Like many; I've been working a lot on the build up to the Christmas holiday. Many work 7 days, 10+ hours, and find themselves just dragging there body just a little further, knowing that they can take a break soon. It's hard to take a minute away when it's like this, but not so much a sit down and rest, a cup of coffee; but a mental break. Clearing the mind from the schedules, milestones and management. Mental fatigue finds us, whether you're a student, worker or part of a family, it's there in some form.
Usually to do this, I'd maybe read something light, like a comic or manga, perhaps watch something on TV; an anime or movie, or of course; play games. I've not had too much time to do this, so I've found myself usually just slumped in the sofa for the evening, or in the event of wanting to play; firing up Fifa 13 or Skyrim.
Now, I enjoy these games quite a lot. I think they are certainly two of the better games I've played this generation. But although Skyrim offers arguably the more 'game' like experience, I've found myself gravitate towards Fifa more. The bite-size nature of the game certainly helps, I can play 2-3 games pretty easily whereas in Skyrim, in 2-3 hours, sometimes very little can happen. But what I find too, is that I really don't want to escape into the world of Skyrim.
I don't really like the world that Skyrim provides, but this isn't really what I mean. I can still escape regardless, and I think that Skyrim being unlikable is actually commendable in a sense. It brings the reality of a harsh, frosted and coarse environment, that isn't supposed to feel welcoming. The problem I face, is that I'm just not emotionally readied for this investment at this time. I don't want to face something like this right now, I don't really want to feel like this world is something I need to battle mentally, as well as navigate physically.
Not everyone tackles a game in the same way, but when I play games I usually find that I have a level of emotional investment. It can be a little exhausting if you are physically and mentally tired. Like another example would be playing an action game, and I would have to perform an action in a stressful situation, with time against me. I really wouldn't want to do this in this current period. It's just too much.
There are many games out there that offer up alternatives though. I could play something like Harvest Moon, Disgeae, Age of Empires maybe, God of War perhaps...
Okay, so this is actually a trail of thought I had... I wanted to play something so I ended up mulling over some options. And I found that I was actually okay to play most things that I thought of. I felt I could play Guilty Gear in my current mindset, or Virtua Fighter. There were a lot of options that I felt that I could enjoy. But there was a group of games that just started to become more unappealing the more I thought about playing them.
At the moment, I have games like Rage, Alan Wake and The Witcher 2 waiting to be played. I think these games look great, that's why I bought them. I have Crysis and Space Marine mid playthrough, and have been enjoying playing those too. But I'm finding it hard to want to jump back in right now, I don't really feel like having that brutish, rough experience right now. I'm not really ready for that kind of investment.
There have been a lot of games released recently that I have been interested in, stuff like Black Ops 2, Halo 4, Assassin's Creed 3 and Dishonored. These all look like very good games. But not for me right now, I'm a little tired of this at the moment. I'm not really feeling it. I've spent time browsing on Steam and Origin, games like Mass Effect and Deus Ex are there and I want to get around to playing those too. But outside Skyrim and Fifa 13, the only game I played on my PC was Wizorb. But I really enjoyed the small session that I had with this game. I played for maybe 30 minutes, but it was fun. I had fun.
So far this year, the only game that I have finished is Random Heroes. It's a somewhat buggy iOS game with faux 8-bit graphics involving platforming and shooting. The level design, boss and enemy design isn't anything groundbreaking or innovative, it's simple and actually uninspired at times. But it was the simplistic, straight forward, nature of the game that appealed to me. It just wanted me to play. No investment, no connection, just play. It was what I was looking for, it's what it seems, Fifa 13 offers which Skyrim did not. It's also what I believe a lot of the games I felt like playing offered over those that I didn't want to play.
As a gamer, I follow the news and upcoming releases, but I find a lot of the games a little off-putting. There's a pursuit in emotional connection, or an attempt at it. There is a desire by developers to try and get a hold of you in your entirety, and have you fully invest in these coming experiences, but I just can't be bothered with that at the moment. And I'm not massively interested in getting that feeling back right now. I do play to escape, but that escape is to help relax to an extent, it's not to have to invest elsewhere.
The goal of making an emotional connection to the player is a worthwhile one. The desire to want to tell stories of deeper meaning is also a sound pursuit. But that may not be what I want right now. It may not be what I want for the majority of the time. I think I'm fine with having half-brained writing or no writing, a shallow story or something that contains no narrative or deeper meaning at all. I can deal with games being like this. Sometimes, this may be just what I am looking for.
Games as art. Games as a mature medium. Games as a great platform for story telling, for creating emotional experiences. These are all directions gaming can take. But there are still others too. Ones probably less interesting to examine. Not as exciting to dissect. And maybe not going to get the page views if written about. But sometimes, they are the ones I am the most happy to play. I like those games too.