Shut the Hell Up!

by Matthew Kato on Apr 30, 2010 at 10:55 AM

An all-too-common comment I get when I tell people that I write for a video game magazine is, "Wow, so you must play video games all day!" I know that it's a compliment – and trust me, I take it as one. Getting to sit here for ten years and eat, breathe, and play video games is a tremendous experience. But when I hear people say that to me, sometimes my brain responds to it in a certain way. I think to myself, "Yeah, I do. But sometimes it's a problem. I wish I could shut my brain off!"

I pay a price for sitting around critiquing video games and the industry in general all day long. Thankfully, it hasn't caused me to not play video games when I get home. In fact, I wish there were more hours in the day so I could play more at home. No, the effect it has is that everything gets judged to death. Picked apart. Held up to the light and examined. Put under the microscope.

I was playing God of War III the other day, and started to mentally think of what it would be like if I could control the camera. Does the lack of camera control actually make the game less fun? Thankfully, I snapped out of this mental calculation when Kratos ripped some poor *** to shreds, and a smile came over my face. Oh yeah, that's right. This is what playing games is all about. Duh. There's no need to think about potential review scores or dissect every facet of the game. I'm enjoying playing it, and at this particular moment, that needs to be embraced.

It's easy to get caught up in the missed opportunities, unfinished ideas, dead ends, and general mistakes in a game. But it's vital that I don't lose sight of the things that go right. Forming an opinion of a game (or a review score for that matter) is more than a list of what went wrong, and it's certainly not some mental checklist. Sometimes people talk about their dreams interrupting their waking life, but I guess I have it the other way around.