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Committing to Play

01/09/2009 Family Family Gamer Article
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Committing to Play Article

Committing to Play

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The shady world of bootleg cartridges on the DS is perhaps the worst kept secrets of the video gaming world. These are products that let unscrupulous gamers download and play illegal copies of DS games.

I recently had an interesting conversation with one of our readers who has sworn off downloading games in favour of buying originals. They (who shall remain nameless) had previously enjoyed having instant access to a wide range of games on the DS and weren't overly worried about the ethical aspects. But they then talked about the last six months where they realised how these downloaded games were impoverishing their experience.

"When you have literally any game you want on a plate, you end up flitting from one experience to the next without really committing to any." In this way they talked about the games they'd look forward to and got onto their system, only to quickly move on to the next big thing.

It's a sentiment not a million miles away from the pack of hardcore 360 gamers who roam the planes of Xbox live from one game to the next. Never staying all that long with one experience becuase the next new thing is all too soon on the horizon.

It's a sentiment not a million miles away from the pack of hardcore 360 gamers who roam the planes of Xbox live from one game to the next.

"When I used to buy games, I realised, I had more of an investment in persevering at a particular game." The simple fact of having visited a store, made the purchase and taking it home was an experience that they talked of in terms of the beginning of an ongoing relationship with the game creators.

What's more having the branding of the box and the cart adds a certain something to the whole experience. Perhaps in a similar way to how people still want the artwork and box for their albums, having a game box manual and original cart is a part of the whole gaming experience.

Although my experience of games on the DS is a little different. This story inspired me to think about the games I want to commit my time to. No matter how you are getting your games, it's easy to be driven by the latest greatest thing. I've started to compile a library of the games I want to go back to time and time again - the games I really want to commit to.

think about the games you love and then commit play more of them.

I realised my favoured experiences on the DS were those self contained repeatable moments. I'm not looking for the immersive worlds of Grand Theft Auto: China Town, or massive adventures of Pokemon: Platinum or Chrono Trigger. Rather it's the honed miniature turn based world of Advance Wars, or the short rhythm fun of Elite Beat Agents and finally the short repeatable levels of Yoshi's Touch n' Go.

These are the games I'm digging out and re-buying. But they are unlikely to be yours. What I do encourage you to do however is think about the games you love and then commit play more of them. This is as much about choosing not to play the hundreds of popular games each year and a lot more of the few games you love. Not quite monogamy but something that finds the same sense in committing to what you love.

Written by Andy Robertson

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Andy Robertson writes the Family Gamer column.

"Videogame reviews for the whole family, not just the kids. I dig out videogame experiences to intrigue and interest grownups and children. This is post-hardcore gaming where accessibility, emotion and storytelling are as important as realism, explosions and bravado."

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