I Play Video Games Wrong

When I played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I eventually did everything I could to avoid the Lynels, Centaur-like creatures that dotted Hyrule. I say “eventually” because I didn’t avoid them at first. At first, I was ready and willing to take on these difficult beasts with my dinky wooden sword, because why wouldn’t I at least try? That’s part and parcel in many games – trying to defeat anything and everything in sight. I did manage to take out a couple before my brain broke a little from the stress, at which point I made up my mind to simply ignore them. In fact, I started ignoring just about anything that didn’t make the first move, and I had a pretty grand time. I conquered the Divine Beasts, cooked and collected until my heart was content, and explored every corner of Hyrule I could.

Until…well…I hit a point where I had no choice but to defeat a Lynel in order to progress. Since I hadn’t practiced on the Lynels before it, I was sorely unprepared. Oh, I tried my best, remembering what I could from my two pitiful Lynel battles much earlier in the game while also consulting the Internet for help.  But the truth is that I knew from the moment of the encounter that I just didn’t have will to see through the fight. And that’s when my time with Breath of the Wild ended.

Did I play the game wrong?

I write this out because of Elden Ring. I’m not playing it, but if you are, I hope you’re not somehow playing it wrong and yet still enjoying it. Because it seems like that’s not the thing to do, right? Play the game in whatever manner makes you happy? If you’re on gaming social media in any capacity, you’ve probably seen lots of posts and quips and tips about “cheesing” the game versus playing it the “right” way. I’ve never played a Soulsbourne game, but I’ve heard that the “right” way to play follows the traditional “git gud” notion. You play and practice and die a whole lot in order to master gameplay.  If you don’t follow this method and make up your own rules and workarounds in order to progress in one of these games, you are somehow playing it wrong or “cheesing” it, i.e. not playing the game in the manner intended.

I have no wish to draw the ire of any particular crowd, but the fact of the matter is that people have been “cheesing” games since video games became a thing to do. Sure, maybe there were a few directions given with any game (stick moves ship, hit button to fire), but coming up with one’s own methods to progress from point A to point B is just playing video games. And it kind of means that I’ve been “cheesing” games my whole life.

I mean, I’m definitely doing it in God of War right now. In boss battles, I use mostly quick, cheap shots (because I simply can never remember to recall Kratos’s axe at the right time, goshdarnit), seek out plenty of health, and run and hide when I need a moment to think. I’m sure my Kratos looks like a flailing wrestler to someone who’s taken time to master his move set, but, I’m still defeating those bosses. My tendency to “cheese” it during the game has led to a few failings, yes…like, I don’t have the chops to defeat any of the difficult, and optional, Valkyries, but that’s okay. I can try if I want, and I sometimes do, but there’s no punishment if I don’t. At least…there hasn’t been yet. I get that I might very well end up in a Link vs. Lynel situation with Kratos, but I can only cross that bridge when I get to it.

And I won’t even get started on fighting games. In them, I “cheese” like Velveeta. (And if you’ve watched my Not Zangief series, you know!) I’ve played enough fighting games to understand the basics (especially if we’re talking Street Fighter and its ilk), and I do actually try to not button mash my way through fights, but if I happen upon an easy way out of the fight, you best believe I’m taking it. Admittedly, since my skills aren’t up to par, happening upon such is usually accidental, but still…a win is a win.

Isn’t this true in any game? No matter if you get Mario to the Princess, Sonic through the race, or Samus to her ship, you spent time with a game you enjoyed. What else is there to prove?

Lede image captured from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild gameplay (© Nintendo).


  1. renxkyoko says:

    LOL ! ! I am like that , as well. Do you know I spent hundreds of hours collecting bolts ( in Ratchet and Klank ) so I could buy that weapon that shoots 100 bullets in one go? Enemies never had a chance with that kind of weapon. LOL… My brother used one single rifle to defeat the last boss. That’s why my brother looks down on me. He he.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      We each have to come up with our own ways to succeed, and it all takes TIME! XD Whether we spend it seeking out a special weapon or spend it honing skills. My husband gets on my case too (mostly jokingly) when he thinks I’m doing something “wrong” in a game. And I’m like “you have your way to play and I have mine. Deal with it LOL!”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I sometimes cheese my way too. Unless I’m playing a game where the character levels up. I used to run away from random encounters in those games but it ended up being the death of me. So I made a promise to only cheese through games where there’s no level up system.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      That’s a good way to go about it, and I tend to use the same idea. If a character has to level up, then sure, give me ALL the random encounters and difficult bosses. But if not, and the game is perfectly fun otherwise, then I will happily go about my business without all the fighting!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. DDOCentral says:

    Reblogged this on DDOCentral.


  4. Frostilyte says:

    If the game lets you do it then it isn’t cheese.

    I see the sentiment you’ve described a lot online, but it’s all BS. People coming up with a perceived “right” way to play a game is especially common in the fighting game scene. However, a win is a win. Only kind of people who would say otherwise have made up a bunch of rules that’ll ultimately hold them back.

    It isn’t our job as players to determine the rules of the game. If the game let’s you do a thing then we have to assume it’s intended.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      That’s a great point. If there was only ever ONE way to play Super Mario Bros., Street Fighter, or Elden Ring, that would be pretty dismal. Players learning how to play any game, both within the parameters set by the game and according to their individual skill/comfort levels, is just part of gaming. To think otherwise is very narrow-minded, and it takes away from the work of any game’s creator.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. cary says:

    Reblogged this on Recollections of Play and commented:

    Have I been playing games “wrong” my entire life? Maybe, and…maybe not. I jotted down some further thoughts on this line of thinking (and playing) recently on Virtual Bastion.


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