One of the things that can make video games such an inviting hobby to dip your toe into is that there are so many different types of games for a budding video game enthusiast to choose from. Variety is truly the spice of life, and if you’re willing to give independent games the same consideration as the big AAA releases, then there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find a genre that will tickle your fancy. Amongst my favourite types of games to play would probably be sports games and platformers, but there are also lots of others that I will happily invest some time in.
However, try as I might, there are certain types of games that just don’t do it for me. These are genres that I have tried to get on board with on more than one occasion and just haven’t been able to for a variety of reasons. I decided that for this week’s article I’d list the genres I just can’t get into and then try to both explore and explain why. I should stress that I don’t think these types of games are objectively bad or anything like that. I fully accept that there are some fantastic games that can be found within these genres, but for whatever reason, the genres themselves are just not my personal jam, so please don’t feel like I’m having a go at you if you happen to like them yourself.
I’ve never been someone who has been that in to the horror genre, regardless of the medium, and I’m afraid that extends to the video game realm as well. The easiest explanation as to why is that I’m generally a bit of wuss and don’t really enjoy being scared. I tend to avoid watching scary movies, and it doesn’t take much to unnerve me. Heck, I remember the original Scream movie put the willies up me when I saw it back in the day. That’s like going to a curry house and thinking a chicken korma is spicy!
That isn’t the sole reason why I can’t get into the survival horror genre though. Ultimately, I’m just really bad at playing them, which combined with the scary aspect that comes with them, just means I never glean any real enjoyment from playing them. Strangely, I don’t mind watching others play them though, and I actually have some fond memories of watching my friend, Jim, play Silent Hill back in the day whilst his step-brother, Martin, and I watched with our hands over our eyes in case a scary image was on the offing. Survival horror games usually combine puzzle solving with inventory management and rather difficult combat, and unfortunately, I find all of those things really unattractive in a video game. One I can handle, but when you cram them all together at once, then it becomes no longer fun for me.
Resident Evil, with its limited saves, tank controls and mere eight-item limit (six if you choose to play as Chris), is like a lethal cocktail of things that just annihilates any interest I could have in playing a game. Again though, I do kind of like watching videos of people playing the game on YouTube, so it’s not like I don’t understand the appeal or think the survival genre itself is a bust. I just don’t derive any enjoyment from actually playing the games themselves, and that’s why I’ve never been able to become a fan of the genre, at least from a gameplay perspective.
Also, speaking as someone who may perhaps have moved to a small town in the middle of nowhere that regularly gets shrouded in fog and has a pretty impressive collection of local nutters that roam the streets on occasion, I tend to find some of the survival horror tropes to be a little too familiar sometimes.
Old School Turn-Based Roleplaying Games
My dislike of RPGs comes down to one very specific part of the genre, which is turn-based combat. I’m not really a fan of grinding to build stats up either, but I can live with that most of the time in games where that is required so long as the act of grinding is at least entertaining. However, when the grinding is combined with a combat system that I don’t like, then it usually causes all enjoyment I might have for the game to be sapped away pretty darn quickly. What I dislike so much about turn-based combat is that I never really feel like I have any actual control over what is going on.
Action-based combat isn’t always done well, but success is usually based on your own reactions and timing. If you lose a fight, then it’s down to you not doing what needed to be done at the relevant moments. With turn-based combat, it really feels like success depends upon the whims of the game itself rather than my own actions as a player. Whether an attack lands is based on probability, and I just can’t shake the feeling that when I miss, it’s more because the game decided whether it was going to happen or not. I just find turn-based combat to be a really bizarre way of fighting, and as a large chunk of RPGs employ it, it means I just can’t get into the genre itself.
I’ve tried on numerous occasions too, with Final Fantasy VI being the furthest I ever persisted with one of these games due to how much I enjoyed the characters and story. I’m not denying that an RPG can be an engrossing experience, and in ones with a more action-based form of combat, like Final Fantasy XV, I’ve had good fun with them, but the traditional turn-based version of the genre will sadly continue to be one that I just can’t enjoy.
Realistic Driving Sims
I don’t think any regular reader of my work will be surprised to see this genre on the list. I quite enjoy a racing game, to be honest, but it has to be a particular type of one, namely one that favours arcade-based racing over realistic simulation. Games like Burnout have always enjoyed pride of place on my shelf over the likes of Gran Turismo, mainly because I find racing realistically to be duller than dry porridge in a gym sock. Don’t get me wrong, I think there’s certainly a place for a more realistic simulation-based racing game as car nuts can be found all over the place, and it’s perfectly reasonable for them to have something that faithfully recreates their hobby.
I just find the blood-bumping destruction found in a game like Burnout to be far more entertaining than playing a game where all the cars go at realistic speeds and don’t suffer any damage because the individual car companies are pissy about their precious vehicles looking anything less than shiny and new. Seriously though, Gran Turismo is just weird to me in that respect. What’s the point in giving us a nice flash car if we can’t smash it to bits by going too fast into a hard corner or something? That’s part of the fun!
I play racing games for escapism at the end of the day. When I drive normally, I do so at a sensible speed whilst following the laws of the road. I do this because I don’t want to cause damage to other people, myself, their cars or my car. Thus, when I get behind the wheel of a virtual vehicle, I want to be able to cut loose and tear-arse around like a whippet that hasn’t had a proper walk for a week. What I don’t want is to have to take corners realistically and see my car bump into others with nary a scratch. I want to race fast, and when I collide with another car, I want the cathartic sight of seeing shards of metal fly into the air as my car becomes gradually more dishevelled.
Video games attempting to accurately represent what happens in real life in virtual form is part of their appeal, and I often tend to prefer more simulation-based games when it comes to real sports, like football. However, when it comes to motorsports, I just want to burn rubber and have fun, which is why I’ll never be able to get on board with games like Gran Turismo. If it’s your jam, then fair enough. I certainly don’t think there shouldn’t be those types of games on the market, I’m just glad there are alternatives for people like me who don’t enjoy them.