The Type Of Gamer I Am

People become gamers for a variety of reasons. Some get into it because of the gameplay. Others for story and characters. Or it’s a bit of both. Based on what your personal preferences are, you’ll gravitate to one game over the other. A discussion I had with a friend recently reinforced what type of gamer I am––I’m the gamer who plays to escape into a great storytelling experience and with characters who linger on your mind after you’ve put the controller down and turned your console off.

It isn’t like I haven’t known all this before. I’ve mentioned it quite a few times in posts where I talk about my personal gaming experiences. What got me thinking about how I got into gaming is when this same friend and I were having a discussion about Spec Ops: The Line.

Spec Ops is currently the game I’m playing for my July video game challenge at my own blog. If you’ve been following those, spoiler alert, I’ve actually since beaten the game. Spec Ops isn’t the usual game I’d pick up and play. I’m not so great at shooters in general and military type games aren’t what I typically like to play. When my friend gave me Spec Ops as a birthday present last year, I was surprised that he’d give me a game like that. I mean, he’s one of my long-time best friends. I’d think after many years of friendship, he’d be an expert at my likes and dislikes. Did my friend suddenly get careless with his gift to me? No, it wasn’t like that.

After playing video games for a while now, it became easy for my friends to figure out that the games I like the most are the ones with a strong story and character development aspect. Don’t get me wrong, I do like games with fun gameplay and little to no real story to them. That being said, the games I find myself playing and finishing within two weeks to a month (depending on the length of a game) are the ones where, as I play the game, I feel like I’m reading a really good book. Games where I have to know how it ends will be the ones I’ll somehow find time to play no matter how busy I get.

me3_choices

When my friend had to decide what to get me for my birthday, he immediately thought Spec Ops would be right up my alley. He did assure me that while it looks like a military shooter game that I probably would put at the very bottom of my list of games to play on my current backlog, he promised me that I’ll like it for the story and characters. Thankfully, my friend does know me really well and he has been right on all accounts. If I had seen Spec Ops in a video game store, I would have kept on walking and would never have given it a second look. Because my friend played the game before and loved it, he knew this was something I had to play.

Having beaten my first playthrough of the game, my friend and I were excitedly talking about the story and choices you have to make in the game over dinner one night. As we compared notes and discussed the themes and motivations of the main character, I couldn’t help but think that this is the reason why I’m the play-for-story type of gamer––I like having intelligent discussions with friends about games like this one.

Those who aren’t gamers don’t realize how complex, enriching, and smart video game stories can be. It may seem odd to a non-gamer who much rather have an intelligent conversation over the high-brow books they’ve read or the art exhibit that comments on poverty through a post-modernist, avant-garde perspective, but to those of us who, like me, wasn’t much of a gamer in the beginning, it isn’t as strange as you think. I’ve managed to look at playing video games as an interactive and fun way to progress through a story. When the writers and developers do a really good job at delivering a game that makes you think about the themes, the story, and the characters, it’s really not all that different from reading a book. You’re just taking control of a character and leading him/her to the end of the story.

specops_walkeradams

To be able to share my opinions about what the game’s overall story means to me, it always makes me hungry to find the next game that will be able to give me an experience like that all the time. Spec Ops is one of those rare games I’ve played where the entire experience stuck with me. I can only count a handful of games that have managed to do that for me and they aren’t many. Wherever there’s a good storytelling experience to be had, I’ll be there to play it. It’s just the type of gamer I am.

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9 thoughts on “The Type Of Gamer I Am”

  1. I love this post! I am the same type of gamer. I leave shooters in their place and tend to go for RPGs and such. But thankfully, you have friends who know your taste and help you expand your horizons! I definitely think video games have a lot more merit than is given to them. It is an art form with story, character development, and morality (depending on the game) and I think so many people overlook it because it’s ‘just for fun’. Have you ever played Journey? It has no dialogue and no fighting and yet it’s one of the most moving games I have ever played.

    1. No, I haven’t played Journey, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. I think it’s a PC only game, right? If it is, I pretty much stick to console or handheld gaming. If there’s ever an opportunity to play the game someday, I’ll definitely check it out. I love any story that will have the ability to move me in some way. 🙂

  2. I’m a story-based gamer too, and I loved hearing your thoughts on this! I remember being in college in one of my analysis courses and defending video games as a method of storytelling. Who cares how the story is told, in a graphic novel, poem, video game, or movie, as long as it’s done well?

    1. Thank you! And I definitely agree with you. I think before I became more of a gamer, I didn’t really think the stories in games can go so deep. I always viewed them as a fun activity to do during your down time. It was only later when I watched other friends play more story focused games that I became convinced that this medium is just as capable of telling a good story like any book, movie, or TV show can do.

  3. Same type of gamer here. That Spec Ops game was really something, true. As far as I don’t think serialisation does the game stories much good in general, in this particular case I’d love to see the Spec Ops franchise be continued in some way while leaving The Line’s plot as a fine standalone arc and taking off with new one. More of such mature, story-oriented approach to the heavily exploited action warfare genre is simply something that the gaming really needs right now IMHO.

    Speaking of more recent titles with good stories, the finale of The Wolf Among Us blew my mind. The whole series is definitely something an individual fond of good morally-dubious and thought-provoking plots full of tough choices shouldn’t pass by.

    1. I love The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead! I finished playing the last episode of The Wolf Among Us and thought it was really well done. It tied everything up nicely, but it still left some stuff open for interpretation.

      As for Spec Ops, honestly, I’m okay with there not being a sequel to the game. I kind of feel like it may ruin the whole impact of the story. I would definitely like to see more military stories written in the same way as Spec Ops was done. It’d get me to play more games like that one for sure!

  4. Great draft. It was a fun read for sure. I, too, love the narratives of video games and enjoy playing games to experience whatever the developers have prepared for me. It’s lovely to see others that see things the same way.

    I don’t believe it’s a rare thing at all, but it’s nice to see regardless. Good job.

    1. Thank you! I think if games didn’t have great stories to be told, I probably would still be the non-gamer I was back then. A really good narrative with well-written characters is what keeps me glued to the game until I finish it.

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