Through Rose Colored Glasses.
We are all guilty of “Looking through rose colored glasses” especially when it comes to things we love. We are all quick to defend our passions, quick to criticize what we don’t like and overlook whatever is inconvenient to us. This can be both a boon and a curse.
Does it hurt to look at the positive aspects to a game, rather than focus on nothing but the negative? Can you still enjoy portions of the game without what you feel to be negative ruining your experience? I know it's possible.
It is a basic part of humanity in general. Gamers are no different than anyone else, and sometimes we’re far more likely to be hypocritical in our approach to game discussion. I am as guilty of looking through “rose colored glasses” as anyone else. For example I’ve seen gamers condemn the far more linear pathway in Final Fantasy XIII yet defend the basic FPS game’s linearity as being a part of the genre. I never minded the linear path in Final Fantasy XIII because I enjoyed the story of the game.
In a way the detractors of Final Fantasy XIII are right. When it comes to RPGs, few of us want to be forced along a narrow pathway, going from point A to point B with no chance for exploration. After all, isn’t exploration one of the biggest draws to the RPG genre? I’ve seen FF XIII referred to as “one big tutorial” and they’re right.
Overall FF XIII is an easy game to play. You can bull your way through the bulk of the game without ever really worrying about dying. Even when you do die, you don't have to worry about losing any progress, you're able to 'retry' right before you encountered the foes that wiped you out. You're automatically healed after battle. There are no magic points to worry about restoring. You can use the auto-battle feature to keep you from having to worry about anything. Or, if you're like me, you can choose to participate in the fight.
Despite it's relative ease, there were still challenges. The final boss fight in particular was one of the roughest I've fought in an RPG in years. I enjoyed the fights, the story and I didn't mind it being easy, because most RPGs aren't hard to start with.
But Final Fantasy XIII in part was designed to be easy and linear in an attempt to open up the Final Fantasy franchise to a much larger gamer base. They succeeded. But Square-Enix also managed to lose a good portion of their fan base as well. Was there enough of an offset to make it worthwhile? I can’t begin to say, but for a while the Final Fantasy boards over on the Playstation forums saw more activity as gamers who enjoyed XIII began asking about the rest of the series. It became a stepping stone for people to explore the franchise.
I got into more than a few arguments with those who condemned Final Fantasy XIII as being worthless. More than a few times I was accused of being a fanatic, a zealot or having “drunk the kool-aid”. Can’t a person actually enjoy something without being a fanatic? Personally the story was the biggest draw of the game. I was able to connect to Sazh in a way most gamers weren’t able to. Sazh was trying to protect his son. He is a father. I am a father myself and I could understand his motivation. I could also understand the rest of the characters as well. Something most gamers could not do. Apparently that made me an idiot. Don’t know about anyone else, but if being an idiot allows me to enjoy a game, I’m not about to argue about it.
I spent over 200 hours playing Skyrim, encountering only minor bugs during the game, most of it coming after hitting 100 hours and 12 MB in file size. I know others have had severe problems much earlier in their game play. I enjoyed the game enough that I played through those minor bugs and felt that my time was well used. Would I have accepted the minor frame rate issues in a game I didn’t care for quite as much? To be honest I probably would have been complaining about it. However, I’d also be complaining about other aspects of the game in tandem with that issue.
Many PS3 gamers have mentioned severe problems with Bethesda’s games this generation: Oblivion, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas and Skyrim. At the same time I’ve seen Xbox & PC gamers sneer in derision at PS3 owners complaining of these issues, saying “that’s what you get for having the ‘inferior’ system”. I’ve never been fond of fanatics.
I own both the 360 and the PS3, but I prefer my PS3. Regardless of the system you play on, you expect to be able to play whatever game you’re interested, without feeling like a 3rd class citizen. You don’t want to be in the middle of something only to have the game lock up, to see dragons fly backwards, be unable to put gear on mannequins & not have the gear display properly or anything else of the sort.
I can all but guarantee you that if the situation was reversed, 360 and PC owners would be raising a ruckus, demanding to be treated fairly. Yet since it’s not that way, I guess there’s no shame in feeling superior while you have the chance. After all PS3 gamers used to sneer at 360 owners when there was a high failure rate in the systems.
I know that I never cared for the protagonist and antagonist in Final Fantasy VII, yet I was still able to enjoy the story line. I know that might be hard to accomplish for many, but bear with me for a moment. Sephiroth always felt like a child throwing a tantrum than an actual villain. Here was a guy who found out he was a genetic experiment (I know that's a very loose explanation) but instead of taking down the ones responsible, he felt it was better to simply kill everyone on the planet. Cloud felt like a jerk to me. I know there was a lot to his background that made him the way he was, but it didn't change how I felt about him.
During the first half of the game I thought that ultimately I'd be going after Shinra Corp. These were the bad guys who were responsible for the genetic experiments, who were draining the life from the planet, and simply didn't care about anything beyond profit. After all they destroyed a section of the city and blamed others for it without blinking an eye. It was my hope that Shinra would eventually be held accountable for their crimes throughout the game. I think they got off too lightly.
Final Fantasy VII also had chocobo breeding and racing. I spent a lot of hours doing this mini "quest" just to get the gold chocobo so that I could get all of the summons. I enjoyed it. So even though I didn't like the main 2 characters in Final Fantasy VII, I was still able to enjoy the game. It's not one of my favorites though.
Ultimately I tend to overlook a lot of things that other gamers are quick to condemn. Perhaps it comes from gaming for 30 years. Graphics tend to be one of the biggest things I notice people complaining about. I’ve seen people condemn graphics for being “outdated” on the current systems. I remember a poster who would often criticize the graphics in Final Fantasy XIII, months before it was even released in Japan. Personally I found it to be a very beautiful game. When you’ve played games with square dots, it takes a lot for me to say a game is ugly. Even in games that I don’t find to be visually appealing to me, they still have some value to them. Different styles will appeal to different people.
I overlook voice acting in games because there are so many people in real life who annoy me that when it comes to a video game, it takes a lot to annoy me. I am not the best judge of music or soundtracks in games because often I don’t play with the sound up very often. I also spent years playing games whose music was nothing more than beeps, bloops and small explosions. Comparatively speaking everything sounds good today. That doesn’t mean I don’t take the time to listen to the soundtrack at all, I do, it’s just not a vital portion of my gaming experience, except in the Final Fantasy series (even in the games I didn’t like in the franchise, the music was always beautiful.)
I could easily go on and on about things that I've experienced over the years that show the rose colored hypocrisy I've encountered, such as Eastern RPG versus Western RPG fights I've been dumb enough to get involved in. Or what games sucked.
As I’ve stated before, I am as guilty of looking through “rose colored glasses” just as much as the next guy. I’m just more likely to admit to it. I’m only human after all.