My android character says play what you feel like.

I’ve developed a bit of a personal gaming mantra in the last few months. It’s something I’ve always adhered to, but as the pressures of other commitments have kept me away from video games for longer and longer stretches it’s been made all the more important.

It’s a very basic idea and it’s remarkably liberating. Ditch the video game magazines, the PR spin and the website hype for a while and play what you feel like.

Not a new idea, but sometimes a rare one

The video game industry lives and dies on the members of the gaming community keeping their fingers on the pulse. We’re actively encouraged in nearly every media output to aspire to the next great game. Every potential gaming experienced already slightly mired by the anticipation the next big thing. We live for product cycles – beautifully designed gaming experiences but products nonetheless.

I’ve been easing myself out of this cycle in recent months. Playing based on mood and gaming appetite rather than anyone elses steer. A good game is a good game forever – despite how late into its release (be it days, or years) until you finally get around to playing it. Getting home and playing what your desire right at that moment – no matter what – is such an underrated pleasure.

Off the beaten path

Instead of desiring the gaming’s industries latest and greatest I’ve working through the guilty mass of secrets that is my gaming backlog. Starting and finishing games at my own pace, away from the worry of spoilers. As a result I’m avoiding the nervous hurry of wanting to finish and complete a game before elements of it are spoiled. Ultimately though it’s time for myself away from the scruntinous glare of others – a somewhat guilty pleasure – slightly at odds with my last post.

I’m moving away from being teased with details of a game months away from release. I am no longer being drip fed morsels of details about a game I desire. Instead I can simply examine the list of games I’ve always wanted to play, or pick up a title I’ve been meaning to experience.

I’ve realised throughout this process that I am a retro gamer at heart. Playing older games is at the very heart of my mantra. It’s also particularly exciting when I inspire this feeling in others; encouraging people to start or even return to a game that has languished on a shelf for years, it’s wonderful how a very personal urge, can evoke the same feeling in others.

Going back to gaming staples

I also use these quieter more contemplative moments of the gaming year to go back to games I love. These titles are the backbone of my video game palette and are tried and tested games that I can return to time and time again with minimal effort. I know them intimately. I’ve played them numerous times, and they are the benchmark upon which all future games are compared against.

These games are the rarest of the rare, they simply don’t come along often. There’s something both nostalgic and delightful about replaying these favourites. It takes me back to the pleasure of playing them for the first time, except I know every inch of their contents, and can play expertly from the off – it’s complete indulgence and a different sort of enjoyment to playing a new game.

I will eventually of course return to my desired new releases, but I am definitely a happier and more satisfied gamer in the meantime.

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