Saturday, December 22, 2018

Playing Games Wrong

By: Patrick "TheLaw" Morris

Hey everybody welcome back to LegalSpeak a ColdNorth Production. I'm TheLawMorris and this is the video essay series where I get to talk about the games ive been playing and what I think of the video game industry as a whole. You can check out our podcasts and everything else we do all in one spot over at Today we are going to be talking about how to play a video game…that’s right this will be a video tutorial of how to play every single game ever made.  Of course I'm lying and that is a pretty weak attempt at a joke. No today you just get to listen to my disjointed dumbass thoughts about whether or not there is a right or wrong way to play a video game. Full disclosure I play pretty much all video games the wrong way so with that in mind…lets jump in.

There are three fundamentally different ways of approaching how to play a video game. Minimalist, Organic, and completionist. All three have their merits and while I may share some of my own feelings throughout this video please don’t let what I have to say dissuade you from playing anything the way you want to play, unless you're a griefer then please seek help because you're an asshole.

The minimalist cares about nothing but getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible without stopping to smell the roses or admire the scenery the way the organic player does, and the minimalist definitely will not be looking under every single rock and making sure that there is not a single square inch of ground that has gone untread the way the completionist does.

Games that are great to be played in the minimalist style are primarily story driven games. Yes there may be other things to do like collecting small meaningless shit but on the whole these games are made to tell a story. Very few games are literally nothing but a story because when that’s the case there's no gameplay to be had and you might as well be watching a movie. But Then again I think of Firewatch and that makes me reconsider that statement because SHIT that is a great game that's nothing but story. Some of the best games ever made are played very well in a minimalist style. The Last of Us, Uncharted, Halo, these are all great games that can be thoroughly enjoyed when played in a minimalist style.

The Organic player (usually what I am) sets out on an experience with no rush to get to the finish line but also feels zero pressure to pick up every single thing along the way. A lot of insecure assholes call organic players casuals but that’s just because their dads didn’t love them enough so they have to pick on other people to feel good about themselves. Games that are best played organically usually include some sort of story as the primary focus but also  have a decently thought out progression system that can interest the player and require the player to veer off the beaten path in order to be powerful enough to continue in the story. 

Some of the best games to play organically are Horizon Zero Dawn, Ghost Recon Wildlands, and Owlboy. I stick to the story and any collectibles or side quests I come across during my natural progression through the story are a fun bonuses that may help with world building but aren't integral to my understanding of what is happening and they definitely aren't going to help me sleep at night knowing that I collected them all.

Speaking of collecting them all the completionist seems to be obsessed with that sort of thing. Now this is a mindset that I will never fully understand and I'm fairly certain that all these people should seek professional help because what they’ve got going on up there cant be healthy. All that being said its always fun to watch someone psychologically torture themselves with promises that every moon in Super Mario odyssey will make them feel good about their life.

The best games to play in the completionist style are games with very clearly defined objectives and goals where story telling takes a backseat to the 30 second loop experience. Pokemon, Destiny, and Mario Odyssey are some of the best games for those of you that feel that hole in your heart that can only be filled by 900 Korok seeds. I hope one day you find what you're actually searching for in life.

Any game can be played in any of these three styles but there are some games that are meant to be played in one specific style and if you don’t the developers will come to your house and kill you while you sleep. Most of the games that are designed to be played in a specific way are "get shit" games (for those of you that don’t know "get shit" games is an industry term for games that require you to collect things like guns and gear). Destiny and Diablo aren't designed to be played to the end of the story they're designed to keep the player in a constant state of frustration and feeling of inadequacy so that those dummies will keep playing games that they don’t even love just to "make their dude better." Skyrim is a game that isn't quite a "get shit" game but more of a "do shit" game. "Hey man why you playin Skyrim for the eighth time?" "I don’t know man I just have shit to do." that’s the "do shit" game.

Sometimes games are tailored to be played a specific way and while playing them in the way the developer originally intended may yield the most widely appealing experience that doesn’t mean that’s what's best for you. And ultimately that’s the entire point of what I am trying to say today; don’t let me or anyone else tell you how to enjoy your hobby. I played Super Mario Odyssey, a game that is very obviously meant to be played to completion, for about ten hours. I got through the main story and I was satisfied.

There are so many different ways to play and as long as you're enjoying yourself none of them are wrong. Play what you want in the way you want to play it. Video games are art and everyone interprets art in their own way. If something was reviewed poorly but struck a chord with you don’t be afraid to show that game some love. I personally trust IGN's Ryan McCaffrey and enjoy pretty much everything he makes. McCaffrey reviewed the 2014 game Alien Isolation and gave it a 5.9 which is a fairly low score when compared to other IGN reviews. I personally adored Alien Isolation! I loved every second of it and when it was over I was champing at the bit for more. Does this mean that I played the game wrong? No! Does it mean that Ryan played the game wrong? Of course not! It simply means that he and I had different experiences with the game and got different things out of it. Nobody can tell you how to play a game the only way to play a game wrong is to not play it in the way that it is best for you!

How do you typically play games? Let me know in the comments down below.

I'll be back next week talking about the order in which I experienced the Metal Gear Solid games. If you just cant get enough make sure to subscribe and check out our podcast HardReset on iTunes, YouTube, Spotify, and iheartradio for more free form video game discussion. This week we talked about the worst reviewed games of 2018. And our movies podcast NoRefunds the podcast that watches bad movies so you don’t have to this weeks discussion centers around the 1997 cult classic Starship Troopers. You can find everything we do over at but until next week just go play some games.

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