Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Just Playin’ a Game

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 11, 2015

Being a game developer – or, I’m sure, a game journalist – can spoil you. Bad. I remember noticing this waaaay back when, after I’d been a professional game programmer for a year or so, how hard it was for me to just sit back and enjoy a game for pleasure like I used to. I always had some level of critiquing or analysis going on in my head. “How did they do this? Why did they make it work this way? What were they trying to accomplish here?”

Those little voices don’t silence easily.

But I think, over the years, I’ve managed to quiet them down a little bit. Either that, or I’ve been able to get more comfortable around them so that I can tune them out somewhat. It depends.

I recently (at the Christmas Steam sale) picked up an RPG that I’d once anticipated, but it released on consoles long before it came out for the PC, and the reviews were not wonderful. Not wonderful at all. So I skipped it on the PC release, and only grabbed it out of curiosity when the price was under $10. For less than $10, I can play a poor quality game and chalk it up to learning What Not to Do.

I intended to play it for only a half-hour. Ninety minutes later, I reluctantly exited the game, still enjoying myself. I could go through a laundry list of the things that are wrong with it (and many reviewers have…), but instead I just played the game – without spoilers – and really enjoyed myself. The voices might have been telling me that it was a sign of weakness to enjoy the game that had so many things wrong with it, but I was able to ignore them.

And I had fun.

As children, nobody had to instruct us how to have fun. And we did. Our games were incredibly simple and may not have made much sense, from something like just throwing a ball around, to imagining that certain color tiles or the cracks between them were made of lava and shouldn’t be touched. Our tastes may be a bit more sophisticated these days, but that basic joy and sense of fun is still there, no matter how hard the ‘adult life’ tries to beat it out of us.

These days, with so many games coming out each week (each day, for that matter), we depend heavily on reviews and word-of-mouth to try and navigate past all the crap. And we’re still going to hit our share of less-than-stellar games… at least, if we’re doing it right. Sometimes we just have to ignore the voices telling us what we should and shouldn’t like, and just get back to the simple joy of playing.

Sure – not all the games are worth it, and I’m definitely not saying to waste your time on junk. But sometimes, it’s worth giving it a little bit more of a try. Even the sub-par games may have been the labor of love for some developer, and while it may not be perfect, there may still be something to enjoy there. Just have fun, with whatever fun can be had. Get back to our childhood concept of fun, and enjoy it for what it’s worth – whether that’s for five minute, ninety minutes, or hours and hours.

Just have fun. That’s what it’s supposed to all be about, and we ought not forget it.

Have fun.

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  • Jason said,

    So, out of curiosity, what game was it?