December 29, 2009

Video Games are the Novels of the Non-Reader

For Christmas I got a PS3! Yay, I feel like a kid again.  As a long time Xbox user and avid gamer I don’t think I missed much in terms of gaming, because I try to keep up.  Anyway, my Xbox is still my primary gaming machine.  I but I don’t like the idea of my PS3 as only a Blu-Ray player, so I went looking for a game to play on it.  The keys I was looking for in games for my PS3 was:

  1. Single Player.  Xbox reigns supreme in multiplayer, and that’s where all my friends are to play with.  Also I have the Playstation in the bedroom so I can lay in bed and play until I get sleepy.
  2. Have an engaging story, part of the experience is I want to be entertained and not need to watch Netflix or Blu-rays.

I remember a friend saying the scariest game he ever played was Dead Space.  So I went to look it up.  It was survival horror game and available for both the PS3 and the Xbox.  I looked at the reviews(8.7 out of 10 with a good story).  They rated the graphics, scary mood lighting, and sound as really good.  That would be perfect for my bedroom set up too, finally get to make good usage of the surround sound set up I was pressed to put in the bedroom.  It doesn’t stop there, it was also up for a few yearly awards when first released and on many blog sites listed as one of the scariest games of all time. However they did say the Xbox version was slightly better( a trend I am noticing).  I did notice the price($20 verses $60) was greatly marked down for a PS3 game and they are in production of a sequel; sounded like a perfect game to start my PS3 gaming on.


I turned out the lights and cranked the surround sound up.  The game was engaging and visually stunning.  It took about 2 days and over 8 hours to finish the game.  I one thing I did not like about the game and I blame myself for reading too many reviews, is that I noticed exactly what the lady that wrote the only negative review about it had complained about it.  And it started to bother me too.  I don’t think I would of notice if I had not read that review either.  Fail on my part, for breaking my own guidelines of not looking too much at reviews.  But I took that negativity and used it as a reason to hurry up and beat the game so it would stop and I would be done with the game.

Normally when playing my games I don’t pay too much attention to story unless I know it or have a strong interest in it, like Star Wars games.  Ask me what the Gears of War or Halo stories were about, I couldn’t tell you even after completing all the games.  But this time I purposely tried to pay attention and listen and watch.  And it pays off so much!  I was amazed at how much I like the entire experience after they wrapped up the entire game at the end.  I thought back to scenes and info they presented earlier and it all made sense!  Shit the game play was average, the story just ok but the experience was amazing.  It was how everything came together, the mood (visuals and sounds) and the deep story (not a great story, but depth plus they had plot twist too like any good story with additional info you don’t think is important until the end).

So I was happy and entertained, because it’s was good game and I actually finished a game and knew what happened in it.

A couple of days later while surfing Netflix I stubble on an movie called Dead Space: Downfall.  From the description, it was a feature length prequel to the video game! And guess what, it was streaming too. FTW!!!  With a 3.4 stars best guess rating for me, 3.3 stars viewer rating (all out of 5), and having NOW beaten the game, I thought I should watch it.  It wasn’t bad at all, it was good even.  The best part was that: I knew what was going on into the movie, so there wasn’t any figuring out, just all story to entertain me. 


The entirety of this was an epic experience stemming from an average $20 video game.

This got me thinking.  The last novel I read was couple months ago it was long and I got kind of bored and didn’t think to pick up back up.  That happens with games too.  This said novel was the 5 in a series, I like the earlier books (great value for $8 packs of paper) and keep reading to see where it was going.  Each book took hours to read, was long, and could be great if paying attention and had depth.  This is very similar in concept to the experiences I have playing some video games.  A common question when looking at a story based game is “Around how many hours is it?”  Like looking at the number of pages or words in a novel.  Novels don’t have straight lines of stories, neither do video games.  They are the same.  Except on makes you feel like you are guiding the story, but let’s be honest, you aren’t, the writers/programmers designed it that way. So I say, video games are the novels to the non-reader that like to do instead of watch.  The difference is interaction.  Both are long winding stories, but some people don’t mind reading for hours on end while others prefer pushing buttons and other stimulations to get their story.

*sorry, wrote this at work and it’s too long for me to read over and fix grammar, spelling, and shit. If you follow me, you know good grammar is not a priority when it comes to get my message out.

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