Enjoy The Experience The Way You Want To
Sometimes we can develop preferences for how we experience something, and in turn we may recommend others to do it the same way. For example, when I go to a rock concert I like to go up front because the crowd seems to be more active there (I’m also pretty short and I like to go where I can get the best view.) For a while I personally felt like that was a major part of the experience, moving along with the motion of the crowd and being surrounded by fans of the same music. When I met my partner I wanted to share with him the enjoyment that I got from such experiences, but he just didn’t like being up front. He prefers to stand on the edges and isn’t one for joining in so much. The crowd makes him slightly claustrophobic and he’s there more for listening to the music than the vibe. Now when we go to concerts we compromise on how we want to experience them.
Usually we make recommendations hoping to improve a person’s experience or just really wanting them to feel the same enjoyment that we do. Unfortunately, it can sometimes feel a bit forced on us and we’re left feeling guilty for experiencing it in any other way. Just as different people have different interests, we can also have our own preferences for how we approach an experience. I find such differences can occur a lot in gaming. For example, I’ve noticed a negative attitude towards people that choose to play games on an easier setting. There’s also preferences on whether cheats or using a guide ruins the experience (for me it depends on the type of game.) In games with lots of choices do we take the consequences as they come or re-load? In my opinion, games are suppose to be entertaining, and it doesn’t matter how you choose to play so long as you enjoy yourself.
I love challenging games like Dark Souls and I can be a little bit finicky about how I approach them. I’ll look things up like armour and weapons, – you can miss things in RPGs – but I won’t use walkthroughs on my first play through; I enjoy the exploration and feeling of discovery. That bothers some people because these games contain a lot of hidden parts, and they feel like it should be more obvious so that they don’t miss any content by accident. Dark Souls can also be made easier by grinding and levelling up your character. For those that play for a challenge, grinding for levels would be frowned upon. For others it might be boring to repeat the same sections over and over. I do a little bit of grinding in my games, but my curiosity to see what is around the next corner often gets the better of me, so I won’t stay put for very long. I mostly get my levels by being extra cautious, a willingness to backtrack and spend up rather than taking the risk of forging ahead. My partner does overpower himself, because he plays for the systems and not so much for the challenge. I do have to try and beat every boss – including the optional ones – while others are content just with getting to the end credits.
Unless you’re trying to be a professional or competitive gamer, most of us have nothing to prove by how we play our games. All that really matters is that we have fun. Not everybody has enough spare time to fully play some of the longer games either, but if modifying the experience allows them to still enjoy it in some form or other then they should. There’s a good article on Rock, Paper, Shotgun about this called ‘Life’s Too Short: How I learned To Embrace Easy Mode.’
I actually feel awkward making recommendations, just in case I make a bad choice for that person and they end up regretting investing the time or money. I use to jump in with lengthy explanations on how they should approach the experience in the hopes that they would get it like I do. I didn’t want them to miss the best parts, but then again everybody can form a different opinion on what the best part is. Sometimes it’s better just to sit back and let them find their own rhythm for how they want to experience it. We were new once after all, and yet managed to discover a way to enjoy it. Vice versa, listen to advice so that you can get the most out of an experience, but don’t let them dictate to you how to enjoy it. Do it the way that works for you.