Sometimes I turn the difficulty down on games so I can enjoy the story. I bristle when this is called “casual” mode – because there’s nothing casual about an immersive gaming experience. I’ve noticed recently that some titles are referring to this as “story” mode, which is a whole lot closer to what I am trying to get out of my games.
I sat on the couch in my parents’ living room as a kid and cursed into an empty soda can watching my dad play The Legend of Zelda on our Nintendo. I’d later swap controllers with my brother, working our way through Resident Evil 2 – because, survival horror. Safety in numbers, right?
I spent as much time playing Morrowind and Knights of the Old Republic as I did writing papers as an undergraduate in literature and creative writing, and I got through my Master’s thesis raiding Karazhan.
Games, and RPGs especially, I just. love. them.
I was talking with my husband recently about the replayability of certain games, not unrelated to the fact that I am working my way through Dragon Age: Inquisition for a fourth time. I know, I know. He's judging me, too.
But the interesting thing was, we weren't quite in agreement about what makes a good replay. I might deviate slightly from the choices I made in my first - or second or third - play-through, but often, I'm replaying a game like I might reread a book. I want to experience the story I grew to love again, just the way I experienced it the first time. I would imagine my husband, who often makes entirely different choices and pursues different outcomes, is more typical in his desires. It's not that I don't want to see more of the world. It's just that I identify so strongly with a particular narrative thread that I can't let it go.
This is probably a good explanation for the allure of fanfiction, too. There's just always more between the lines of dialogue and morally defining moments of choice - I don't want to miss anything.
What about you? Are you a replayer?