Love doesn’t always happen at first sight. Though the rare occasions where a game instantly clicks are some of our most personal watershed moments, it’s also memorable to face resistance with a game, to have to try it out a few times while struggling to get a firm grasp of everything it has to offer. This can be especially true when trying new genres. Almost as if the game is challenging the player rather than inviting them, this struggle can lead to an even greater appreciation for a game as they surprise and connect to you in ways you couldn’t have expected. This week we opened up about the games that challenged us to grow when considering the question:
I first wanted to try Fire Emblem because of the game’s cover, drawn in by the fantasy setting without any knowledge of what the actual game was. Suffice to say, I didn’t really know what I was doing which is a pretty brutal way to be introduced to a strategy series, but the world was so cool that I stuck with it for a while before putting it down. I went back to it again and began to enjoy the game because of its systems and gameplay rather than in spite of them, though I ran out of steam two thirds through the campaign. The third time was the charm for me as I became completely enchanted by everything the game had to offer and triumphantly saw the story through to its conclusion. Fire Emblem has been one of my favorite series ever since.
I also had to try the beginning of the Witcher 3 a couple times cause that game is so overwhelming!
I was six when Donkey Kong 64 came out. I remember playing it on the kiosks inside Wal-Mart and reading about it in Nintendo Power magazine. I was obsessed with it before it even launched. When I finally got my hands on it I didn’t make it very far before I quit. I just finished the tutorial and was exploring the vast and mysterious Donkey Kong Island. The first objective was to swim across the water to a floating islet. While in the water, the sunny sky turned to a thunderstorm, the music turned sinister, and my stomach turned inside out. I threw my controller down and rushed over to turn off my TV. I wouldn’t return to the game for months and only with strategy guide in hand, but it ended up being one of my favorite games as a kid.
It took me years to get into Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and the MGS franchise in general. A friend of mine let me borrow his copy of Snake Eater in high school, telling me it was one of the best games he had ever played. I took it home and gave it an honest shot, but couldn’t get past the convoluted controls and even more convoluted story. I knew MGS was this legendary franchise, but after getting my hands on the supposed best entry in the series, I thought it was nonsensical and boring. I tried it a couple more times over the next couple of years, but could never push myself past the introduction of Ocelot. The attention to detail was impressive, but it always left me confused and frustrated. It wouldn’t be until after I graduated college, and had gained a greater appreciation for slower paced narrative-driven games, and having watched the Giant Bomb guys play through the first two games in the series, that I was able to dig into Snake Eater again, and this time it finally clicked. Turns out, my friend was right all along!