In a previous post, New Year’s Gaming Resolutions, I indicated that I approach video games as a “free spirit.” Many times there isn’t a rhyme or reason to what I play and why I play it. If a game captures my attention and it is something I want to play, then that is what I am playing. In real life, I tend to be calculating but when it comes to gaming, I can be very spontaneous. It’s about what I feel at the moment and when it comes to gaming, my enjoyment is paramount. Gaming is a form of entertainment, which means it is something that is meant to bring gratification. If you aren’t experiencing some sort of elatedness while engaging in entertainment such as video games, movies, sports, anime, then what is the point?
Conventional thinking would have a person buy a game and focus on that game until it is completed. We would look at that person and figure that if he/she spent that much time with the game and stuck with it to the end, then that gamer loved it. But I am not conventional. There are many games that I would classify as excellent and would even recommend to others, but I am not even close to completing myself. I’m not a person who can just play a single game day after day and deprive myself of another game because of some unwritten rule that is comparable to not being able to leave the dinner table until I’ve eaten all of my vegetables. There are some days I desire a role-playing experience, some may involve a sports game, and others may be all about a first-person shooter. Furthermore, some days may just be a mixture of all sorts of genres. People would perceive me as being “all over the place” as a gamer, but that’s what I prefer. It’s about what I want to play right then and there. If I am going to partake in a gaming session, I will relish it.
For some gamers that lean more towards achievement, completion brings about a tremendous sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Bartle’s Taxonomy of Player Types classifies these types of gamers as “Achievers.” Reaching the end goal is foremost to them and the whole purpose of gaming is striving to reach the finish line. The other types within Bartle’s system are “Killers” (annihilation of competition), “Socializers” (gaming with others), and “Explorers” (the experience and journey are most important). Bartle’s classification for gamers is interesting and there is a big chance you fall within one or more of these four categories. I am predominately an “Explorer.” I also perceive a bit of “Achiever” in myself but accomplishments pale in comparison to stopping to smell the roses in the game world. I love exploration and discovery. That’s also the reason why I love mods, which further enhances the journey.
Many games have uncompleted save files in my library. But that’s okay. I’ve never seen the end of The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, but I have spent countless hours wandering around its gigantic map in gaming bliss. I’m scattered in the frequency that I play The Division 2, but when I do, I feel I’m playing one of the best shooter games in existence as I travel through the streets of the Washington D.C. depicted in the game. It doesn’t matter that I’m Level 22 and the other players are Level 500. Even in Smite, instead of devoting my time to leveling up, I’m playing bot matches against the A.I. because that is how I prefer to enjoy the game.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t finish games. In 2020, I beat Final Fantasy VII Remake, concluded the entire story mode of Mortal Kombat 11, passed the campaign modes in Call of Duty Modern Warfare and Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War, finally reached the end of Battlefield Bad Company 2’s campaign, completed the base game of Marvel’s Spider-Man, blasted through every boss on Crackdown 3, and took the journey with Class VII in The Legends of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel. There are many others I could list. The “Achiever” in me wouldn’t allow me to leave every game unfinished. There are times that I like challenges, enjoy having a goal to reach, and the thrill of victory. It just isn’t my priority every time I pick up a controller.
As a gamer, I am what someone would refer to in real-life as a person who is comfortable in his/her own skin. It took me a while to get there but at this point, I know what I prefer and I stick to it. As a teenager, my games mainly represented the sports, fighting, and role-playing genres. As I’ve ventured out to other genres, I’ve found that my gaming interests can’t be confined to just a few categories. Over the past two years, I’ve become very attached to rogue-like and rogue-lite titles. Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) and Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games have grown on me. I’m now regularly playing tactical games as well as visual novels. Heck, I’m even playing wave survival games.
How I game is not based on trends, a particular genre, popularity among gamers, or even Metacritic scores and reviews. It’s based on what I like and I’ve played long enough and tried enough different types of games that I will know almost instantly whether or not something is for me. There have been titles that have been critically praised such as The Last of Us or Sekiro Shadows Die Twice that missed the mark for me. Meanwhile, I’m more interested in mixed review games such as Vambrace Cold Soul and Rogue Stormers. When I am the one making the purchase and then spending the time playing it, the game needs to match my preferences and standards. Whether someone else agrees with me is irrelevant. But if you’re more of a social gamer, then I can see how someone else’s opinion would be a significant issue.
So there is some insight in terms of how I function as a gamer. These are just my opinions and in no way means I’m encouraging you to follow suit. My goal in this post is to encourage you as an individual gamer to not compromise who you are. Compromise in that way takes the fun out of gaming. As an activity that has been given to us to enjoy since the 20th century, our gaming experiences should be bringing smiles to our faces, not taking them away. I’m a gamer that operates ‘in the moment’ and truly embrace it. What type of gamer are you?