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Opinion – That Fleeting Feeling: Falling In Love With A Game

by Matthew Kato on Nov 28, 2015 at 08:05 AM

I've fallen in love with so many games through the years, and yet it always feels like the first time. There's that moment when a title clicks and you understand its potential and start to dream of the places it will take you. But as you play on, the quests mount and your pattern of play becomes familiar and routine. The feverish feeling dims. But whether you actually do all the things you initially thought you would almost doesn't matter – the power of that initial promise is the kind of memory you'll fondly recall forever.

I recently had this feeling while playing Fallout 4. When I opened up the ability to begin customizing the Sanctuary settlement, my mind filled with endless possibilities – how I was going to design everything, where I was going to put the food crops, and what the interiors would look like. My mind was ignited and excited, despite all the time and effort it was going to take. I was pretty stoked about the settlements when they were first announced, but this was a moment of joyful revelation. This is it. This is why I'm playing this game, and why it's going to be so freaking cool.

But, like always, love fades. As I played the game, that initial feeling was replaced with other gameplay concerns, and even my own apathy. Needless to say, my initial fever vision for Sanctuary never came to pass. It became far less a utopia and more like a half-baked shanty town abandoned by an absentee slumlord, and that's my own fault. Despite my own lack of follow-through, that initial feeling is the kind of moment that signals the birth of a love affair with a game. There's pureness and value in that initial feeling that I cherish, regardless of what happens later on. It's that initial bloom that separates those games you love and those you simply like, and it's happened to me a million times over.

Are games too long? Filled with too much filler? Do they disappoint because some gameplay systems or loops are underdeveloped? Am I hard to please or have a short attention span? These are legitimate questions as to why that feeling doesn't last, but in some ways irrelevant. There are certainly objective questions we all consider when playing a game, but there's also that fundamental spark that comes when you fall in love with a title that can be hard to quantify, is sometimes irrational, but is also what makes us continually enamored with this medium. No matter what happens between that moment and when I finish Fallout 4, nothing can take away that night I gleefully spent hours picking up scrap and dreaming big dreams in Sanctuary.

What are some of those faded memories you've had in games? Let us know in the comments section below!