I used to record a podcast, at the end of which we’d take questions submitted by listeners. Somewhere early on we were asked the question, “What game does everyone else seem to like, that you wanted and tried to like, but bounced off?” We then spent the next two years ignoring the question as it was submitted again and again, by people who presumably did not know we’d already answered it.
If it’s a popular question to ask, maybe you’ve all got answers. So I’m asking: what game does everyone else seem to like, that you wanted and tried to like, but bounced off?
I can’t remember what my answer was on the podcast, but the obvious choice now would be Dark Souls. People rave about it. I like a lot of what I hear when people talk about it, particularly satisfying melee combat and grand world design. But I played the first hour or two of the first game and didn’t enjoy myself enough to want to persist past clipping and hit detection issues. I got frustrated, I rage quit, and I didn’t go back.
Or I can give a more recent example: Dustforce. I love platform games and have been itching for something recently with a satisfying sense of movement. I’d never played Dustforce, though I’d always planned to and I expected to love it when I did. But instead I found its running and jumping sticky, and slow, and the animation ugly, and was almost instantly eager to stop playing.
In both these cases, I’m not arrogant enough to think that the games are bad. I haven’t played either enough to make that kind of statement, even if I wanted to pick that particular fight with people who love these games. But each fell down the gap between my hopes of what they were, based on what people had told me, and the reality of what it is I enjoy when I play games.
It’s not uncommon to dislike a game, of course, but there’s a difference when it’s something you actively want to like. Especially because it’s sometimes possible to bridge that gap. Alec, for example, recently battled through his initial frustration with Dark Souls to become a fan of the series. I’ve done the same, with flight simulators and grand strategy games. It might seem odd to fight past an experience you’re not enjoying with the hope of discovering entertainment within, when there are many easier, more immediate pleasures, but it can be worth it if overcoming the ten-hour hump with Europa Universalis unlocks hundreds of hours of enjoyment that lie beyond it.
So tell me in the comments. What do you want to like, but don’t even after you’ve tried hard?