I’ve never really understood the exact difference between what makes a game good and what makes a game downright awful. To me, it’s always been the tastes and preferences of the people playing them that determines if a game is ‘good’ or not. While mainstream audiences will normally dictate how a game is received, review scores can never reflect how everybody actually feels.
But you know what? That’s okay. Not everyone needs to love the latest and greatest AAA game, or fall in love with that niche indie title everyone else is talking about. Not everyone hates that repetitive platformer with horrid graphics or the new Dynasty Warriors game. Which, again, is all perfectly okay.
Every few months the big outlets in the gaming media grace a game with a particularly high review score. They speak to the merits of its’ graphics, narrative, gameplay, and the like, and lavish it with praise. These games are considered by the vast majority of gamers as the ‘good’ ones. They are talked about constantly, outlets rally behind them, and gamers will put you down if you have anything negative to say about them.
It’s the latter that makes some gamers feel bad about hating one of these golden games. Which is completely wrong – it’s totally fine to hate these ‘great’ games.
For example, a game came out last year that many people considered to be the epitome of the PS3 era; a little game called The Last of Us. Many praised it for its’ unique storyline, its’ gameplay, and it’s ability to capture human emotion in it’s characters. Well, guess what? I hated it! I seriously felt the game’s story and graphics were the only things redeeming about it. Besides that the gameplay was bland and uninteresting, it repeated boring segments multiple times, and it did a terrible job of keeping me believing the story being told. I get shit for it constantly from fellow gamers. Some of you right now are probably even seething at the fact that I had something bad to say about The Last of Us, right? That is okay with me.
It’s all a matter of opinion, and I for one don’t feel that people should be attacked, looked down upon, or ridiculed because of their personal taste in games. I’ve met tons of gamers who dislike games many others consider amazing. These include the Zelda franchise, Mario, Bioshock, Diablo, Uncharted, Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid… For every game out there that the masses consider to be great, there are countless gamers who think that it’s the worst game they’ve ever played. As I said, it all comes down to taste and opinion. There is nothing wrong with having your own, no matter what anyone says.
On the other hand, there are a ton of ‘bad’ games released each and every year; ‘bad’ according to the masses, but not everyone. People who like ‘bad’ games get attacked more harshly than those who dislike ‘good’ games, to the point that some gamers are ashamed to admit when they enjoy a game that is critically referred to as ‘bad’. The worst I’ve heard being said in response to someone liking a bad game was that the person was told they aren’t a “real” gamer. What the fuck does that even mean?
I for one love the Dynasty Warriors series, which many feel is a terrible one. I’ve been called an idiot, told that my game recommendations didn’t matter, and yes, that I was not a “real” gamer. There is just something about the strategy and gameplay of Dynasty Warriors I can’t get enough of. Yeah, it’s repetitive, and mindless, but it’s fun as hell. No, it doesn’t feel good to be called names due to my taste in games, but it isn’t gonna stop me from sharing the games I love or talking about them.
It doesn’t matter what the masses say, love the games you enjoy playing, and hate the ones you can’t stand. Use reviews to help guide what you may or may not want to give a try, but don’t idolize the thoughts of the big reviewers. It’s all a matter of opinion, and it doesn’t matter what the majority believe. This is the internet, so obviously people will continue to anonymously harass you, but don’t let it bother you. No matter what people say, remember it’s okay to love ‘bad’ games and hate the ‘good’ ones.