. Probably the game I’m most looking forward to in 2019 is about a naughty goose.

HONK HONK!

Action adventure games – This is such a broad genre that I hesitate to include it. But games like Gravity Rush and Tomb Raider would fall into this category, and I can’t get enough of those. Bayonetta, too – how would you categorise that? Let’s stick it under this heading.

So there we go, the games I’m sure to love and the games I’m probably going to hate. Makes it a bit easier to manage the backlog, for sure. How about you? What genres leave you cold, and which get you salivating?


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3 Comments

  1. S’up chap! Lord C agrees wit ya fer t’most part, however..
    C loves Kirby, MGS & FF (altho I’ll grant you they are bloomin grindy.. currently tryin ta play FF2 & FF6, on PS1, without any cheats [Gasp!] is an absolute farce!!!)
    I’m glad we agree that cod is mostly balls tho!
    Less military cack, more Nazi demon robo-dogs & indie magic!!! Happy 2019 to ye, Baby!!!
    May yer backlog be ever shrinkin, & may ye never run outta gaming snacks/mountain dew!!!

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