Although the two terms rarely seem to go hand in hand, videogaming in my opinion draws a lot of parallels with starting a relationship. For example meeting a girl is just like discovering a new game, it’s always going to be that one that challenges you, that you will either enjoy for life, or spend late nights fruitlessly exercising your hands to. Don’t agree with me? At least read the list before you do that, jeez.
1. Looks are important.
When you first pick up a game, like meeting a girl or guy, despite what every cliché ever tells us, we judge that fucker by its cover. It’s natural, we’re visual creatures, we buy clothes to look nice, we style our hair specifically to suit our facial structure and god damn it we don’t want a game that’s going to be embarrassing to take home.
If a game doesn’t catch your eye, you’re not going to check it out, you might glance at it, but without that initial intrigue it’s just going to stay sat on the shelf, pleasing no one, just dropping in price.
Before anyone thinks I’m being superficial, that’s describing a first impression, every person has a personal view on what they think makes something attractive to the eye, we can’t help that and what someone finds attractive can differ wildly from what the person next to them thinks. However, you do have people who judge everything on looks (PC gamers) and just like with relationships, those are the people no one wants to hear talk about it. The people who flounder immediately when you ask them what they like about a game, before jumping straight back to, “it looks so sexy in HD!”
The gaming equivalent of a trophy wife.
Like with a relationship, basing your gaming wholly on looks is unhealthy, since you’re not getting anything substantial out of the experience except the fact you have to spend a lot of money to keep everything looking pretty and need to upgrade every few years to still look cool around your friends. That shit’s unhealthy, and costly. It’s why we have retro gamers, because deep down …
2. Fun is more important.
For most people reading this their first experience of gaming will have been when they were very young, and like a young relationship, our first taste of gaming is often fleeting and our young minds aren’t fully able to appreciate the levels of depth present, instead we just focus on the new experience for what it is. Childish fun.
As some people get older they may come back and explore these early relationships and realise, there was genuine chemistry there, they realise that they enjoy playing as tails or that Pokemon are fucking rad. However others realise how childish the attraction was and move on, that’s fine. However, some people (read: COD players) refuse to admit that change is healthy, sticking with what they know, regardless of what else life offers them, sticking with short-lived burst of entertainment, not realising that they’re only going to get stuck repeating a familiar pattern that lacks depth because it has no maturity involved.
They get stuck in a loop of being perpetually involved in essentially the same relationship year after year. Every time telling themselves this time it’ll be different, only to get bored and move on after a year. Like with a relationship, some people might go back to tease the idea of going back to an earlier game, but going back and playing Modern Warfare is exactly like sleeping with an ex. While you’ve been doing your thing, other people have been there, left their mark and got better at doing everything you used to be good at.
Fun is important, if you’re not enjoying a game and are simply playing it because it’s familiar and you’re either too afraid or lazy to invest the time into finding something new, you need to take a step back and realise there’s a lot of choice out there. If someone tells you play too much COD or you and your girl argue too much, you need to listen that shit, because like it or not …
3. The opinions of others should be taken into account.
Although no one should be able to dictate who you start a relationship with, except maybe police officers. The opinions of people you respect and trust should at least play a role. Like with a relationship you may be tempted to pick up a game because your friend said it was easy, likewise you may be tempted to stay away if you hear it’s weird and Japanese.
Any excuse to post this image.
But here’s the thing people tend to forget, you can listen to opinions, but you don’t have to take notice of them. Somewhere out there is a guy who broke up with Katy Perry, point is, some people say stupid shit. If you hear bad things about a game, you’re right to be cautious, but people are different, what someone else doesn’t like or finds unappealing (read: butt stuff) you may think is awesome, you’re not going to know unless you try.
Likewise, if you hear good things, rave reviews and hear everyone and their mother talk about how awesome something is, you don’t have to buy into the hype, but you’re just being a dick if you fight a popular opinion just because it’s popular. The only opinion your should really take notice of is your own, if you’re having fun, that’s cool. But if you’re waking up late and running out of money because you’re playing WOW or texting a girl till 4 in the morning, if someone tells you that you might want to slow things down a bit, you may want to listen.
But here’s the one lesson I want people to take away from this, don’t let yourself go for something because you hear it’s difficult or not suited for you, because …
4. The game that challenges you is the one you’ll love for life.
I want to clarify this by saying I’m not picking on one particular kind of game or genre, similarly I’m not picking on one kind of relationship or person. Everyone has different tastes, we all need to respect the fuck out of that. Some people like RPG’s, some people like sex with dudes, weird people like FIFA, each to their own.
That said, like with a relationship, everyone will find that one game that challenges them and that’s the game they’ll love for life. Regardless of what games come afterwards, they’ll always have a place in their heart for the one that started it all and that’s ok. I’ve seen relationships end because a person is too hung up on an impossible to compete with memory from their past, in the same way I’ve seen people unable to enjoy awesome games because they refuse to admit anything can ever be as good as Sonic 2 or Final Fantasy 7.
Which is what makes it frustrating, nostalgia is a powerful thing, our minds will instinctively cover up bad parts of our memory, it’s why everyone remember GoldenEye being awesome, but no fucker plays that shit anymore. In the same way the best memories of our exs end up right in the spank bank while all those arguments are non-existent.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, experiment, find what you like and enjoy your own tastes. In a similar vein don’t judge others for theirs, because that’s a dickish thing to do. But realise sometimes things don’t last and that it’s ok to move on, Final Fantasy 13 may not be that great, but there are plenty of other RPG’s out there to try, you shouldn’t be using FF7 as the measuring stick against which you measure other games the same way you shouldn’t compare a new relationship to your last one. You need to judge things on their own merits and realise that memories don’t fade if they’re awesome.