Kids are judgmental assholes. I’m still a judgmental asshole, but that doesn’t mean my tastes haven’t evolved.
REPLY TO ALL – The Horrible Night contributors answer gaming questions and try to determine who has the right opinion.
What games/genres did you write off as a kid that you enjoy now?
Justin G: Metroid and Castlevania. No, I’m serious – when I was little, I didn’t like them. I couldn’t figure them out, I didn’t understand the mechanics of finding the upgrades to progress in Metroid, the unkillable Rippers drove me nuts, and all I wanted to do was fight Ridley and Kraid, who were shown in the Nintendo guide book that came with many of the systems (but was largely an ad for other games you didn’t have more than a help), and I couldn’t. Castlevania was just really hard. I may have had patience issues. (Galaga, on the other hand, has always been awesome).
Jordan: I remember loving everything that came in cartridge, floppy disk, or arcade cabinet form as a kid. The only type of game I never really cared much about were sports game. I never played sports as a kid, never watched sports, never tried to learn the rules of any sport. So the idea of playing a sport themed video game seemed like a waste of time. However, original Nintendo era sports game are a different story since those games were unable to include all the nuance and rule sets of a complex sport. They were fun to play because they were basically a button mashing arcade game wrapped with a sports theme. I enjoyed the RBI Baseball game, but the ones I remember playing the hell out of where Ice Hockey and Tag Team Wrestling. I don’t know if anyone else counts Base Wars as a “sports” game, but in my mind it will always be the greatest baseball game ever created. So, with newer sports games trying to mirror not only the game itself, but also all the individuals players and teams… I still can’t be bothered to care about them.
Justin L: That does explain your love for arcade games, Gifford. Any idea which game forced you to have some more patience. And Jordan, Base Wars may be the best baseball game so it better count as a sports game. My other vote would be to the Baseball Simulator 1000 series.
I’ve always been curious about all kinds of games, but I’m not sure I’ll ever be comfortable playing a fighting game competitively. I was never the kid at the arcade that wanted to challenge all comers. Sure I’d play with friends, but the second someone I didn’t know put a quarter in next to me to fight me, I’d fail and bail. Online multiplayer has certainly helped with that as I did play a good number of online matches of Street Fighter IV, but I win or lose I still prefer to play with people I know.
Justin G: I grew up and discovered Ritalin. But no, seriously, probably Civ III; I even thought Ocarina was a little slow-paced. And I’m with Jordan – the only sports game I really got into as a kid (read: ever) was Mutant League Football.
I feel like fighting games (SSB excepted), except for their heyday in the arcades, are feast or famine. You’re either a huge fan and have been forever and your friends think you may have had black market tech grafted onto your nerves like Dina Meyer in Johnny Mnemonic…or you’re not. I mean, I grew up when Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter 2 really took off, so everyone was playing them, but I was never particularly good, at least not in the way that people who learned all of the combos were. (Remember the patience issue?) [Flipside: flying games. I was awesome and love Galaga and R-Type and I’m awesome and love flight combat sims now.]
Justin L: I hated Civ as a kid. Mainly because two of my best friends were obsessed with Civ II, and would spend all day/night playing it when I wanted to play other games. At the time, I thought they were playing an educational game and it looked incredibly boring and slow. Thankfully, I finally gave Civ IV a chance and accidentally pulled several unexpected all nighters. Which is poor planning on my part because those are a lot harder to do when you have professional responsibilities.
Coop: I think I’m the opposite of what this thread is going for. I played pretty much anything as a kid. I was obsessed with video games and didn’t really discriminate. For me there are more games that I played as a kid that I hate now rather than the reverse. The collection of terrible RPGs that I used to play could’ve lead to my dislike for RPGs. According to Justin I played all the terrible ones.
Justin L: Secret of Evermore did the entire genre a disservice. AND you can’t say you hate RPGs if you endured dozens of hours of Dark Souls and Fallout 3. Good try though.
Coop: Justin, I’m referring more to the heavy menu based JRPGs. I played a lot of Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior as a kid and really can’t get into games setup like that anymore. I like the action of controlling a battle rather than just watching it happen by a selection of menu options. My opinion on RPGs like Dark Souls and Fallout have changed mainly to the simpler nature of the menu system. If there is too much going on, I just don’t care enough to learn it.
Jordan: I’m with Coop on that as well. Not so much about the menus though. I remember really enjoying turned based JRPGs as a kid. Then at some point I must have a played a real-time RPG (probably Kingdom Hearts) and can’t handle the back and forth turn based fighting anymore. I enjoyed Ni No Kuni recently and it had some turn-based cool down in the fights and overworld/random battle stuff going on. But you could run around the entire time within the battle area so it felt real-time. And it was also Studio Ghibli, so it could have been a Free-to-Play PvP game and I would still have loved it.
Cole: I can’t remember ignorantly loathing any type of game but I did not like the Galaga, Gradius, and Lifeforce’s of the world because I was and continue to still be absolutely terrible at them. But it wasn’t out of ignorance, just lack of ability. Even games I couldn’t beat or figure out never led me to hating those games. Bayou Billy was terrible yet I played that game a ton. I think I’m an equal opportunity gamer.
Aaron: I pretty much played whatever I could get my hands on. Platformers, RPGs, sports, sim, anything. I’m much more selective with games today and how I spend my time. I like what fighters are going for, but I don’t have the patience to master their particular systems. I like my sports to be arcade-styled too, so I’m no longer following Madden or FIFA. I used to waste away hours with Sim City 2000, but I’ve only put maybe an hour into a Civ game and assume that it will remain that way until the end of time. I suppose I was a childhood glutton, but now I’m a slightly more picky one.
Jordan: I loved fighting games as a kid. But I had a brother and a cousin just down the street who were both roughly my age. We would beat the hell out of each other in game until one of us would call “cheater”, then we would beat the hell out of each in real life. So every game with a competitive mode was really fun to play.
When I shut my eyes at night, I can still see those original four battle mode tracks from the first Mario Kart. Then at some point, they became better at me in one of those games and I couldn’t keep up. So instead of practicing and challenging them in a Karate Kid style, winner takes all competition, I would just gave up. Which is why I think I don’t like playing PvP games today. I’m not very ambitious and don’t find it much fun getting my virtual ass handed to me over and over again. People don’t listen online when you ask them “Hey, wait a second, I’m still trying to figure out the controls!”
Justin, It seems most of us weren’t really that judgmental as kids. I think we were probably excited to just be playing video games and it hadn’t even occurred to us what a “bad” game was yet. I’ll blame video game review websites for polluting our open and accepting minds and making us the judgmental assholes we are today.
Justin G: I also liked playing the board game Axis and Allies, so that and the fact that I’m a huge reader and you’re not, Justin, may have something to do with it – I liked the games that sort of looked educational, including Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego.
I think it’s hilarious that Cole hates my favorite type of game and I hate his.
Also: games are better now than then, so even if there were genres I didn’t like as a kid, I’ll play them now, or at least some of them.
Jordan: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego is the reason I know what spelunking is.
Justin G: Not because of, you know, Spelunker?
Jordan: Sadly no…. I could have been a couple of years prepared for the Spelunky daily challenges.
Aaron: Someone typed Spelunky and my radar went off.
Justin G: *Ping* Spelunky. The game that never learned that cheap deaths and absurd difficulty is no substitute for making a good game. *Ping*
Justin L: I agree to disagree with Gifford pretty regularly, but the longevity of Spelunky, its flawless design, and ridiculous online community make it worth pointing out that there is no more debate about it being a “good” game. Even if I didn’t like it I’d lump it in with the likes of other great games that I didn’t quite get like League of Legends or Minecraft in my case. Maybe we’ll ask you about that one in another decade.
Justin G: The majority of Americans don’t ‘believe’ in evolution or anthropogenic climate change, either, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary. In other words: just because a lot of people like it doesn’t mean their opinion that it’s a good game isn’t wrong.
Aaron: The simple takeaway here is that Gifford is bad at Spelunky, but “it’s not his fault.”
Justin G: <sigh> I’ll see if I can do some leaderboard scoring this weekend to disprove Aaron’s theory. Because I’m contrary like that.
Jason: Alright… I guess I should bring up the rear of this conversation and own up to being one of the reasons why this question was asked this week.
I’m just going to lay it out here and walk away without looking back: I didn’t like Zelda. And I didn’t like Final Fantasy.
That’s not to say that I don’t understand why they are loved and why people enjoy playing them… growing up I simply never could connect to them. In fact, I played FF7 years later just to be able to say that I had played a FF title. Sure… I came to appreciate some of the elements of the game, but it still wasn’t enough to convince me to start from the beginning of the series or even consider another future FF title.
As for Zelda, I spent an entire summer helping my aunt and uncle renovate their new home and in between hammering sessions I would cram in Zelda for the SNES. And by cram I mean that I mostly watched my cousin get lost and roam the alternate or parallel worlds.
In fact, I think I pretty much jumped the Nintendo ship once Sega came around.
Maybe there’s something wrong with me, but I don’t think there are any Link shaped rorschach tests out there that have ever pointed at the trigger inside me that prevents me from wanting to play these type of games. (Believe me, I have tried figuring it out.)
If it’s your cup of tea, great. I’m not going to hold it against you. Just don’t come for me in the middle of the night with pitchforks and torches demanding I come play your favorite fantasy game series. It’s just not going to happen.
I’m sure there are plenty of games that I loved and that you didn’t like. And that’s what makes the video game world a beautiful place.
*slowly backs away*
Justin G: I’ll cover your retreat, JPT, I don’t ‘get’ them, either, not the way most other people do.
Cole: Actually now that Sega has been brought up, I was ignorantly discriminatory towards all things Sega. The only game I liked that I played as a kid was Altered Beast. Sonic was always ehh and F blast processing. Maybe Sega did what Nintendidn’t but the plethora of great(er) games on the SNES always won out for me. Nevermind the fact that I was brainwashed by Nintendo Power.
Jason: Well… Sega Power existed too. So there’s that.
Justin G: Sega Visions…
Jason: That, too.
Justin L: I hated Sega. But always wanted to play Sonic games. Now that I can, I’m pretty sure that series has always sucked. So there’s also that.
But wait JPT, I know you didn’t get Zelda or FF as a kid – are you saying you do or don’t have interest in playing them today?
Jason: No interest whatsoever. The rabbit hole is too deep for me to even bother.I think as a kid I liked being on the outside looking in. In some ways today… I’m still like that.
Jordan: Says the guys playing Minecraft on YouTube!
Jason: Hence why I said “in some ways”, Remember Me spokesmen.
Jordan: Well now we’re just being mean. We are judgmental assholes….
Justin G: Lacey’s the only one who tried to make it seem his judgmental assholishness was the invention of others, not an immutable fact.
Back on point: Myst looked so dumb to me as a kid. Now I have a mess of puzzle games on my tablet that can keep me occupied until the batteries run dry.
Justin L: I’m the only one not in denial here. Kids are assholes and most of us are still assholes. That being said I love puzzle games, but I enjoyed and still enjoy my Encarta CD’s more than Myst.
There’s obviously more hope for our society than we original thought as some of us were pretty open-minded while growing up and still continue to try new games and things to this day. You know, as long as old console wars or more recent video game failings aren’t drudged up