I play a lot of video games, but I don’t play that many. If I’m going to play through a whole game, it’s probably going to be something that’s been out for a while and has gone on sale (with some exceptions). I’ve noticed that the games I generally complete are pretty mainstream, GOTY-type stuff. Sure, I fill in gaps with whatever indie games PS Plus has put up there lately but other than that I’m mostly interested in first party, heavily marketed, big budget games.
Basically, I thought I was an iconoclast because I played Firewatch and The Banner Saga, but zooming out reveals that I mostly tend to dabble in stuff like Uncharted and The Legend of Zelda.
Perhaps Nintendo games should be given a pass because if you have a Nintendo system (I’ve got a New 2DS XL) then you definitely should play Nintendo games. They’re usually the ur-games of a generation, and their first party stuff is basically essential. During the N64 days I tried to go out of my way to acquire games that my friends didn’t have so that sleepovers wouldn’t become stale. While my friends had Donkey Kong 64 and Cruisin’ USA, I went with Harvest Moon 64 and Beatle Adventure Racing. Hardly indie games, but at least different ones.
There isn’t anything wrong with playing the hits. Often, they’re hits for a reason! Since I got into the Xbox 360/ PS3 generation late, there was basically a fire sale on anything that I wanted to play. I got to experience the Batman Arkham games, Bioshock and The Orange Box for cheap and they were extremely satisfying experiences. I caught The Last of Us, Dishonored and Far Cry 3 right around the tail end of the PS3's lifespan. I really enjoyed playing all of them and I tried to keep my options open on the indie front as well.
I occupy a weird space in my gaming- I keep up with more news than a lot of my friends so I’m usually the one who knows about anything cool coming up. But I still don’t get the chance to actually play anything new. I don’t have a home console hooked up and I use a laptop rather than a gaming PC. When I finally get a TV (probably in a month or two? who can say) the thing I’m looking forward to most isn’t Spider-Man but probably going through Bloodborne again. I’m firmly in the middle with my game choices. I play most of the big names to come out- eventually. I keep up with indie developers as best I can, though I might not sample what they have to offer for years after the fact (I did finally pick up Shovel Knight, now that there’s a definitive edition!). I don’t keep abreast of online shooters in any capacity, which I feel like frees up a ton of my time and energy.
Perhaps I had some kind of a thesis when I started writing this but it’s been lost. I’m musing on the fact that in most other mediums, I try and branch out from the usual and seek the unknown. I’d rather support an indie comics creator than DC’s latest continuity reboot. If a friend of mine is in a play, I’ll see that before checking out what musical is currently on tour. But when it comes to games, I usually default to whatever was trendy... three years ago.
And that’s fine. That’s what I’m getting at. Trying to define myself by the video games I consume is an insane thing to do, or at the very least it’s unproductive. It doesn’t lead far, except maybe to some Reddit threads where I can learn a few tips and tricks. It’s OK to like the mainstream thing, even while occasionally criticizing the mainstream thing. Like what you like, and don’t let anyone knock you for it. Even if I sometimes do anyway.