What Style Of Game Do You Prefer?
Picture if you will, you’ve just purchased a brand new military shooter. No, it’s not Call of Duty. In fact, on the box it claims that Call of Duty has never felt this real. Calls itself the most authentic military shooter experience on the planet.
“You’ll feel as though you’re actually in the war.”
… which is weird because the last time I looked, war wasn’t fought with controllers and potato chips. But I digress.
You start up the game and after the obligatory tutorial section that has you popping off a few rounds into cardboard targets, crawling in mud for a bit and finally lobbing a grenade into a building, you set out on your way.
The first mission begins and you are tasked with exploring a nearby abandoned city, weary of armed militia and environmental hazards such as mines, booby trapped cars and people playing Kinect games. Now remember, this is as authentic an experience as you will find and as such, your character takes a good few seconds to go prone and after a while slows down due to fatigue. He also goes down instantly once shot and often cannot shoot for very long or too far because of his inaccurate aim due to recoil and the error of parallax among various other factors. And then you trip over yourself and fall because you’re wearing so much of equipment that your in-game character can barely keep their body upright, let alone even attempt to jump.
Sounds like fun to you?
Not to me, but strangely enough there will be quite a few who would find that interesting if nothing else. Some might even jump at the chance to try it out and feel what it’s really like to be a soldier in today’s world.
Let’s have another example.
You’ve just jumped into a Porsche 911 Turbo on a race-track. Wait, scrap that. You’re on the street, because I long for a true (worthy) successor to Need For Speed Underground. Next to you, a rice-rocket and some asshole with a McLaren. On the other side, an old lady with a walking stick. Don’t worry, she’s just trying to get across the road. You rev up and eagerly await the countdown. Your engine blows because you over-rev…
Attempt two, then. You rev up all you want and it’s go time. You get a decent launch out, holding your steering all through because your gears somehow shift themselves. First corner, you brake slightly later to push ahead of the pack and you bump into the person to your left, only for the both of you to come out of the collision with some minor paint exchange and no mechanical damage whatsoever, whereas in reality that would have completely ruined your steering alignment and put you out of the race’s high-speed sections entirely.
The point of all of this is that speed kills and you should always drive safely, unless you’re headed home to play games. But also, in gaming there exists many different kinds of experiences which we’re going to classify into two distinct groups with a few hybrids in-between, the bisexuals of game style if you will.
Basically that’s the authentic experience and the not-so-authentic one.
Arcade versus simulation.
Which do you prefer? And why?
This needn’t necessarily extend to a particular type of game, such as racing. It could apply to any genre. For example, and since it’s all I can think about these days, the RPG genre has such games as Baldur’s Gate where the experience could be termed ‘hardcore’ with various underlying mechanics and systems in place, while on the other end of the spectrum but still as entertaining, the Mass Effect series with very minor RPG mechanics and systems but ones that work well to compliment the game while it focuses on action and cinematics. Or a hybrid of the two, with Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.
You could look at shooters as well, with such titles as Gears of War 3 or Bulletstorm versus Battlefield 3 or something similar. The latter is very much an authentic-esque, simulation style of game (give or take jumping out of your jet mid-air, only to jump back into it after using an RPG on a chasing jet) whereas the former are far more arcade-oriented and over-the-top.
I for one far prefer Gears of War 3 and Bulletstorm in that example. Authenticity is great, but sometimes it detracts from the fun of games. Fun. Games. Amazing how that works, hey?