Old Man’s Gaming Rant #1

Good day, everyone! While I work on additional Westworld posts and a few other secret projects, I wanted to toss out some thoughts to let you all know I’m still with you. My focus for today is my new Xbox.


I consider myself a hobby video gamer—I casually play strategy and role-playing games, for fun, usually alone. First-person shooters and sports games don’t really interest me. I also care foremost about a game’s story, with fun, intuitive gameplay coming in second. I am currently working my way through The Witcher III on my Xbox and Starcraft II on my computer. I care nothing about chasing trends or having the latest, fanciest hardware.

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Geralt and Ciri from The Witcher III.

Do you know why? I don’t care what a game looks like. I don’t care if a game is running at full 1080p HD, or whatever the peak is now. I’m turning 30 this year; I remember when Pac-Man and Super Mario Brothers were the most graphically complex games you could play.

I don’t know if it’s a benefit of maturity, but I can play the original Starcraft, Final Fantasy VII, Planescape: Torment, Mass Effect, or now The Witcher III all with equal relish. I remember 15 years ago when people argued over the godlike graphic superiority of the original Xbox over its competitors—an era when the Playstation 2 was my console of choice (and at a time when I could only afford a single gaming system). The following generation, I switched to an Xbox 360 because I wanted to play Mass Effect (Bioware’s console offerings were Xbox exclusives in those days), and I’ve remained loyal ever since. I’m still building up the same player profile I started out with on my 360 on my One S.

mass-effect-3v

FemShep, the Mass Effect series.

I love my One S. It’s basically a cheap gaming computer I can connect to the Internet and my TV—something we’ve been promised since the mid-90s, ironically foremost by Sony, if memory serves. I don’t care about being taken seriously in the gaming community, nor do I care about being sneered at as a casual player. I game to have fun and enjoy stories through yet another medium.

Why do you game? Please keep gaming system specification comparisons out of your answers. Let’s be grownups about our shared hobby. Strike up a conversation in the comments below.


Note: Featured cover image artwork by Jakub Rozalski, who is awesome and loves the Witcher. Visit his site here.

6 responses to “Old Man’s Gaming Rant #1

  1. Glad you’re still gaming! I actually look for the gameplay first. I enjoy a good story, but if the gameplay isn’t there I usually never finish it.

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  2. as a 53 year old gamer i can remember pong being the only game out there. for me the game has to have both good game play and story if not then i some how feel kind of shortchanged. i still have all my conoles from the first nentendo to to playstation 4 plus a high end home built pc that lets me play any thing i want. i still drag out the old consoles to replay my faverit games of that gen. graphic are part of the fun

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    • I’m definitely not saying graphics don’t matter at all, or that they shouldn’t be taken into consideration of a game’s value at all. I’m simply saying that, for me as an individual, on their own they’re not enough. I also kind of pity gamers who only go after the prettiest games and never learn to appreciate them as a storytelling medium.

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  3. Definitely gameplay and story.

    Some of my favorite games have cell-shaded graphics and therefore transcend the time of release – they are always as good as they need to be because of their art style. So like, Borderlands and X-Men Legends.

    Some of my favorite games are the Final Fantasy series, and you have to be willing to dive into most of the history of video game graphics for those! Currently playing the tiny Final Fantasy VII screen on my PSP! Even some recent Final Fantasy offerings (like for mobile) have used the older graphics style, like Final Fantasy Dimensions (which is great), and the gameplay and story solve that.

    And some of my favorite games have basically no story at all, or very minimal (or, increasingly with each sequel), like Timesplitters and Diablo. But it’s not the graphics saving those, but the gameplay.

    Sometimes games have all three, and that’s great, but whatever is whiz-bang awesome today is going to be outdated next week with how they work on improving these things. The classics are the classics regardless of how they look!

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