How Have You Changed?

Do you feel like you’ve changed as a gamer? Not in terms of the amount of time playing games or other cursory elements like that. We’ve all had changes in our lives that have caused us to shift our gaming habits. I mean do you, at your core, feel like you’re a different type of player than you were 15, 10, or even five years ago? Do you have the same motivations for playing? The same goals? Are you still the adventurous type, or would you rather stick with what you know now? We enthusiasts  are often called the “core” audience. I just can’t help but wonder if this “core” hasn’t shifted in one way or another.

As much as I’d love to to be able to make a sweeping declaration about how the “core” audience has changed over the years, I simply can’t. As much as we get boiled down into trends and numbers by marketers and the like, we’re all different individuals with different reasons for what we do. So, I’ll be looking at this through the lens of my own experiences and what I’ve observed in those I play games with regularly. In my case, I know that I’ve changed as a gamer. I’ve mentioned other posts that I don’t care all that much about challenge in my games…but I used to. It wasn’t my biggest reason for playing, but I’d still try to achieve mastery in the games I liked. I finished the Halo games on “Legendary”, got the “Brass Balls” achievement in BioShock, beat all 3 Mass Effect games on “insanity” difficulty, and even completed the hard mode version of “Test Chamber 18” in Portal. If those games had come out now though, I doubt I’d try to do any of those things. In fact, the gamer I am now would probably see doing such things as a waste of time.

I’ve also become much more of a social gamer. If Destiny or The Division had come out 5 years ago, I probably wouldn’t have bothered with them. The focus on cooperative play, having to always be online, and not being able to pause would have been a huge deal-breaker. I was all about the solo experience, of absorbing a story and learning more about the world it was taking place in. A cooperative shooter that was more about the basic gameplay and less about building a world and narrative wouldn’t have been very appealing at all. Now though, these sorts of shared-world games are something that I welcome in my library as another means of connecting with friends that I don’t get to see very often.

I’ve seen changes in those I play with as well. I’ve seen someone who was formerly a devoted completionist relax into a player who’s simply happy to finish the game. I’ve also seen someone who was all about the latest and greatest decide to devote their time to just one game. These are just my personal observations, but I doubt I’m the only one who’s seen change in the goals and motivations for themselves and others.

It’s kind of interesting don’t you think? We’ve seen many changes in games over the years, and often we lament them to one degree or another. Our nostalgic notions tell us that games were better in the past, but would we still be playing if video games hadn’t changed along with us? I for one would like to think that I’d be around for all the new adventures and stories regardless of change, but I can’t really be sure. If games were the same now as they were in the eras of the N64 and Gamecube, I could very likely have simply gotten bored and ceased to see value in continuing to play. It makes one wonder just how much we need change, even if we don’t like it.

So, how have you changed as a gamer? Do you think you would still be playing if gaming was a static thing instead of the constantly evolving industry we’ve come to know?


Image by Flickr user: goodrob13 (cc)

27 Comments Add yours

  1. James Dixon says:

    For me, I think a few things happened which changed my gaming habits. Back when I was a kid, having no real income of my own, I got new games two or three times a year so – in conjunction with having loads of freetime – that sort of meant I had to play the same games to death. This was in the days before saving, mind, so it wasn’t necessarily that I was doing the same stuff over and over again.

    Then, when I finally gotz my own cash-money, I could buy more games (and memory cards, which had handily been invented in the meantime), but I actually had less time to play them, so those two things meant I would play more games, but actually devote less time to each one, just dipping in and out whenever I could.

    Nowadays, I have a decent amount of time to game (or I did until recently), so I’m somewhere between the two. I’m happy to abandon a game if it’s not that great – or after I’ve finished one play-through – but will also happily play the right game until it’s fully complete, collectibles done, etc, etc. Again, having other games to turn to if I’m not enjoying one certainly helps – but, on the other hand, I sometimes think that makes me miss out on some aspects of the games I am walking away from.

    Basically, that’s a long-winded way of saying that my habits do change, but sometimes they change back again.

    I probably should’ve just said that…..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Hmm, actually I think you make a good point here. A change in priority isn’t necessarily permanent right? Our circumstances definitely have a say in how we game.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. James Dixon says:

        Yeah, and there’s often a kind of conflation of different things – circumstances, time, whatever – and they tend to pull you in certain directions, sometimes even in opposite ones at the same time.

        Like, back when I first got my PS4, because the games weren’t exactly plentiful, I spent more time on some games than I normally would. It wasn’t necessarily a conscious choice, just a product of the circumstances. But like you say, that wasn’t permanent, so I reverted to type once I had several games waiting to be played – but then went back to “completionist mode” again when a particular game grabbed my attention.

        Maybe that’s just me being fickle, though!? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hatm0nster says:

        Nah. That’s just being a gamer! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. cary says:

    It’s always interesting to think about how one’s past with a particular hobby evolves over time, and how much of that evolution occurs due to changes in the hobby itself. To a certain degree, my own path with games has diverged plenty of times, but in a sense, like Mr. Dixon said, it’s come full circle. I used to play the same games over and over and over, and then I didn’t, but now I kind of want to again.

    So many more thoughts, though, and so much more to write! I think I’ll respond more fully in a post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Sounds cool! Would love to read it should you decide to do so!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. cary says:

        Ah, looks like that’ll happen this week! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Anidaan says:

    I think how we play games is certainly influenced by changing circumstances throughout life. However, some core elements for me have never wavered. I am always looking out for games with a powerful storylines over multiplayer aspects. While I will play MMOs and coop games with friends I always enjoy the experience more if there is a solid story wrapped up in it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      What would you say is your favorite video game story so far?

      Like

      1. Anidaan says:

        Tough question haha. Probably Assassin’s creed up until revelations. But practically tied with The Last of Us.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hatm0nster says:

        The Last of Us certainly had a strong story. I’d both it and BioShock: Infinite were right up there in terms of enthralling stories!

        Like

      3. Anidaan says:

        For sure! I would absolutely put BioShock: Infinite on my list of favorite stories

        Liked by 1 person

  4. hslamma says:

    I recently got back in the game (lol) by playing Until Dawn and then Heavy Rain. Other than those games, it’s been years since I spent time playing anything other than Halo. I guess games just weren’t coming out that I was interested in. Now it’s harder for me to marathon a game for more than an hour or two because I feel like there’s something else I should be doing. Is this just because I’m an adult or do I actually have stuff I’m forgetting about? I have no idea…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      I’ve actually felt something similar when I play single-player games. I chalk it up to feeling like I should be doing something more productive with my time (being an adult and all).

      Just something to deal with right?

      Like

      1. hslamma says:

        Apparently. I need to get over it though. I have a few games coming out this year that I’m finally excited about. What are you looking forward to?

        Like

      2. Hatm0nster says:

        Let’s see, I think 2016 is going to be a big year for me. There’s quite a few. Quantum Break, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Ratchet and Clank, Star Fox: Zero, Dishonored 2, and Uncharted 4 (to name a few 🙂 ).

        What about you?

        Like

  5. Prime Six says:

    The abundance of quality video games may have something to do with it. Because there are now so many we want to play only the best and all that time we could be 100% X game, Y game is yet to be experienced.
    The industry has matured in content terms aswell, games from Telltale, TLoU and Gone Home are all fairly story focused and contain mature themes.
    The indie revelotion and mobile games market are also big factors. Indies became popular after Terraria was released, they allowed for cheap games that could focus and innovate one factor of gameplay, like Hotline Miami does for 2d twitch shooters. Mobile games are easier to pick up and put down and play for any given duration of time instead of having to block out a few hours for civilisation
    those are my ramblings 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      You definitely have a point there though. There were always a lot of good games being made, but the number has definitely increased over the years. There’s also the factor of personal resources too.

      I don’t know about you, but I can afford to buy more games now than when I was in high school or even college. I suppose that’s where our time gets split up even more. We buy more games, so we have to spend less time with each of them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Prime Six says:

        I agree, in recent years I find myself in a position where I can purchase more games and consoles than ever before but I feel no need or desire to as I have such strong backlog anyway. I could go out and buy whatever is out this week or I could play for the first time:
        Red dead redemption
        uncharted 1-3
        the last of us
        dishonoured
        metro 2033 / last light
        Talos principle
        telltale games after wolf
        la noire
        vanishing of ethan carter
        brothers a tale of 2 sons
        bioshock 1-3
        That’s more exciting than the latest broken release or poor port. I wonder how many years till I get round to witcher 3 MGSV and Fallout 4 haha 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hatm0nster says:

        Hmm…I’d suggest putting the BioShock games at the top of that list. They’re some of the best you’ll ever play! The first game in particular.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Paul Bowler says:

    I don’t think I’ve changed much gamer wise, I will tend to go more for survival horror, gta, or Elder Scrolls types of games. I’ve never been a fan of FPS’s or Driving games though. Actually, I’ve only just got back into playing games after a long break, I injured my hand badly a few years back, and was unable to hold the controller properly. Now I’ve a PS4 and enjoying getting back into gaming, this is also the first time I’ve done any kind of online play with Dark Souls III and Bloodborne, so that’s been fun too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Sounds like those are definitely the games to play for your first introduction to online play. I’ve heard the community for those games is actually pretty nice, unlike most online shooters.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Paul Bowler says:

        Yes, I’ve found the communities for Dark Souls & Bloodborne have been brilliant and helpful

        Liked by 1 person

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