What’s Your Gaming Philosophy?

Well, adventurers, here we are again. Things have slowed down since E3 last week not only in the gaming world but also in my personal world. I’m still stumbling around like a zombie out of sheer exhaustion and I can barely keep my eyes open, but hopefully within the next few days I will catch up on sleep and get back into the swing of things here on the blog. At least this post actually has a featured image! I’m improving already!

Something about E3 that I found particularly interesting – and I have read some other bloggers pointing this out as well – was that the philosophy of the Big Three really sat at the heart of each conference. Power, Story, Fun – each company presented their content with a very specific message in mind. I’m not here today to wax poetic on which one I think is right or wrong – it takes all sorts to make the gaming community flourish – but rather to talk about how the conference made me question my own gaming philosophy.

Socrates.jpeg
Which company would Socrates agree with?!

Ever since I could think abstractly enough to have a philosophy on gaming, I always thought of quality storytelling as paramount. While I made exceptions for multiplayer-focused games, I didn’t care much for a single-player experience if it didn’t have a compelling story to convey to me. Love of story drew me to games like Final Fantasy, Paper Mario, and Fire Emblem. I loved seeing characters grow and change, I loved learning the backstory of tortured protagonists, and I loved seeing a world rich in culture and lore. Games where the story didn’t deliver were games that didn’t keep my attention for long.

Following that logic, then the company that gels the most with my philosophy is Sony. At least at this E3, right? Their whole message was about having the console with the best exclusive titles for quality storytelling. With games like Uncharted, God of War, Days Gone, and Detroit, it looked like Sony really would be delivering on their promise to share amazing stories with gamers in the coming year.

So why was I so bored with them?

Slowpoke
Slowpoke used Yawn! It’s super effective!

If you managed to endure my article about the Sony conference, then you know that I was thoroughly unimpressed. Not even a little excited about the majority of the announcements made. Yet this is the company whose presentation was specifically geared towards the gaming philosophy that I consider myself to subscribe to. Either these games don’t deliver on the promise of great storytelling, or storytelling isn’t really the first thing that I look for when I think about picking up a video game.

Conversely, the conference that I did enjoy watching was the one held by Nintendo. I was thoroughly excited by many of their announcements, and I’ve been spending this weekend watching more in-depth coverage of their games, including finally delving into the Nintendo Treehouse streams. This probably isn’t surprising to anybody who has been following me for longer than ten minutes – the majority of my articles are opinion pieces about Nintendo, I only write guides for Nintendo games, and my three favorite video game series are all Nintendo series. I’m obviously a big Nintendo fan, but shouldn’t I be an even bigger Sony fan if my philosophy really is “story first?”

What really made me question myself a bit here was when I watched the Treehouse presentation for Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. If you read my article about the Nintendo conference, you might recall me having said:

“…while I now refuse to actively make fun of Mario + Rabbids because I have seen in the Ubisoft conference just how hard that team is working and how much they care about their product, no amount of earnestness can convince me that I will like the game. I heard GameXPlain compare the rabbids to the Minions and for me it’s the perfect comparison – as soon as I look at the things I groan and roll my eyes.”

Something like that, anyway. At the time, I hadn’t watched the Treehouse coverage and had seen no actual gameplay. I just knew that it was a Mario game with Rabbids in it. However, once I saw the game in action – specifically the combat mechanics – my entire viewpoint changed. Holy wow does that game look interesting. The battles look so strategic with the characters carefully positioning themselves around cover, using the environment and each other to move around in unique ways to get the right angle on the enemy and blast them. Team jumps look cool, I love the cover mechanic and that it isn’t a permanent solution to avoiding attacks – I still think the sense of humor may make me roll my eyes but I care so much less about that because the gameplay looks fun.

Mario plus Rabbids Tweet
The moment my eyes were opened.

So let’s take a second to digest that – my whole opinion of Mario + Rabbids changed not because they demonstrated to me that it would have a compelling story with in-depth lore and backstories and yada yada. My opinion changed because when I saw the game mechanics at play, the game looked fun.

“Oh great, here comes the speech about how Nintendo is perfect and we should all buy a Switch because Fun (TM) is the real secret to quality games.”

Don’t worry, that’s not where I’m going with this. Just because I am discovering for myself that fun might be the most important game feature for me doesn’t mean it works the same way for you. And who defines fun, anyway? We do, each of us for our own sake. Maybe “fun” is the most important thing to you but everything Sony showed off looked more fun to you than what Nintendo demonstrated. Maybe “story” really is your focus but you felt like Microsoft’s exclusives have the best story potential. I’m not here to convince you that a certain console is better than another – like I said towards the beginning of the post, we need all schools of thought to really have a flourishing and compelling game market. For me personally, though, I am discovering that maybe my approach to video games has changed from what I once considered the most important.

What about you, adventurers? What quality is most important to you when looking at games or consoles? Have your tastes changed over time? Let us all know in the comments, and thanks for taking the time to read today!

10 thoughts on “What’s Your Gaming Philosophy?

Add yours

  1. I’ve always been the same as you: a game needs to have a great story in order to grab my attention. I guess that stems from being such a big reader as a kid and always having my head stuck in at least one book.

    Saying that though, I’ve really enjoyed playing Horizon lately and love the stealth / hunting mechanic. Gripping plot plus fun action – the best of both worlds!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It use to be just about fun when I was younger. Now a great story trumps most other things. I was totally taken by surprise with Mario + Rabbids. I never thought I would want to play this, but I really do now! Like you said, seeing it in action made it look interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Story can be important, especially the way it’s told. Sony’s conference displayed many variations of this, from character choice driver, to interactive, to passive story like in shadow of the colussus.

    All in all, I thought the big 3 (MS, Sony, Nintendo) all walked away with something positive from each of their shows. I can’t say anyone bested anyone else, I find myself excited about at least 1 or 2 major aspects of each showing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, story is definitely not what turned me off to Sony’s conference. Even games I have NEVER played, like God of War, caught my attention this year because the narrative looks interesting. I think, as you said, each conference has something to like – it ultimately boils down to your playstyle and preference which one appeals to you the most.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m in camp “why not both?” I love a good story, and a good story told well is certainly fun to experience! But Sometimes it’s nice just to escape into a different world… I don’t exactly play Journey or Grand Theft Auto for the riveting storylines, but they’re still a lot of fun to play for their own reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I tend to agree.

    I don’t think there is really a winner or lose at E3, some just come out much better. Nintendo came out the best because they have the most original and new games coming out. I have a Switch and PS4 but I find myself gravitating towards the Switch more at moment due to the compelling stories on offer. Zelda, now Splatoon are much more appealing that some of the games on offer on other platforms.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For sure! The Switch has a pretty sweet lineup right now – as a Nintendo fan I am hoping they can seize this momentum and have it carry through next year as well. It looks good so far – with Pokemon, Metroid, Yoshi, Kirby, and Fire Emblem on the way next year, they have most of their IPs pretty-well covered!

      Like

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