The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 11
I don't always know what inspires a particular blog, but
when I do, I will often mention it...especially if it can be attributed to
another person. Well, the idea for this blog sort of hit me after sifting
through some of the user reviews and reading Reptar7's review of Black Ops 2.
You can read it here
if you want. Anyway, Reptar7 made the comment how it takes him a few months of
playing a game before he's ready to write a review for it. I can't be sure, but
that's in sharp contrast to how much time is typically spent on a game before a
review is written. That concept is kind of the genesis for this blog.
There is a popular expression you've very likely heard that
suggests, "You get one chance to make a first impression" but is that first
impression always accurate? When applied to video games, and your first
exposure to a game, is your first impression representative of your true
thoughts or do you need to play the game for a certain amount of time before
your true feeling is realized? Can your perspective be influenced by external
factors like promotional hype or positive comments from industry experts? Have
you ever played a game you thought was one of the best games ever, but over
time or after taking a break and picking it up again, you find your opinion has
I don't know why but I think it's a fascinating concept worth
exploring. I've played quite a few games so far this year - I was sure at the time
some of these big names would be in the running for Game of the Year, but now
that I think about it, I wonder if my initial assessment was a bit premature.
For example, I thought Tomb Raider was an exceptional game;
a game I thoroughly enjoyed playing. When I finished it I thought for sure it
would be in contention for Game of the Year (and maybe it will be). But ever
since I finished it, I haven't played it again or even really thought about it.
When I do, it doesn't seem as spectacular as I initially thought. So, is it?
Even Bioshock Infinite, a game that earned more perfect
scores from the industry experts and community members than any other game in
recent times, doesn't seem as mighty as I remember. Don't get me wrong, I still
think it's an amazing experience, but was my original reception of the game
inflated because I played it shortly after its release when the industry was
buzzing about it?
And perhaps the real question is...does it even matter?
Whether it does or not, who can say...but I can't help wonder how
come I think about the original Bioshock more often and can remember more
details about it than I can Bioshock Infinite? There are some games I recall
playing from years and years ago (decades even?) and I'm always surprised I
remember so many details and have so many positive memories of the game. I can
even go back and play it again and the magic is still there.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are some games I
think are totally amazing and when I revisit them, I have no idea why I thought
so highly of the game. My initial assessment was clearly inflated, for whatever reason.
Every now and then I'll go back to a game I initially didn't
like and find it wasn't near as bad as I originally thought. This was
especially true with Battlefield 3. My first 15-30 minutes with Battlefield 3
were mostly a disappointment. I powered the game off and thought I just wasted
$50 or $60 bucks on a game I'd probably never play again. But then I caught my
daughter playing it...I watched for a bit...tried it again...and found I really liked
it. I think I judged it so harshly because I was such a huge Battlefield 2 fan
and expected it to be more like that.
The industry is full of examples where the initial excitement
for a game is somewhat short lived and the longer the game is out the less
gamers tend to rave about it and hold it in such high regard. I've already seen
headlines reporting The Last of Us is going to unseat Bioshock Infinite as the
primary contender for Game of the Year. Seriously? A game that so many people
gave perfect scores to and agreed was a masterpiece, and we're already prepared
to dismiss it?
Perhaps one of the most obvious examples of this is Mass
Effect 3. Now, I certainly don't want to open old wounds, but the initial
reception for Mass Effect 3 was - it was the greatest game ever. But over time as
more and more people spent time with it, played through it and started digging
in to the story and its controversial ending did we start to see the review
scores go down and people start to criticize it.
The Call of Duty series is another obvious example. I'd be
curious to see what the sales numbers are for the game after it's been out for
a few months. So many people pre-order the game and pick it up the first night,
it's hard to say it's a great game based on these numbers alone. I say this
because it never seems to take too long before the haters come out and start
bashing the game for being too short or that the servers are overrun with cheaters,
trolls and other miscreants.
So which perspective matters? Which is more accurate? Which
is the one you tell your friends when they ask about a game? Which is the one
you think about years later when you remember the game - your first impression,
your last impression or somewhere in the middle? I can't answer that, or even
if it matters. But I do think about it.
Something to consider as we head into E3 and prepare to be
blown away with all the footage of upcoming games. I'll enjoy the hype...the
glitz and glamour...but I certainly don't want to forget about what the game truly
has to offer after I've played it for a while.