I’m writing this post because I don’t play video games. The only game I can remember playing is Spyro on PS1 when I when I was in middle school (I’ll let you figure out how old I am) . I’m barely even a casual gamer–I did play a little Candy Crush and Fruit Ninja when they first came out, but the novelty quickly wore off and I don’t think I’ve played a game since. I decided to take this class to introduce me to this media form in a new way, but I have to say, it’s been a little stressful. The way I hear people talk about video games in class isn’t the way I experience them, so I’ve begun to wonder…am I playing video games wrong? Is this even possible?
I’m thinking about our class discussions on freedom, choice, and narration. Most people expressed delight at the choice of being able to go against the narrator. Having a multitude of options that influence the game’s narrative and outcomes seemed to excite most people–but it’s not the same for me. I’ve enjoyed all the games we’ve played thus far in the course (Papers, Please, Thomas Was Alone, Undertale, LIM), but my experience playing them was sometimes frustrating. I didn’t quite know what to do because there wasn’t a narrator telling me how to play. As I came across options, I was intimidated. I wonder what I should do or what should be happening and what would make the game most exciting. I’m always second-guessing my choices and wondering if I took the “fun” option? When I was playing Undertale and couldn’t pass the potholes, I wondered if I was doing something wrong or if everyone had this same experience playing the game. When I chose to flee or fight the bosses I asked myself if this would result in the most rewarding gameplay. I sometimes feel uncomfortable with the amount of control I have in some games because I don’t know if I’m playing the “right” way, if there even is one. Often, when I get to class and hear other people’s experiences with the same game, I’m shocked because it seems like they played something entirely different. This makes me wonder even more if I’m playing wrong. I’m not sure if I just need to explore more kinds of games, or just get comfortable with being in control of a story. For now, though, I keep asking–am I doing this right?