- a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound.
During the last few months of my reintroduction and submersion back into gaming, I have found myself without really thinking about falling into a groove, a rhythm if you will. At first, this didn’t strike it as a detail that stood out even caught my attention but after dropping nearly 20 hours into Final Fantasy XV, well over 30 into VII, another 30 into Octopath Traveler(nearly 50 at time of posting this piece), and another 10 playing DQ VIII. Quickly I became aware of something that I had never really put much thought into. Was I gaming the same way every time, was I following some kind of crazy flowchart mentality that caused me to go through the same-ish actions, over and over again. Like a Salmon traveling upstream to go lay some eggs, this was happening over and over again. Like some kind of mental checklist.
When I first put some thought into this it became very apparent I was having one of those self-realization moments where I become the villain that I have worked so hard to avoid. Questions go through my mind at a mile a minute. These are the kind of things I make fun of websites for doing, asking stupid questions that no one cared enough to want to the answer to let alone cared enough to ask about.
“Are games all the same? , Am I just stagnant? Should games change? Should I change?
Allow me to paint a picture for you so that you can understand where I am coming from. Every time I have ever booted up Final Fantasy VII, I have usually gone through the same routine over and over again. I start the game, I get inside the first reactor, I don’t finish it till I have gained no less than 4 levels, I beat the boss, continue the story, go to the next reactor, I don’t leave till I have gained any less than 3 levels, I continue the story and by the time I have reached the Shinra Headquarters, I am strapped in to stay there for at least 4 hours gaining levels, armor and every possible item imaginable. I couldn’t tell you why I have done this over the years, I can safely say I have never read a FAQ, guide, or Youtube Walkthrough that has ever given me such specific information. I can’t fathom having a friend or Youtube follower giving me that kind of detailed information, laid out so nicely, so perfectly every pitstop seemingly makes sense, no time is wasted everything has a reason for why it’s done and why I am doing it. But there I am, stopping at very precise points for an item, or an Enemy skill, or to level up for hours. I mean it’s not like the game is that hard, I’ve put in far less work and have beaten the game just as easily in the past.
Why would you do something some mindlessly without reason?
The fun about being a nerd I imagine we all know is that we are creatures who rarely like having our time wasted. We have spent the better part of decades of making games easier for ourselves, taking away challenge, figuring out ways to deflate what would usually be a tough boss, or hard segment and making it trivial. We do this so much that I’d like to believe that unless we make an active effort to NOT do this we continue to do it. We follow out inherent gaming cadence and let it carry us to the same places. An Item here, a weapon there, dozens of levels, and maybe a few hours of grinding later we stop and carrying on without so much as giving it a second thought. The game continues on with its scheduled playthrough. It is just how we play the game? Is it some odd wiring quirk that many of us have? Or are we trained by the games of old to not take stupid risks, avoiding that dreaded game over screen (As rare as you ever see them these days anyway)
Until I figure out this quandary this deep gaming conundrum I will follow this gaming beat till the proverbial band leaves the stage, the bartender tells me I’ve had enough, and the light shut off. And who knows maybe even then, ill still be there.