Objecting Favorably: Escapism Squared

Not too long ago, one of my customers mentioned an interesting thing to me.  He said, "I get bored of gaming from time to time, then I go read a bunch of books.  Then, when I get bored of books, I go back to gaming again, and it's interesting once more."

This may reflect why it is that I have not been having a particularly good time in computer gaming since at least the end of last year, where I bought a ton of games on Steam sales and promptly found myself unable to play the majority of them.

I have Dark Souls:Prepare To Die Edition here, purchased at about that time, going pretty much completely without play and, considering how well it was reviewed, that's a real shame.  Other monolithic titles, such as Frozen Synapse and Dishonored I put down before I was a quarter way through them.  L.A. Noire has gone completely unplayed after my Steam purchase for a full year now.

Earlier, I talked about how I liked Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon but felt it likely I'd want to see Paper Mario: Sticker Star to completion... apparently I had a change of heart because the former remained here while the latter was returned to GameFly: because good is good.  Yet, despite feeling this way, I don't particularly feel like playing any of them... what a waste of a monthly subscription.

Recently, I mentioned that I think perhaps the issue is that I am a maturing gamer and naturally I'll have differing tastes in the kind of games I enjoy.  Before that, I wondered, "Maybe it's a physiological problem, my poor diet and lack of exercise just depressing me and making me not interested in the same things anymore?" I've theorized a great deal of the matter, virtually every post in this blog is me coming to grips with why I am no longer amused by a particular game (and sometimes several games at once) but today I'm forwarding the idea that I'm just completely sick of gaming in general.  

I've certainly been throwing fuel on the fire, but it only seems to be smothering it.  Today, I discovered that iTunes put a ton of games up for sale to celebrate their 10th year anniversary, and suddenly I had my grubby mitts on another truckload of games that had discounted cheap as far free... and I'm pretty sure I'm not going to play those, either.

But one game stood apart, and suddenly I found myself vastly entertained again. I'm referring to this new iOS release of a single free app that contains Ace Attorney, Justice For All, Trials And Tribulations, formerly Nintendo DS games of 4-6 episodes each featuring the infamous adventures of Phoenix Wright, spiky-haired mystery-solving video game lawyer.  (Funny, I seem to have forgotten how voluptuous many of the female characters were... well, that's anime styling for you.)  Even better, it's been over five years since I last completed Apollo Justice (to say nothing for the preceding Ace Attorney titles in the series that this iOS app reproduces) and this has the advantage in that I actually forgot the solutions: hurray, my aging brain is actually coming in handy!   After playing the first two free episodes provided by the iOS app, I found I was enjoying myself enough that I gladly shelled out $18.42 for the rest. 
An interesting claim from a 1980s advertisement,
considering I'm talking about gaming proving
not that stimulating and Infocom being a maker
of interactive fiction.
Source: Vintage Computing

Phoenix Wright is a rare genre of game here in the United States, even though we actually pioneered it back at the dawn of home computer gaming with titles like ZorkThis is actually a work of interactive fiction, an exciting courtroom drama, in fact!  Most of what transpires does so via words and everything else is just a supporting prop.  (Since there's barely any new interactive fiction games to be found in the US anymore, maybe I should try playing Japanese dating sims... nah, I bet a lot of them are just flimsy excuses to view cheesecake now.  Why, hello, what have we here?)

So, much like a certain patron mentioned to me while at work, I actually am reading books now - well, interactive fiction - but it has much the same impact.  I'm taking a break from gaming... oh, I'll probably continue to clock in my daily sessions in Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Brain Age: Concentration Training, but only maybe a couple hours out of each day between them both (enough to complete my daily brain training and earn 100,000 Animal Crossing bells a day).

Further, I don't think I'll be buying any games soon.  Though I've been wrong about that before, the bottom line is that I've got plenty of games... far too many, really.  I am suffering a vast surplus of games and a deficient of time to play them all.  Actually, the thought of dedicating all of my free time in a day to playing games strikes me as a tad uncomfortable: I'm keenly aware I should be doing more with my life.

Maybe alternating between gaming and reading will prove the ultimate solution to my free time being spent in such an unsatisfactory manner?  Maybe roll some creative endeavors into that: write when I'm gaming, and game development while I'm reading?  What if I bought them both together... could it be that, with all my worrying about how games lack sufficient context, it works out to be a concern about the narrative, and what I really am interested in being is an interactive story writer?  Maybe... well, one step at a time.

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