8:30am. Sapporo, Japan.
I am sitting at a steel table outside a brightly lit MOS Burger joint. The air is so cold, each breath I expel forms a small cloud of mist before me. My closest friends sit around me, waiting for breakfast to arrive. As I wait for our meals to be served, I flick through my phone. It seems I have received an update about a game I have been following for quite some time; Soda Drinker Pro.
When I announce my excitement about this, I am met with the reactions I have come to expect.
“Why?” One of my friends ask, “What’s it about?”
Exactly what it sounds like, I explain. It’s a game which allows the player to simulate drinking soda in many different locations.
Of course, they don’t get it.
“It’s because of people like you,” The same friend nods at me, “that these games exist. Wasted potential.”
I know what he’s referring to. It’s the term we throw at each other as an insult. Casual gamers. He knows I am far from a casual gamer, but the fact that he’s comparing me to one should be deemed offensive.
My comeback is cut short by the arrival of breakfast, and the conversation is quickly forgotten.
What I wanted to say would never be said. I knew it would fall on deaf ears because it was not so long ago that I thought the same way. It was like looking at my past self, bolding stating that these casual titles have no place in gaming.
Now, I would have said that it was important for developers to be unafraid to try something new. I would have said that new ideas in the industry would ultimately be beneficial. That somewhere out there, these games have a market of loyal fans who truly, truly enjoy them.
Every game has its place in our culture, regardless of whether we enjoy them or not.