Games that we all play
WHEN I was a little girl I was really into the Backstreet Boys. I mean really into the Backstreet Boys. I scrawled love notes to Nick Carter and knew the dance from Everybody (Backstreet's Back) by heart.
I'm writing down this embarrassing fact because it demonstrates how much my tastes have changed over time. Sometimes I forget this phenomenon doesn't just apply to music and movies - once upon a time I really liked gross-out humour a la American Pie - but games as well.
There are games and genres that I may have had no interest in five, 10, 15 years ago. I might have even given some of those games a shot and got bored. But that doesn't mean I won't enjoy them now.
When I first played Halo, I'd never played a first-person shooter on a console before, and it had been years since I'd played one on a PC. In short, I sucked at it, and therefore I hated it. But a few months later, after really enjoying a different FPS, I came back to Halo and fell in love with the series almost enough to start writing love notes to Master Chief. Okay, maybe not quite that much.
This has happened to me over and over since, although sucking at the game wasn't always a factor. Once I started playing online multiplayer, my gaming world expanded again as I discovered that multiplayer experiences could be fun.
I thought I had found my jam - I was forever going to be playing Halo and Team Fortress 2 and MMOs, because I was a multiplayer gamer. I didn't even care when multiplayer-only games came out, because who plays campaign anyway?
And then recently my tastes changed once again. Who knew? It happened so slowly that I hardly even noticed it. I think it started when Halo 4 came out and I loved the campaign but didn't bother playing online. Then Titanfall came out and I played that for a bit before getting bored. And instead, during this time, I found myself shunning multiplayer games in favour of more in-depth, single-player experiences. I still like those multiplayer games, but I stopped playing them as much.
And then, inexplicably, I started enjoying American RPGs. Historically, they had always turned me off with their real-time combat and conversation trees. I preferred a turn-based, linear story in my RPGs and that was that.
But then I started playing Skyrim and found that I enjoyed that, and if you read last week's column you'll note that I got into BioWare's Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Now I'm giving the Mass Effect series another go and enjoying it immensely, despite having tried and rejected it twice before.
I don't know precisely why this has happened. Maybe now that my day job doesn't revolve around games, I can make the time for new experiences. Maybe I've just grown up a bit and my taste has matured.
It wasn't that I thought American RPGs were bad - they just weren't my thing. Despite that, when I give these games another chance and like them, it feels a bit like admitting defeat. Like 27-year-old me is betraying 25-year-old me. But that's kind of an awesome problem to have. I now have hundreds of hours' worth of a backlog of American RPGs to play through and (hopefully) fall in love with. All of these games that my friends have been raving about for years, the ones I knew were good but for some reason didn't connect with, I can play them now.