As a self proclaimed video game enthusiast and freelance game blogger (I have even been called a professional gamer, though I’m not sure that is a fitting title…certainly not on skill and ability…but perhaps on enthusiasm and interest) I try and broaden my horizons and knowledge level by partaking in a wide array of video game genres, platforms and formats (like MP and SP). I also truly enjoy the exchange of dialogue with other gamers (in case you were wondering why most of my blogs conclude with asking the reader their thoughts – I don’t put that in there just to boost views and/or comments – I really do enjoy the discussion).




What does all that mean…it means I like to play a lot of different games and talk about it with other gamers.



A few days ago, I completed Splinter Cell: Conviction and published a blog that was somewhat of a review, but more just a piece about my personal experience and thoughts about the game. Since then I’ve been playing a few of the other features like the Deniable Ops mode. For whatever reason, it got me thinking about how I find myself playing parts of certain games over and over because I find the experience enjoyable (while this is similar to a different blog I wrote about making up your own games within a game, this is very much a different topic).




And by parts, I’m not talking the mini-games within the main game like Mario Party. In reality, there are tons of games that have mini-games, side quests or whatever fancy name you want to call it. But that’s not really what I’m talking about either. I’m talking about parts of the main game that are just downright entertaining so I play it over and over again; activities within the scope of the main game that some might consider mundane, irrelevant or simply insignificant. Perhaps a few examples will help illustrate the point.



As a side note, did you know in Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure (which I played on the SNES) there was a hidden door that would give you access to the original (and fully playable) 8-bit Atari version of Pitfall.





I’ll start with a relatively new game that you might have heard of, called Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Ring a bell? While I shy away from the MP component of the game (see yesterday’s blog on player types and read the description of the whiner – that’s me) I did enjoy the SP side of it. But one thing I found myself playing over and over and over was the shooting range. It’s the first stage you play and is a rather common technique among shooters to get the player familiar with the controls, layout and feel of the different weapons. I have played through that stage so many times that I recognize the slight variances in target positions, realize which weapons are the most efficient (at least for me) and honed my technique to expeditiously maneuver through the course while executing the evil cardboard cutouts and protecting the innocent bystanders. While it’s the first stage (and not a very challenging one at that), its significance in the overall scope of the game is really very minor. But I still love playing it. Why on earth would I choose to shoot cardboard cutouts, when real bad guys that shoot back are out there waiting for me to dispose of?




Similarly, in the somewhat aged Battlefield 2 (not Bad Company 2, I’m talking regular old Battlefield 2) I loved to fly. Jets…helicopters…didn’t matter. If it flew I liked it and became somewhat of an adept pilot, if I do say so myself. I got so good at flying the Blackhawk that when I saw a real one (we live near a military base) I would tell my wife and kids, “I can fly that.” I believe a part of me thinks I can. While practicing on your own with no other real players in an empty server is a great way to learn the ropes, long after I was a proficient ace pilot I would hop in empty servers just to mess around with the jets and helos. Rocketing through unimaginable spaces, like the tunnel on the Dam, to hovering in the Apache with only the wheels resting on the edge of a building. (Did you know you can hover with the Blackhawk practically in the water without crashing?) I loved it and still love it. Of course I like the in game action too, so why on earth would I play alone just to weave a helo in and out of the palm trees of beautiful and sunny Wake Island? The little birds in the expansion pack were awesome because of their maneuverability.





It’s not just First Person Shooters, although that is what I do seem to play the most. I’ve done some rather quirky stuff in Soul Caliber. I’ve played Assassin’s Creed just to climb around and jump from the buildings. I could play a whole game of just that. Leave me alone with your silly missions, and just let me climb. Don’t even get me started on how much time was wasted in Crackdown. I don’t know how far I got in the game from a mission perspective, but I can’t even count how many cars I jacked. That’s all I did. I didn’t really do any of the missions or side quests. I just drove around looking for the coolest or most unusual vehicle and then I took it. You might think that would get old rather quickly, and for most it probably did…not me though. That’s all I ever did. Needless to say, I didn’t play that game very long.



For some of the veteran gamers (also known as “old”) that remember Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar, I used to go to Lord British’s castle with my merry band of adventurers and attack him, knowing full well we wouldn’t be able to win the battle (he was invincible) against the endless supply of guards (they weren’t invincible). I wanted to see just how long we could survive. I think we held our ground valiantly, for a while, until our reagents and spells were diminished and then it was just a matter of time. Oh the fun though.




But by far…without a shadow of a doubt…the most entertaining and enjoyable activity I could spend hours (and have) playing that is very much a part of the main game but definitely not a significant part of the game is…


Well the game is Nintendo 64’s Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time…and the activity was…fishing. I’m not even a fisherman or angler or whatever they’re called.




I have been fishing before but gosh, it’s been probably over 20 years ago. So, yeah…I’m not a fisherman, but I could spend all day fishing in Zelda. My son and I used to have competitions to see who could catch the biggest fish. I think he used to get really frustrated because he wanted to go off adventuring and I would be like, “just let me catch one more fish over xx pounds and then you can play.”




So, what about you…any tasks, events or activities in games that you enjoy playing over and over, or am I alone?