Monday, 15 September 2014

Thoughts: Self-Imposed Gaming Rituals




Have you ever wanted to start playing a videogame -- one you've been itching to play for a while -- but feel unable to do so unless you beat the game you're currently playing?

I've having that problem with Rouge Legacy -- a little indie game I was playing in the evenings while working on my novel, Soci of Metro. I wanted a game that didn't require large blocks of time to play and would be over once the first draft of my novel was done. And after watching my girlfriend play parts of it, I thought Rouge Legacy would fit the bill.

But not only does Rouge Legacy take longer to beat than it seems, defeating its five bosses requires a great deal of grinding. The game is a 2D platformer with Castlevania-esque enemies and a randomly generated Castlevania-esque castle. Since enemies and treasure chests respawn after every play, Rouge Legacy encourages players to enter the castle multiple times for no other reason than to harvest gold. More gold means more upgrades -- upgrades that are expensive and must be purchased multiple times over in order to grant any noticeable effect. As such, good 80% of the 8+ hours I've spent with Rouge Legacy has been spent grinding for gold.

Last night I found that I was finally powerful enough to reach the last boss, yet it became quickly apparent that I was nowhere near powerful enough to defeat him. Which, of course, means more grinding, except now I'll be wandering through a castle with no destination as each of the bosses in the castle's four areas have been slain.



The above realisation reminds me of the end of Dark Souls -- a game I was so very desperate to beat. It was a game that, by the end, was legitimately and negatively affecting my levels of anxiety and depression. But I had to beat it. I had to.

Finding out that Dark Souls' last boss is so immensely overpowered was soul crushing. Of course, I had a "fuck it" moment and after surfing the web for a few minutes I found out a armour/spell combination that allowed me to dispatch the boss with ease. Rouge Legacy, however, has only one solution to its powerful bosses -- grind.

I mean, Rouge Legacy has taken me so much longer to beat than I thought it would that I played Metal Gear Rising on Revengeance difficulty in one weekend as a break. And now, thanks to Emma's new computer, I have games like Psychonauts and Stranger's Wrath HD staring me down, but I can't play them -- not until I beat Rouge Legacy. Not until I bend over backwards for my self-imposed gaming ritual in which I can only play one game at a time, and must beat every game to an undefined level of completion.

I'm trying to figure out if there's a point to this blog post. I actually started writing it after falling asleep at the computer, waiting for the latest episode of MegaWestgarth's By The Victors to upload. Perhaps I was dreaming of beating Rouge Legacy and being free once more. Oh what a dream...

Oh, what a dream...

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