So I finally made a list of my favorite video games. They’re all on my MAL profile, as this blog has enough overcomplicated listings already, I have no intention of typing descriptions for them, and said list is going to be even more flexible than the others. Because unlike anime and films, I haven’t been all that active in the video game world and am now trying my best to catch up to it. Hell, my list includes Assassin’s Creed and Bioshock Infinite – two games I’ve played very recently even though they’ve been out for years – and I’m sure Dark Souls and Shadow of the Colossus will get on when I finally get to playing them. If anything, that list is more of a temporary placeholder begging to be updated with this entire library I’ve stocked up but never found the time to play.
Whilst I’ve generally kept up with the video game scene through several mediums over the years, my actual playing has been very limited up till now. My Asian parents were pretty strict about the stuff growing up, only allowing me to play on weekends when I wasn’t grounded (which happened more times than it should have) and never allowing me to buy T-rated or M-rated games until I was of age. And even then, I was only allowed one type of console, so I mostly just played Nintendo things growing up whilst only having access to Playstation stuff whenever my cousins and friends brought them over. I’ve never been a fan of Microsoft’s gaming library (Halo) and before I heard of Steam, the most I did on my PC were point-and-click stuff for kids (never played the LucasArts stuff like Monkey’s Island). But even with my Nintendo fanboyism, I could tell straightaway that the Wii was a bad idea due to its motion control system, so I pretty much ditched video games entirely once I went to college until I read an article about a game where you fought by shooting yourself in the head and found a PS2 for cheap during my junior year, leading me to play every PS2 SMT game ever – along with trying the handheld ones and realizing how much I hate them as gaming devices.
My favorite type of games growing up were platformers, JRPGs, superhero games, and anything involving Nintendo’s iconic IPs or something I adored as a child in general. Even the crappy ones like Digimon World 2 and Kingdom Hearts, I enjoyed because the former was a game about Digimon and the latter had Donald Duck in it. But since I was allowed few games, I’d just replay the ones I really liked over and over. Think I’ve played through Ocarina of Time over seven times now, all parties with my friends ended up with us playing Mario Party/Kart/Tennis/etc., and don’t even get me started on Tales of Symphonia – the game that introduced me to the world of “anime gaming” in general (never played or even saw much of FFVII). It was kinda similar to my early years as an anime fan when I just rewatched Clannad or Baccano over and over because I didn’t really broaden my horizons beyond the few things that caught my eye when I searched for something new like once a month. And now that I’m an adult with income and years of gaming to catch up on, I’ve discovered…that just like anime, it’s still best to enjoy the few things even with my broadened horizons.
Similar to my anime list, I’m only putting on games I can see myself going back to in the future if I ever wanted to. There’s some stuff I need to replay to see if I’d still like them now (Silent Hill for starters), but even taking that into account, I’m a little surprised myself that so few games from my childhood hold up. Granted, N64/PS1 graphics making going back to things like Goldeneye and Crash Bandicoot all but impossible without causing eye damage is a huge factor, but still. And whilst they’re not on the list, there are a bunch more games out there that I enjoy. I generally like Mario platformers – including Sunshine – and some of Humongous Entertainment’s stuff. I like Katamari Damacy and some of the Tales series. Not really big into fighting games, but Street Fighter and Super Smash are nice diversions if my friends ever visit (they don’t). Earthworm Jim doesn’t really hold up that well gameplay-wise, but it’s still a pretty funny game to play.
But also similar to anime, and mostly due to all the narrative-based Japanese games I interacted with, I want more than just playing in mind – although it should come first in video games because otherwise you’d get overly-long grindfests like Disgaea that have funny stories which take too long to progress. I want to be impressed by the narratives they can bring. I want them to show the world that video game storytelling isn’t a pipe dream. I want Naughty Dog to be the standard that most people look at when they talk about what can be accomplished with it. Basically, whilst I play games to have fun, I want more than just “fun” from them – unless you’re Spiderman 2 of course. Call it snobbish if you want, but we have to draw a line between “favorites” and just plain “like” somewhere.
As for games I have no intention of playing because I don’t enjoy them – or just games that will never get on my favorites in general – I never cared for the strategy genre where the likes of Civilization and Age of Empires reside. I don’t do MMOs. Whilst I’m not against them, I’ve never loved a fighting game beyond when Super Smash was still fresh. Hate vast-open world RPGs like the Elder Scrolls franchise, and regarding western RPGs in general, I’ve only really had exposure to Bioware and I think that says enough. Whilst I don’t hate EA’s games as much as I hate the company (hard to do really), simulation games and the sports genre can kiss my ass. My bias against handhelds will prevent Pokemon from ever getting on. And finally, whilst third-person shooters are fine by me, I have no in-betweens for first-person ones because I generally dislike the gameplay for those things and thus everything else about the game has to work hard to draw me in. Either I’ll really like it (hi there Metroid Prime) or I’ll really hate it (bye there Call of Duty). Keep that in mind if any of you guys want to recommend a game to me.
So in short, I’ve got a lot of biases and a lot of games to catch up on. I guess the last thing I should note is that if I think a game is worth talking about, I’ll review it on the blog. But since games are generally expensive, unless I get enough donations on that Patreon thing (and I know I’m not all that popular, but damn the number of donations I’m getting on that thing is sad), don’t expect me to look at something too recent unless I really want to play it (like say, Persona 5). I don’t want blogging to be a job or anything, but it’s not exactly free and I’ve got enough bills to pay as is. Like the one I’ve raked up getting the tools to play these games in the first place.
PS: I was going to talk about beat-em-ups, but who still cares about that genre anymore? And do I really need to clarify my feelings on visual novels again?