GamePlay Blog – Week 7
October 23rd – October 29th 2017
This week, albeit unusual in terms of gameplay time as compared to earlier weeks, was particularly useful for me to reflect on. I spent a good deal of time thinking things over as to why certain games impact me more than others. Perhaps more than that, I’m learning to become appreciative of these differences and the way that certain styles of games (or styles of playing games) appeal to me.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
As with previous weeks, my Animal Crossing (Animal Crossing: New Leaf) time has more or less evened out to only a small amount of time each day. It remains a daily ritual to check my in-game town during the morning or afternoon, typically alongside breakfast or coffee, and I continue to typically perform only a few tasks per day. There are, however, some days which break from this new norm.
Sometimes I do feel compelled to play for longer, to take my time with things and really soak in the atmosphere. I think it’s those times that really remind me why I love the game and why I’ve played it for so long.
This week, I took notice of a few key things in regards to how playing Animal Crossing impacted me:
- Overall, my experience with the game continues to be a pleasant and relaxing one. I still enjoy the game, though due to its nature it is obviously repetitive. Nevertheless, it might be this repetition that I enjoy so much: the safety of predictability that can be changed up more or less on a whim (given that the player character is the in-game town’s mayor). Looking back on things, I feel a deep appreciation for the game. No matter how silly it might sound, Animal Crossing has gotten me through a lot of tough times. There’s a saying in the game: “bad times are just times that are bad.”
- In terms of multiplayer, my partner and I occasionally visit each other, though not nearly as much as before. Largely this seems to do with our overall playtime. Still, it is enjoyable when we are able to visit—and the ability to help one another out means that the game always feels a little bit connected. I have a safety net, as it were, wherein if I need help with something I can depend on someone besides myself. It’s reassuring to be able to play with another person, regardless of how much we actually do play with each other.
- I’m excited to continue playing, specifically due to the changing season and upcoming holidays. Because Animal Crossing works off of the real-world time, the games environment changes throughout the year. The grass and trees change colour, and eventually, become covered in snow, and special events line up in-game with certain ones in real life. These special events help to break up the monotony of playing the game day-by-day, specifically some of the more interesting ones like Halloween and Christmas. I haven’t really experienced these events before, and this year I’ll be playing alongside my partner, so I’m especially enthusiastic about going through them together.
Borderlands the Pre-Sequel
Just like last week, my focus has been on the Borderlands series more so than any other game. My partner and I were able to finish Borderlands the Pre-Sequel (Borderlands the Pre-Sequel), and it was quite rewarding to reach the ending with someone who had similarly never beaten the game. We intend to, when my school schedule permits, play the first game in the series to round out our play time.
The Pre-Sequel was particularly interesting in that it showed a different side of the series’ overall story. Playing through the game meant meeting new characters, exploring new environments, completing new quests, as well as getting to see the actions of pre-existing characters which lead to the other games’ events.
This week, I took notice of a few key things in regards to how playing Borderlands the Pre-Sequel impacted me:
- I was having a good time playing, but I was also eager to finish the game and move onto other things. I think it’s also worth noting that despite my chosen character being fun to play, I was very excited at the idea of doing a secondary playthrough of the game as a different character. There is a distinct sense of “newness” that goes hand in hand with a game like this, and it’s something I don’t often get to experience in the other games I tend to gravitate to.
- I feel as though, in terms of gameplay, I had a much more fun time playing Borderlands The Pre-Sequel than I did playing Borderlands 2 (Borderlands 2) last week. This isn’t because of the game—I honestly feel as though Borderlands 2 is superior—but rather the way in which I chose to play the game. This time, I tried out a variety of weapon types with different abilities and gimmicks, and it was incredibly satisfying to switch between them. It kept the gameplay fresh and left me looking forward to combat most of the time, as opposed to ignoring it.
- Toward the end of the game, the frequency of our playing sessions began to fall off. It wasn’t so much that we weren’t enjoying the game anymore: more so we continued to run into tedious side-quests and would become overwhelmed or burned out. With that in mind, my partner and I also encountered a fair number of glitches or poorly designed areas. These didn’t spoil our game, but they were momentary causes of frustration—something that ultimately left a bad taste in our mouths.
This week, it’s been more difficult to focus on games. With responsibilities and my fluctuating mental health, my attention has simply been elsewhere. I view this with mixed feelings: though I may not be spending as much time playing video games, I know that I still procrastinate in other ways. From another perspective, spending less time on games has given me more time to watch shows and movies as well as practice my art—something that I don’t often leave myself time to do. I think that it’s important to occasionally take the time to engage in other hobbies, at the very least to broaden ones experiences and horizons, and so in a way this recent detachment from video games has been quite useful to me.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Nintendo. December 8, 2016. Video game.
Borderlands 2. Gearbox Software. September 18, 2012. Video game.
Borderlands the Pre-Sequel. Gearbox Software. October 14, 2014. Video game.