Hate is a strong word. It is a word I seldom use; a word I feel should only be brought out when the context is appropriate.
As a gamer, I seem to have developed an image with my audience as a gun-toting, text-hating, cutscene-skipping, hardcore elitist. Whilst that is true to some extent, I am also a firm believer in keeping an open mind when approaching anything in life, and games are no exception.
I like to broaden my horizons whenever possible and as a result have amassed a wide variety of gaming experiences in different genres.
So here are some games I loved, which most people probably thought I hated.
I have very vivid memories of being terrified while playing Zork Nemesis. I started with the horror games quite early. It is a very dark, first-person adventure puzzle game. The setting was creepy and the puzzles were insanely hard.
Zork Nemesis was also one of the rare games which employed real actors, whom did a wonderful job of bringing the game’s gothic universe to life.
The game sported a beautiful soundtrack and equally stunning visuals. The puzzles were difficult because of the amount of research and patience required to solve them. The game manual even came with a detailed hand-drawn map which was necessary to progress with.
I really enjoyed Zork Nemesis and still love it to this day, but as a child it was impossible to finish. It was unfortunate, because I came so close to the ending, only to become stuck and never finish it. I will never know what happens to Alexandria. It is a mystery that will remain as such forever.
I approached Journey with a lot of hesitation. I picked up the game quite some time after its release, meaning I had also already been exposed to an absurd amount of praise for the game. It was lucky I had ignored most of it out of disinterest, simply because I thought the game looked incredibly boring.
I was wrong.
I completed Journey in a single three hour sitting. Needless to say, it took my breath away. With the aid of six different people, I finished the game. I didn’t know what to do. I was sitting on my couch staring at the TV screen as the credits rolled, and the only thing I could think was, “What am I doing with my life?”
Journey made me think about the value of my life. When I was younger, I had originally wanted to work in medicine and save lives. Or become a superhero and save lives. I don’t know, saving lives was in the equation somewhere. I believe most human beings seek some sort of altruistic validation in their existence; this was mine.
As I grew up, my path became skewed. I was rewarded and praised for my writing ability, and that, coupled with my natural ability to pick up new games quickly, steered me in another direction entirely.
I don’t regret what I do now in the slightest, but I honestly feel like my work has little philanthropic value compared to that of say, a surgeon’s. What exactly is my contribution to humanity?
Journey brought these questions to the forefront of my mind and for that I am grateful.
To The Moon
It’s funny, because To The Moon carries all the traits of game that I truly despise.
It has little gameplay.
It’s almost entirely scripted.
I thought it pretentious.
And yet when I was essentially forced into playing this indie adventure game as a result of reviewing it for The Black Panel, I found myself surprised at what it offered me.
A story which touched a nerve. Death is the key theme in To The Moon, and it tackles its subject matter with a gusto which prompted me to ask my own questions. What would I do in that situation?
I was so effected by the ending of To The Moon that I spent a few days trying to convince my friends to play it. To this day, none of them have even touched the game. Regardless, I am glad to have played To The Moon and appreciated that something so moving, so powerful, could come from such a simple-looking game.
And so that is my pick of games which I truly enjoyed. There are probably more scattered throughout my past, but these were the most recent to come to mind. Any surprises?