30 Days of Video Games: Day 20, Favorite Genre

I’ve never been one of those types to have a favorite genre; I look at my bookshelves and see an equal spread of classic literature, fantasy, and general fiction and nonfiction.  I look at my DVDs and see action/adventure, fantasy, comedy, animated… all sorts of films.  So when I have to think about my favorite game genre, I naturally look to my game shelf and see shooters, RPGs, and action/adventure games.  I don’t prefer any one type over the other, so choosing a favorite genre is a bit difficult for me.

I could say I like the involvement that shooters give.  When I play Halo, I am Master Chief or Noble 6, slaughtering the Covenant forces and loving every minute of it.  When I play Left 4 Dead, I’m constantly on the move for fear of more undead rushing out of the shadows and killing me.  With BioShock, which is a combination shooter/RPG, I’m actually there, in Rapture.

But when I play something like Mass Effect or Dragon Age, my choices are having a direct effect on the storyline.  In effect, I’m creating the story as I go.  The protagonist is my character, and I’m guiding him or her through this strange land trying to unite different races against one common enemy.  When I’m playing Skyrim I’m immersed in the world of Skyrim and helping to shape the future of that land one dragon soul at a time.  There’s something very gratifying about that.

So I think in the end, really, my favorite genre comes down to what I’m in the mood to play and the kind of experience I want.  Each genre serves a different purpose, so I can’t really narrow down what I like best.  So in the interest of brevity, I simply won’t try to do it.  I will stick to playing the games I like because I like them, not because they’re the latest shooter/RPG/survival-horror/whathaveyou.  I know there are people out there who have favorite genres and will play any RPG or whatnot they can get their hands on, but I think for me personally I can’t really narrow it down.

And all it takes is one look at my bookshelves or DVD shelves to prove that to be true.

Next: Day 21, Game with the best story.

30 Days of Video Games: Day 11, Game System of Choice

I’ve always played primarily console games from the time I was young.  I had the NES, then the Sega Genesis.  In college I had a roommate with a Nintendo 64.  When I graduated college and then started working and had the money, I bought myself a new console.  I went with the GameCube, so I could play Metroid Prime, since I was on a Metroid kick.  I also got a GameBoy Advance SP so I could play Metroid Fusion; and then I got a GameBoy Player so I could link the two!  My brother left me his PS2 when he moved to California and I played a lot on that, but my history was largely Nintendo-based.

But two years ago I found the need to get a current-generation console.  I did some research.  The Wii was fun, but I didn’t care for the game selection.  There weren’t a lot of third-party-developed games.  The PS3 seemed like a good choice, but I didn’t see anything certain about backwards compatibility.  I had quite a few PS2 games, and would have liked to be able to play them on a new system, especially since I’d be trading in the old one.  But a lot of my friends had the xbox 360.  I researched its capabilities and its games.  There were some first party games I liked, and a lot of third party developed games that looked good as well.  Most of my friends had it, so we could play together and communicate.  I settled on purchasing the xbox 360.

When I got it, I also purchased a gold xbox Live! membership.  With that membership I had access to streaming Netflix and streaming radio, among other things.  I saw it as more of an investment than expenditure, because of all I could do with it.  I’ve had my 360 for two years now and still love what it can do.  Lately I haven’t had much time to game, but its capabilities as a DVD player and a Netflix streamer have been awesome.  The game selection is one that I’m happy with, and there have been very few games coming out that I’ve seen and wanted but weren’t available on the 360.

As the 360’s capabilities increase, with the Kinect and so forth, I’m sure I’ll need to upgrade eventually.  But for now, the xbox 360 is my game system of choice.