Sunday, August 28, 2016

Replay = Love?

I read a tweet yesterday that paraphrasingly said that you make time for the things that matter in your life. I consequently interpreted it as meaning the things you don't choose to spend time on are things you don't care so much about. The original tweet was in regards to people. As someone who is notoriously bad at keeping in contact I found it difficult to agree with it however. I rarely call anyone, but there are very many people I am very fond of. I don't call my parents often, but I keep regular contact with them through other means, like Messenger. But someone like my brother, who I care very deeply for and always enjoy being around, I haven't called for years. I don't even think I called him for his last birthday. If that makes me sound like a terrible person, you might be half-right. I've had friends question my lack of interest, only to have me try to persuade them of my sincere enjoyment of their presence in my life. I know people who call to other people in their lives every day. I'm not saying there is anything wrong or weird about that, but it's just not for me. This is something I've had to become better at (and I have definitely improved!) because the feeling that you're not important to someone who never calls for you is a pretty logical one. Anecdotally it reminds me of my ex who always had a hard time remembering peoples names and then trying to convince said people that he still cared for them - he couldn't even remember the names of his grandparents.

To me it's meant a bit of work with myself. To the people around me who have expressed their desire for me to show more active interest, I've obviously tried to do so. For the people who seem fine with me just checking in every now and then and maybe never (like my dear brother), I've kept things that way. It also made me realize I have the same relationship with things.

Not a picture of my brother

I guess it'd be difficult to try to convince someone of your love for a game (or game series) that you have never even played yourself. Yet that is me and my relationship with the Resident Evil series. There are plenty of games out there that I respect for the quality gaming that they are without actually wanting to or having played much of it myself - games like the Metroid-series or Zelda-series. I've tried a couple of them but the gameplay is overall not something I find very enjoyable. This is not the case with Resident Evil however. I really like everything about those games (up until Code Veronica) yet I have never played any of them.

It's simply always been a series of games I've had someone play for me. I keep telling myself it's because they stress me out and I find them too scary. This is probably the closest I am ever going to get to an explanation as to why I haven't played them. Yet I have played horror games, like System Shock 2 and Dead Space (and Alone in the Dark is on my to-play-list). And I have been in very stressful gaming situations, like raid healing in endgame World of Warcraft. So maybe it's the combination then, or just exactly what Resident Evil makes me feel. That could possibly also explain why I am not such a big fan of RE 4 as everyone else seems to be - it might just be more fun to play than to watch. The only RE game I have tried so far is RE 5 co-op, and I definitely had some fun with that but then it is getting more towards an action game than a horror game at that point.

Resident Evil is a bit of an odd one out however, since most games I really cherish I have played. Surprisingly many of them I also hold in very high regard without having played them for years. Games like Lemmings, Yoshi's Story, Final Fantasy VII or Azure Dreams - all games I would recommend to anyone in a heartbeat but haven't touched for ages. It's not even a question of replayability, I know I would have fun with all four of these. But I have played them and so it's more interesting to try something new than retrace, even if I don't know how much fun the new will be.

In fact there are very few games at all I can say to have replayed (or revisited if you like). FFVII and FFX I've played twice, I've watched the first four (five if you count Zero) Resident Evil being played through multiple times if that counts but otherwise I'd be hard pressed to mention more, even if I'd include games I replayed for a bit but not all the way through. I replayed Yoshi's Story a lot back when that was my first and only game, but since then I've only played the occasional stage with my kid. And can you call it replaying if you've never even beat the game in the first place? I spent a lot of time on games like Snake Rattle n Roll or any given Mario game, but I've never beaten them.

I know plenty of people who do the opposite, in fact my SO is just that kind of person. He can rewatch the same series and movies over and over and replay the same games over and over. Of course I rewatch and replay things as well, but it is rare and far inbetween. Does it mean I love them less and enjoy them less? Maybe! Obviously it is very difficult to measure subjective enjoyment but it doesn't sound too farfetched that someone who chooses to play a game enjoys it more than someone who doesn't.

Or maybe it is not that simple. Maybe I just fill up on my enjoyment meter faster or don't empty it as fast as other people. I'm venturing in to ramble-ground here, but why not - that is what a Sunday evening blogpost is for. For instance I know I seem to have a surprisingly good episodic memory, at least when compared to people around me. I can remember, in quite vivid detail, a whole lot of things that has happened to me all the way from around 5 years old to today (as memory is a very fickle thing I couldn't say much as to the truthfulness of said memories, but they're there anyway). Maybe this also helps me store more memories of a game I've played or movie I've watched and so I feel less inclined to re-do it again? So then it is not about how much you enjoy a game but whether you need or want to replay it to experience that enjoyment again.

I think what I am trying to get at is that eventhough there are many games I really love, and even love to play, I rarely get around to actually playing them. I almost always choose a new, unknown experience over an old, known one. I don't want to think that means I love them any less, but I can't exclude that possibility. When my SO boots up Sonic the Hedgehog for the umpteenth time and I see that smile spread over his face eventhough he's spent so much time with it he knows the game by heart - I can envy that sometimes. In his case it is probably also a nostalgic kick, but not even games that hold great nostalgic value to me seem to give me that same feeling.

I didn't grow up playing games or watching films either, so that might be another factor. I didn't have a TV in my own room until I was 19 and could buy one for my own money. I didn't have a computer until I was around 16 and I owned my first console at 13. That might explain the lack of a real nostalgic kick from most things movie and game related, but I don't think it can explain why I so rarely choose to replay games.

In the end I guess it doesn't matter. I'm not suffering from it and I am sure no one else will either. But it is interesting to ponder your own relationship with games sometimes, the ones you call special and how much time of day you actually end up giving them. I wonder how common it is for people to pick up their old consoles and boot up an oldie but goldie rather than play another match of Overwatch? It makes me think that maybe it is time for me to give good old Settlers 2 a spin again, I haven't played it for far too long.

No comments:

Post a Comment