I complain a lot about some mechanics in games that are frustrating to deal with or that I dislike a lot but in the end, I still play those games. That sounds like a contradiction in itself but at the same time, I feel like it’s an interesting topic to talk about. A while ago, I was talking about how a vast majority of your duels in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel consists of watching someone else play the game. It’s boring and annoying and when someone is legitimately stalling the game, you may make a cup of coffee, finish it, read some blog posts, and come back just in time for your turn to begin – solely because of how much time every player has per turn. Still, I looked at how much time I spent in that game and to my surprise, I already amassed over 60 hours in it, with a lot of these hours coming from the recent few weeks. Weird, isn’t it?
I feel like a lot of it stems from the nature of games. Games are meant to be entertaining. They’re supposed to be fun. Fun in itself is something whose definition varies greatly from one person to another. Some people enjoy the chill vibes that Animal Crossing: New Horizon offers. My better half absolutely love it but I would probably dislike the pacing of it as much as Naithin did. Real-time mechanics are not exactly my cup of tea and having to play at a specific time of day or having to wait for a certain day just seems very much not fun to me. Naithin wrote some lovely thoughts on the matter, so check out his post. Either way, I digress. Other people love a good challenge, which is why League of Legends is something I consider “fun”. It’s difficult and takes a lot of your attention. Similarly, it’s very much reliant on your team and your own skill as well as decision-making and some strategy. Given its competitive nature, I actually kind of enjoy the various aspects of it. I play a lot of Support, so I need to pay attention to the map while I poke enemies, trade with them, keep my ADC alive, ward up, and I need to ping my ADC a hundred times to make sure they understand that the 2v2 situation is turning into a 2v5 in a bit. Then my ADC dies and I make it out. Then I get flamed. Then I mute my ADC because they have no clue. When I play Jungle, I clear my camps and try to make ganks work so that we get some early kills that then translate into early objectives. Then my top laner complains that I’m not ganking them. I ignore them because they literally should win their lane and they’re constantly pushing. Then they start to insult me. Then I mute them. Then we win the game – or our top laner is running it down to lose the game intentionally. Either way, it’s always my fault. I could list more than a thousand instances where I was at fault for people’s mistakes according to them and I could go on forever and talk about how frustrating it can get when you play League but in the end, I still keep playing.
Animal Crossing and League of Legends are very different in their nature. Still, a lot of people would say that one of these games is fun. A lot of people don’t like League but still play it. It’s weird. I haven’t played it in weeks due to my health issues, internet issues, university exams and deadlines as well as the sole reason that I didn’t want to play it… but I still feel like I’d love to get back into it sometime soon. I love specific archetypes and characters and I enjoy the competitive nature of the game, so I keep playing it. I feel like there’s nothing wrong with that per sé.
Similarly, Master Duel has its frustrating sides but in the end, it’s still a lot of fun when you outsmart your opponent or when they outsmart your outsmarting… or when you outsmart their outsmarting of your outsmarting, resulting in a JoJo-level twist that I’d love to record and put on here. It’s quite a lot of fun and with how the ranked system works, I end up just surrendering if I see a deck that is frankly not fun to play against. That’s something that isn’t really an option in other titles but my time is usually worth more when I actually play against someone that isn’t just spamming Blue-Eyes Dragons and summoning more bullshit on the board. And yes, the same goes for me when I play a silly stall deck but I moved away from that given the number of gems I got to farm recently due to the N/R event. The current event in that game only allows normal or rare cards, meaning that you can simply yoink the enemy’s deck if you found something fun and then you recreate that and play it. I’m playing this weird XYZ deck that makes use of a bunch of gadgets, which is incredibly fun actually. The gadgets were among my favourite cards back when I watched the original series. The finale was dope btw.
I digress though. “Fun“ is different for every player. Some people like the strategy elements of turn-based games while others enjoy more skill-based systems in shooters and soulslikes and stuff. Others play simply for the chill vibes or the creative nature that some games allow you to display. The actual topic of the game was that games have flaws but you still play them and frankly, it’s weird to say that some games just really do things that well that you can easily overlook certain aspects of it. I mean, take “Domina“, for instance, a gladiator-management game where you pit one of your gladiators against plenty of others and depending on your earlier choices, you may obliterate them completely. Your god-warrior of a gladiator lets death rain onto your enemies and it’s frankly satisfying to see the pixelated blood and guts splatter everywhere. I feel like I can look past the fact that the dev is a huge asshole when I play that game. After all, I bought it ages ago and I can’t refund it. If I were to play it again, I’d probably enjoy it. I can also look past some of the aspects of game mechanics that just never seemed to work like „surrendering“ and whatnot based on the fact that everything else is really well-done.
I think if a game does certain aspects great, it’s easy to forgive or overlook other aspects that work less well. Ori and the Blind Forest, for example, has incredibly frustrating platforming mechanics in it that were at times rage-inducing for me. The game is beautiful, though, and the story is amazing, so, I can forgive that. Core Keeper is in Early Access still and many people would stay away from it because of that but I think it can be forgiven based on how polished it is. At times I feel like a game is just not worth playing at all but other times, I have this weird craving to start up Starcraft 2 again because of how much I enjoy playing Zerg. Heroes of the Storm has had some annoying mechanics in it, too, and yet, I played that for ages just because of how much I enjoyed Abathur and Xul. It’s weird but I think if you like certain aspects, you may forgive others more easily. I know a lot of people that hate platforming in games and Hollow Knight’s platforming is what turned them off from the game. If you love the story and combat as much as I do, though, you may forgive it for those aspects, which is interesting.
Now, you may ask where I’m going with this and frankly, I don’t know. I just made that observation and found it interesting. I would love to hear other people’s thoughts on the matter. Are there games that you complain a lot about even though you still come back to them every time? If so, why? Do you look past these games’ flaws or do you accept them while focusing on the good sides? I feel like, at times, there are two great moments in games like League followed by ten bad ones and in the end, I may complain about them but I will still play another game because of those two moments that may happen again. It’s weird but it also seems totally fine.