Hi journal, it’s been a while. Today, I want to talk about how to video game. First, I assume the reader is an adult with a steady income. If not, the path is simple: pirate, play used, redbox, and game-pool with friends.
If you’re an adult with a steady income and you still pirate games, play used, or redbox, then you’re an asshole. Developers pour their hearts and souls into even the most rudimentary games, and when you don’t buy new, you are paying the wrong people. Devs spend the few months before a game’s release sleeping in the office without seeing their families. Even after several successful games, one flop could mean the abrupt shutdown of an entire studio and hundreds of people out of their jobs.
I currently give myself a budget of one game per month. This adds up to about $60 per month, which seems like a lot. It’s all about priorities. I love games (see picture above). Some people love alcohol. I know a lot of people who spend more than $60 on an Uber ride and a few drinks. Often people do this more than once per month. Even on a budget, one new game per month is completely doable if it’s your hobby of choice.
Step 1: Do your research–but not too much!
If you’re like me, you listen to a bunch of video game podcasts (I highly recommend Gamescoop by IGN, the Kinda Funny Gamescast, and PS I Love You XOXO by Kinda Funny). This will automatically give you a good sense of what is hot now, what looks promising for the future, and which oldies you need to give a second look.
Once you’re familiar with the landscape of the industry, pedigree is key. Trust the studios that have delivered your favorites in the past. Examples include Bioware (Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and many other hits), Blizzard (Diablo, World of Warcraft, Warcraft, Hearthstone, and many others), Bethesda Software (Elder Scrolls, Fallout), CD Project Red (Witcher), Rockstar (Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption), That Game Company (Journey, flOw, Flower), Nintendo, Naughty Dog (Uncharted, Last of Us), etc.
Don’t get caught up watching too many trailers or videos! I find that most new games give way too much coverage, ruining the experience of starting a new game with fresh eyes.
Step 2: Download–no disc!
When you download, you get to preload the game and play it the night before it comes out. This is freaking awesome, costs less than in-store, and more of your money goes to the developer than when you buy a disc that needs to be manufactured and shipped.
Step 3: Play By Yourself First
Enjoy your game. Savor it. Think about how awesome it is that you finally get to play it. Let the little stuff slide. Frame rate drop? Whatever. Enjoy the characters and play they way you think the characters should act. Make it your own. Don’t look up any guides or listen to any in-depth discussions. Hell, turn off maps and HUD to help immerse yourself in the world. Form your own opinions, and just make it fun. Otherwise, you might get buyer’s remorse, and that’s just a bummer.
Step 4: Find a Community to Play With
Now that you’ve enjoyed your game, go ahead and reap the benefits of multiplayer. Some of the best gaming experiences happen when you are playing with a consistent group and shit goes down. You will all end up laughing and making stories together. It’s one of the best reasons to be a gamer.
Games to start with:
- Small games:
- Ori and the Blind Forest
- Gone Home
- Valiant Hearts
- Medium Games:
- Tomb Raider series (new reboot)
- Uncharted series
- Until Dawn
- Big Games:
- Witcher 3
- Dying Light (zombies!)
- Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag (pirates!)
- Multiplayer games:
- Diablo 3
- Rocket League
- Call of Duty
Video games are awesome, and if you approach them with the right mindset and pick the right games, you can get just as much out of them as you can the best movies and books. Support great art. Don’t pirate.