It’s weird when you look back at your life and see how you’ve changed, grown, and sometimes simply stopped doing things you used to be really into. While I’m just as crazy about adventure games, RPGs, and many strategy titles as I ever was, I freely acknowledge that there are types of video games that have long departed my sphere of interest. Here are five genres that I’ve stopped playing and why:
Starting with Dune 2 and the C&C series in college, I was seriously hooked on RTS games. They offered a high level of replayability and strongly appealed to my lack of twitch-based gaming habits. Building up a huge base and engaging in epic battles was so much fun, and I played them pretty hard until 2002 or 2003. There wasn’t anything that made me up and quit them, I just moved on. I guess I felt that I had been there, done that so many times and the field hadn’t really advanced much. Prettier graphics and better controls, sure, but where was the innovation? Starcraft 2, Tiberian Sun, and pretty much all of the other entries since the mid-2000s didn’t tempt me into going back.
You know how you sometimes get wrapped up in a hobby or interest that’s contrary to your own inclinations but you do so anyway because people you like are into them? That was the sports game genre for me. I had a couple good friends in high school who were major sports buffs, so I played Blades of Steel and baseball simulators and golfing games and too many basketball titles to count because that’s what they did. But as soon as I left for college, I stopped cold turkey and my brain has thanked me ever since.
3. First-person shooter
Man FPS games were the diggity-dawgity bomb! Wolfenstein? Taught me all the German I ever needed to know. Doom? Made me think long and hard about the perils of space exploration. Heretic, Serious Sam, Half-Life (the first, never much cared for the second)… I rode this wave for a good, long time. I still don’t have a huge problem with them, except that I generally like seeing my avatar more and I’m not into the PvP aspect that most FPS titles focus on. Trying to play an FPS on a console these days is seriously one of the most painful experiences for a mouse-and-keyboard guy, even though I used to rock at Perfect Dark and Goldeneye. How much am I dating myself here?
4. Space 4X
I’m aware that there have been space 4X games since Master of Orion, but apart from a brief affair with Galactic Civilizations, I’ve mostly steered clear of them. Sometimes they seem too complicated and not containing that “personality” that I’m looking for. But it could also be that 4X games demand so much time and if I’m going to play a game for that long, I’m going to be in an MMO.
I can tell you to the minute when I stopped wanting to play platformers: When the genre went 3D. 2D platformers on the Atari 2600, NES, and SNES were terrific, but when the N64 and PlayStation started demanding that I master a third dimension, I had a strong and severe revolt that involved throwing a controller across the room and downing an entire Dr. Pepper with a stern expression on my face. Since then I’ve seen a generation come and go that claimed that Super Mario 64 was some sort of classic, a claim that makes me want to spit like a cobra into the face of the speaker each and every time. That boxy, ugly, misshapen thing? Nay, give me Super Mario World and make it double, please.
It’s pleased me to see that 2D platforming has come back into vogue, especially on mobile devices, but my reflexes aren’t as sharp as they were when I was a teen and I don’t have as much patience for them any longer.