Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hardcore Gaming and Masochism

I am a masochist. I know that. I've played Ninja Gaiden, repeatedly. I've passed the infamous biker level of Battletoads on NES. I've almost finished Demon's Souls, at the price of a few controllers smashed on the ground. It doesn't mean I'm a great video games player. I think I'm doing okay (especially when I play with friends who can't pass the fifth level of Bubble Bobble), but I'm not the kind of guy who takes a controller and finish a game in a few sessions just because of their leetz skillz.

Masochism example n°1
But I just can't quit. I hate when a game bests me. I usually quit a game because I'm bored, because, like a lot of other gamers, I have a short attention span. I used to be able to play hundreds of hours in one universe. I've basically spent months in Morrowind, or play through Megaman 2 a thousand times. But I didn't go very far in Skyrim or in Dark Souls, even they are superior to their prequels in almost every way.

The reasons are multiple. First of all, I'm not a no-life. I have a girlfriend (well, until recently, but our separation didn't have anything to do with video games). I have friends which I enjoy hanging out with, I watch a few movies per week and I'm quite successful at my job, which I love. The main reason, however, in my opinion, is that I now have money.

Masochism example n°2
Let's make things clear : I'm not Rockfeller. I still can't go to fancy restaurants every day or buy a new iphone just because I'm tired of mine. But I make a pretty decent living with my job, and I spend a LOT of money in video games. When I was a kid, getting a new game for christmas was something I was looking forward to, and when I had it, I searched every nook and cranny of said game, just because I knew I won't have another one for a long time. But now, I can buy games whenever I want. Of course, I still think about it, I can't buy anything that's released, just because it would be too expensive, but I can get myself a threat once in a while and buy something more easily than a few years back.

Hence, my short attention span : When Skyrim, however great it is, starts feeling redundant (and it does), I can turn myself to Dark Souls or Arkham City or Banjo & Kazooie, or the new Layton game, and so forth...

Masochism example n°3
My point is : this is one of the major reasons I've started this blog. And I think I'm not the only one in this case. What forces Chet to go through monochromes repetitive dungeon crawling when he could play Skyrim? What forces Trick to cope with the horrible voice synthesis and fleeting logic of Mortville Manor when he could play Gray Matter or L.A. Noire? Same thing for Zenic : I'm pretty sure he had a few moments during Ultima 3 wondering what he was doing here instead of playing one of the more recent games I mentioned earlier.

But no : the blogs keep us going. For our audience, first of all, because we are flattered by the fact that people may be interested by what we have to say. For ourselves too, because blogging gives us the incentive we used to have to see a game through its end, and don't quit because it's too hard or because the new GTA has been released two days ago.

Masochism example n°4
The reason why I'm telling you all that is just to confirm that I've started Blood Omen again from the beginning. I want to apologize to my readers who were anticipating the rest of my game lists, and rest assured I'll go much faster in the game now that I've made a first unsuccessful playthrough. (I've played two hours and I've roughly covered half of the ground I did in ten hours on my last attempt).

Of course, should I encounter the same game-breaking glitch a second time, I'll regret my choice and probably go plant a bomb in the Silicon Knights office (if they still exist), but it's a testament to all the other qualities of this game that, even if it's bug-ridden and really painful at times, I still wanna play through it again. I'm not kidding : without these glitches, it would definitely be one of the major action-adventure games of this era.

Masochism example n°5

What do you think? Do you sometimes feel like masochists too? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments about all this...


  1. Best post ever mate! Makes me realise that I don't put enough of my gaming passion into my writing, which you clearly have here. I know more about you from this post than any that came before it, and I'm barracking for you more than ever to finish this bloody game!

    I don't think I need to prove my masochistic nature to anyone. Just go look at my blog! But I will say that by the time I'd finished with my Amiga, I could play through Shadow of the Beast with my eyes closed. I have no idea just how many of my teenage days/weeks/months were given to this endeavour (for what is actually a really shitty game that looked and sounded amazing), but my determination could not be overcome!

    1. Shadow of the Beast, wow. I hardly got anywhere in that game. I got bored of it kicking my ass and moved on. I did try quite a bit though, because I loved just *looking* at that game.

      That said, I do tend to grind in RPGs past the point of necessity. I did this in Dungeon Master II. I killed those big horned beasts for 3 days straight, just so I could get all the best armor and weapons to give me an edge over the game. It was boring as hell, but I was beyond determined, it seems. Some may call it cheating, but it is something that the game allowed me to do. Just make the horned beasts stop spawning if I'm getting too powerful. Heh! ;)

      Wonderful post. Kudos!