In the interest of full disclosure, I am – in my way – going to be cherry-picking the games I play for this project. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m only going to pick the most popular and the best rated games. In fact, I’ve been scraping SteamDB trying to find games with single digit review numbers. What I am trying to do is find games that fit my tastes and abilities. No one wants to read a review that says “Well, I played for an hour, and what I can tell you is the death animation is fantastic!”
(or maybe you do – I’m not judging – but I certainly don’t want to write one!)
And let’s be real – no one consumes media completely at random. We seek out things that align to our interests. Some people only look at what is right in front of them, and some go digging in bargain bins and dusty shelves, but we gravitate towards what we like. That’s why there’s such a broad variety of games and other media – not everything is for everyone!
So what won’t you see in my one percent?
VR-Required Games: Now, never having tried my hand at game creation, I have no idea what goes into making a VR-required game vs. one not made for VR, but I have noticed a lot of VR-required titles popping up outside of the big budget developers. I’m not opposed to VR, but I don’t have the hardware to play these games, so I need to keep those off my list.
Games With Explicit Sexual Content: I’m not here to judge what other people like, and clearly, there is a market for sexually explicit games. You can call me a prude if you like – lord knows, I’ve called myself that enough times – but sexually explicit content is not something I seek out in any of my entertainment media. Sometimes the shows on HBO have scenes that make me uncomfortable. I don’t read erotica, and I don’t play sexually explicit games in any genre. It’s just not my jam.
Games in Genres I Find Frustrating Due to My Lack of Skill: This means I probably won’t pick up too many platforming-focused titles. I’m likely to avoid twin-stick shooters, or games that advertise themselves as brutally difficult. I may skip a title that requires the use of a controller – I do have one, and do use it, but it’s harder on my hands than mouse and keyboard, and I’m just not as competent with a controller in my hands. I don’t want my personal gaming shortcomings to color my opinion of a game during this project – if I’m going to stretch outside my comfort zone, there needs to be something I find so extraordinary about a game that I cannot not play it.
Games Without English Language Support: At this point in my life, all the linguistic skills I had in languages other than English have completely atrophied. In a story-focused game, I want to be able to follow the story. In a mechanics driven one, I want to understand the tutorial. I’m perfectly comfortable saying that if I game is not available in a language I am comfortable with, I am not the target market for that game.
Game That Are Multiplayer Only: While I do have friends that I game with pretty regularly, I don’t have a pocket gaming buddy I can drag along on any path that strikes my fancy, so co-op only (whether local or online) are out. We could also argue the wisdom of creating a match-making based game without a hefty marketing budget, but I’d rather be playing a game for an hour than waiting in a lobby to find a match.
Games That I Believe Are Priced Above Their Actual Value: I realize this is insanely objective, and almost didn’t include it. Over the past several years, I’ve stopped chasing play time as the ultimate metric of value, however, I still feel like there’s a minimum threshold. I’m not going to buy a game with a 15 minute completion time for $20, and I’m unlikely to go above that price for anything I’m not reasonably sure I’m going to enjoy for at least an evening or two. While I understand the urge indie developers can have to price their product relative to the amount of work put in, I also believe that finding the proper price point is an art in itself. It doesn’t matter if your goal is strictly profit driven, or to get your art in the hands of people who appreciate it, if you overprice your product, you’re likely to fail on both counts.
While these are all things that will prevent me from choosing a game, that doesn’t mean I’m considering them to be disqualifying. Please, send me your thoughts on platformers, on X-rated games, and on games in languages other than English. In fact, I’d love to highlight some indie titles outside of my wheelhouse! I’m always glad when someone finds what works for them, even if it wouldn’t ever work for me. That’s a big part of the reason I’m in favor of a more open marketplace, even if it makes it more work to find the games that speak to me.