I’ve arrived at a silly revelation last week after finishing up Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown and starting up my ongoing play through of Hatoful Boyfriend. How the hell did I go from Metal gear, but with jets, to romancing pigeons as a Japanese high-school girl? This wouldn’t be the first time I take a detour from one genre to another. I usually do this with other forms of entertainment. However, this is the first time I caught myself examining my inconsistent nature.
I believe there is an inherent need in most of us that requires variety and novelty. Most people fulfill this by eating something besides chicken for dinner, trying a limited-run flavor of sprite (personally, cranberry was a let down for me), or listening to a different genre of music. So why is it that most people that play video games, don’t venture into new territory?
There’s a main reason why some don’t go off the beaten path when it comes to video games, time investment. for Ace Combat 7, it can take between 10-13 hours to finish the campaign, without going into completionist territory. this is an equivalent to about 5 to 6 feature length movies, 13 plus music albums, or a full season of an anime or two. You can get “more” bang for your buck from these types of art/entertainment. Looking at it from this perspective, it’s easy to see why people stick with what they know for video games. Outside of indie games, most prominent game releases can go anywhere from 15 to 100 hours. It doesn’t help that a lot of triple A releases have ongoing content that expects you to keep coming back daily. And once you add the price of 60$ into this equation, it becomes that much harder to experiment.
So why bother? Why go through the effort of trying a different genre that you might not be interested in? For me, it’s because games are the ultimate form of art and entertainment. No action movie has ever pumped my heart rate as fast as Bayonetta. No horror novel ever filled me with a sense of dread like Silent Hills 2. It’s difficult to get a strong emotional response from playing only one or two genres. The same goes for any other form of art. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with preferences. I myself have a hard time getting into real time strategy games. But if you catch yourself thinking what you watched, listened, played, or even ate was “alright” or just “good”, don’t be afraid to branch out. Who knows? Maybe that new experience will stick with you for years to come.