Gamer Confession: New IPs Saved Me From Abandoning Games Forever

I really did almost do it. About a year ago, around this time, I had given up. The games of yore, the new and exciting developments, from the mid 80s until sometime during the middle of the last gen…I began to lose interest. Sequel after sequel, shooter after shooter after shooter.

I realize it’s all about the business decision. New franchises get released all the time, sure, but how much are you really going to invest? A sequel that you know if it’s a decent game will generate X million number of copies, let you break even. The chances of some newfangled idea of even breaking even are slim to none. Once in a while something new breaks through….maybe.

But recently, the biggest games? Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. Battlefield 2. Gears of War 2. Killzone 2. God of War 3. Halo 3.

You tell me: why should I be interested?

Yeah I got a Wii. I was excited for the possibilities. When I found out the possibilities I was excited about were mostly lame sports or fitness related Nintendo games and most of them looked worse than games on my Gamecube, I dusted the thing off and got rid of it for a 360.

Two months after I got the 360 I wondered why I had wasted a few hundred bucks on a bunch of alright RPGs and another paperweight of a useless system.

….Until I was persuaded to get an XBL Arcade game, Shadow Complex. A dandy of a game, basically mixing Metroid with Metal Gear in a sidescrolling platformer, based largely around getting upgrades. It was pretty awesome. For such a cheap price, I was really amazed and I’ll be honest, knowing how good that game is and it’s replayability? I’d easily pay double whatever amount it was I first paid for it.

About a month later, another gem fell into my lap. Borderlands.

Borderlands gripped me. It was addicting. It was fun. The characters were so well crafted and awesome, especially Patricia Tannis, who I wrote about last month in my character profile. The endless and infinite number of guns, the exploration of an alien planet, searching for clues to the elusive “Vault.” Combine those with minor RPG elements that enabled levelling your character up, old school level grinding, new and exciting gear, bum-rushing enemies with my Phasewalk action skill and blowing their heads off with a face-melting corrosive shotgun….fantastic.

I’m in my second playthrough. Actually, third playthrough. I’ve got all the DLCs, I just love that game. I play it, no pun intended, to death. Coming up in a few months I’ll have been consistently playing it on and off for a year. If that isn’t indicative of the value in a game then I don’t know what is. Any game that can hold your attention for three playthroughs in this day and age that isn’t multiplayer, is doing a damn good job.

What was that? Three playthoughs? How about a game that I’ve done four?

The love of my life. I’m in gaming heaven.

Patricia made me play an “origin story” one fateful day last winter. I thought it was neat, I guess. It seemed complicating. So many decisions! What do I say? I was second guessing, spending a lot of time reading all my conversation responses over. But that wasn’t all, the gameplay! Four guys, swords, kind of turn based but kind of not, dragons, everybody has British accents. What is this, some kind of Lord of the Rings ripoff?

Except that it isn’t. The more I played, the more I loved it. Soon I was gallivanting all over Ferelden unleashing my all-knowing and almighty wrath on any who dare oppose me. I had never played any game like this, ever. I spent what must have been hours and hours reading up on Ferelden history. The level of effort that went into the game was, simply, stunning. It absolutely blew me away. Actually it still blows me away. And I’ve played it four times.

I’m in gaming heaven as long as Dragon Age: Origins is never taken away from me.

I even bought two books that writer DG wrote, which explored the back history of the series even further. I am completely, head over heels in love with this franchise. I love the characters, I love the story, I love the level design. I love the history. I love the medieval style. Perhaps it’s blasphemy, but I truly do believe that Dragon Age is better and deeper than Lord of the Rings.

The most shocking thing about the game was, after I had finished my first playthrough–which took me around 70 hours or so–I shut the console off. I sat there for a few moments, thinking about how awesome the game was. Then I started wondering about how long I would wait until I played it again. And that’s when the unthinkable happened. I started another game, right there and then, after having the console shut off for but five minutes.

I have a newfound appreciation for games now, thanks to Borderlands and Dragon Age: Origins. In my excitement I’ve acquired a bunch of new games with Patricia and I really look forward to trying them out whenever I can get over my Dragon Age and Borderlands fever. I’ve learned my lesson though. Don’t ever look to what’s popular anymore. What is popular isn’t necessarily what you will enjoy, at least not anymore. We live in a world of niches and that includes video games. There’s all kinds out there. If you don’t know where to turn, send Nightmare Mode an email. The eclectic and varied, err, staff, here play just about everything under the sun. My near-death experience with video games only showed me the light: there’s something out there for everyone.