GameCentral readers discuss how their video game preferences have shifted over the years, from the types of games to the consoles themselves.
The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Grackle, who asked whether you’ve noticed a change in terms of the types of games you play, or major franchises you’ve changed your opinion on?
Many people mentioned they have less time for games as they’ve got older, with a tendency towards playing less games for shorter period. But others insisted their tastes haven’t really changed that much, just evolved with the technology.
This is an interesting question because my preferences have changed over the years, but I’m not sure whether that’s a lack of time, declining skills, or me just being a different person now. All three I suppose. When I was younger I used to play almost nothing but multiplayer games. Especially Call Of Duty and FIFA, but nowadays I find I’m just not good enough to really compete. Against my mates, maybe but since they don’t play as much now either that doesn’t really cunt.
Instead I’ve found myself playing single-player games more and more. Games I would’ve never imagined myself being interested in before, like role-playing games and a lot of indie titles. I’ve even got into Dark Souls and Bloodborne, which really wouldn’t have been my thing five or 10 years ago.
Especially given how little time I had to play them at any one moment I was so pleased with myself when I beat Bloodborne that I immediately looked into the other games and other ‘hard’ games that I would’ve dismissed before. So actually, I don’t feel as if I’m missing out I’ve just moved onto something completely different that’s just as good.
No longer available
When I was younger I was a sucker for Japanese role-players, the longer and more obscure the better. I had a SNES (obviously!) and I must’ve played most of them two or three times each. God knows how long I spent on Suikoden II when I graduated to a PS1.
Nowadays though I have two problems: not enough time and not enough Japanese role-players. As time has gone on I’ve found myself drifting more towards Western role-players, particularly Bethesda’s games, and other shorter games. I was really into Telltale games for a while, until they lost their mojo, and would actually love for there to be more episodic games for other genres.
Hitman is the only example I can think of and I really liked that, but of course it was such a flop it almost ended up tanking the franchise and the developer. I am surprised more games don’t try to target those with less time on their hands. I know that’s probably supposed to be mobile games, but there should be something in the middle between Candy Crush and Final Fantasy XIV. Maybe that’s why the Switch is doing so well…
Time catches up
I would say my gaming habits have definitely changed over the last few years. This is mostly because as I’ve grown out of my teens and into my 20s my disposable income has gone down, as well as my free time. With a full time job, rent, bills and a wedding on the way I really had to focus my efforts onto getting the most bang for my buck. I used to buy games right around release and sink four to six hours at a time.
Now I very rarely, if ever, buy a new game. Only getting them as gifts or on sale, and that is only after I have done extensive research to make sure I’m going to enjoy it. My play time is also now limited to just one to two hours, sometimes at the expense of sleep.
This all makes me feel a little old but also grown up, not to mention playing games for six hours straight just isn’t healthy… Man I really am old.
KeeganatorPrime (PSN ID)
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Never look back
I don’t think my tastes in games have changed all that much over the years, but the way I play them certainly has. I used to be just a normal console gamer but at the start of this gen I decided to get a gaming PC and have not looked back since. The amount of faff necessary to get the PC made was much less than many would have you believe and I immediately saw the benefit in terms of better graphics and cheaper games.
The only downside has been not having my mates around to play multiplayer, but they were all starting to do that much less than before anyway. If I had my way I’d wish for consoles to just go away as a concept tomorrow, and just concentrate everything on the games and the state-of-the-art hardware?
I’m particularly glad I made the switch because of all the nonsense with the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. Nearly £500 consoles that make virtually no difference and still aren’t as powerful as a top end PC? Yeah, no thanks. I’ll just stick with what I’ve got and upgrade my graphics card next year.
Thinking back to the kind of games I used to play as a teenager the biggest difference is racing games. I used to play tons of them, and yet the only current gen one I have is Forza Motorsport 7 and I’ve barely touched that if I’m honest.
Thing is, I don’t really know why. It’s a really good game, has plenty of cars and tracks, but somehow it doesn’t have the same appeal. I’ve never heard of driving games being thought of as something that only kids play but then there is the thing that generally there are less of them around at the moment so maybe everyone went off them at the same time?
Perhaps it’s because they take a lot of skill to play and people don’t have the time or effort to keep on the ball with them. Or maybe it’s just that there’s not really anything new to do with them. Either way, I can’t say I really miss them.
I like to think I’ve become a lot more accepting of different types of games as the years went on. Back in my youth there would be certain types, like strategy games and role-players, that were just not deemed cool and I would avoid them purely for that reason. You had to keep up with the cool kids back in those days and to a youngster that was all that was important.
Japanese role-players being just so plain weird also put me off above and beyond that, but more recently I’ve got into things like Skyrim which are lot less off-putting. The real breakthrough though came with XCOM, which is certainly not the sort of game I would’ve used to play but after the rave reviews from GC I picked it up and absolutely loved it – and all its spin-offs and sequels.
After that I gave NieR: Automata a go, and although it’s obviously very different to the sorts of games I used to play (or rather avoid playing) on the PS1 and PlayStation 2 I’ve really enjoyed. I probably would’ve given Persona 5 a go too after that, but the long run time put me off there. My horizons might be wider by my amount of free time gets shorter every day!
I guess the reasons are obvious enough but I used to be a huge Halo fan, but well… you know how that went. I suppose it’s unreasonable to think something can go on being great forever (the Star Wars movies are proof enough of that) but I find it depressing thinking of what Halo is now compared to at is peak.
The stories make no sense (or at least I don’t care about them anymore), and the multiplayer is one step away from being just generic Call Of Duty fodder. Nothing I used to love about the cat and mouse nature of the old games is there any more and I just cannot get excited about it anymore. No wonder they’ve been waiting so long for Halo 6.
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Game time sacrifice
Realistically speaking, apart from the advancement of games and the styles that they are presented to us, I feel they are still the same type of genre. For example, I played platformers, role-players, and shoot ‘em-ups, etc. back in the day, and still do now. The major difference though is time, and hoping that saving the game will be open to frequent amounts of it.
My habits have changed as playing at available times is much less in the week then before! Doing house chores, and a bunch of other stuff, when getting back from work has made me cut back on some of my hobbies. The weekend is where I can make up for it, but completing games of which none are short can take a while to do.
Consoles have always been the main choice for me, as PCs are just too fiddly and annoying for gaming machines, whilst consoles are just – put that wire in there and plug that here and power on, make your way through set up and creating your identity and install game then you’re ready to go, more or less.
Now and again I have taken the odd break from gaming but get back to it with a vengeance.
I do have other interests which take over like films, books, music, and walking, etc. Of which game time sacrifice must happen. But I must admit that lifestyles do change and it will be interesting to see what ten years from now will be like! But for now looking forward to the next big release is still of intrigue and makes for interesting times indeed.
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