I’m a pretty open minded gamer, or so I like to believe. If a game is released in a box, i’m always prepared to give it a chance, no matter how tacky the art may be, how poorly it’s been received or how dull the focus of the game actually is (cricket games say hi!). If I can hold it in my grubby little hands then chances are I will give it a shot to shine or disappoint in equal measure. I’m such a game maniac that I frequently loiter on websites like unranked smurfs, ascertaining if there are some tips and tricks I’m missing out on.
Unfortunately this open minded attitude does not transfer to the world of digital games. With digital games my standards alternate completely. As an advocate of physical products and a major digital sceptic I maintain much higher expectations when forced to venture into the ‘future’.
Until recently this had led me to pursue a less than healthy approach in determining which games were worth purchasing. With almost unrealistic expectations my digital experiences have been severely limited over the last 5 years. While the likes of Shadow Complex, Minecraft, N+ and Yu-gi-oh Millennium Duels have all made the grade, many have fallen off my playlist as a result of their digital roots, low budget aesthetic or less than conventional gameplay.
Deep down I have sneaking suspicion this disdain originates from the increased risk involved with purchasing digital games. Unlike physical products once a digital item is purchased, that’s it! There is no trade-in value and no way of recouping anything back should the game be a complete mess. When it comes to buying digital titles a greater leap of faith is required, and I think potentially that additional barrier has been too much for me to overcome, until now.
I only happened to stumble upon my problem after upgrading to Playstation Plus on my newly bought PS4 last month. With just two games to my name at the time (the utterly mediocre ‘The Amazing Spiderman 2’ and the underwhelming ‘Killzone: Shadowfall’) I decided to take a look at my free game allocation for the month. I was casually looking through the rather paltry offerings and came across Towerfall Ascension. Now despite the critical acclaim, lack of alternative games to play, and ‘free’ price point, I screwed my nose up at it. I made rash judgements based on the primitive screenshots on offer and the lacklustre description. In the end I downloaded the title reluctantly out of entitlement more than anything. I’d paid my £40 for the year and god dammit I was going to make the most of it! Turns out that was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long long time! The game is already up there among my favourite 2D titles ever, it’s unique, it’s clever and most importantly it’s FUN!
Looking back it bothers me significantly that I let my pre-conceptions cloud my judgement. I do have to wonder what other experiences I’ve missed out on because I wasn’t prepared take a chance on a less conventional digital title.
The biggest issue with subtle problems like this is you often don’t consciously realise you are holding a prejudice against particular games. It’s very difficult to psycho evaluate yourself and getting down to why you act the way you do towards a particular sector of the industry or a particular franchise can be pretty confusing.
Thankfully Towerfall has really opened my eyes to the potential of the digital indie scene and I know thanks to this excellently crafted strategic platformer I am a much more open minded gamer going into the new generation. Creator Matt Thorson has earned my eternal appreciation.
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