This is something that I’ve always thought about, but I’ve never been able to put into words. I’m going to give it a shot since it comes up so often when listening to Austin and Rob on the podcast.
Most recently, Rob talked about an encounter in Battletech where he had a pilot who just hid behind the biggest rock he could find and fired endless streams of missiles every round. For at least five minutes he described this Mechwarrior’s whole backstory as a glorified tech support worker who now punches in targeting data with the same dispassion he had when fixing hyperpulse communications equipment.
Now, if there’s one thing I love about Battletech, it’s LRM spam. But for me, it’s mostly because the numbers are essentially the best. I don’t have much attachment to whoever’s firing them. In Battletech this isn’t a barrier to enjoyment, but in other games that give you less to work with, I’ve often heard stories like that one and felt that other people were just finding fun in a game that I’m somehow blind to.
Heat Signature is a good example. I loved that game, but once I got a grasp of the mechanics, it felt easy to take down just about any ship. Most of the variety at that point comes from your character’s name and one-sentence goal/backstory.
So am I alone in feeling like I’m missing out on a whole swath of fun in my games? Do you feel left out by your ability to suspend disbelief?
A bonus question: Do you ever feel like your headcanon papers over flaws in a game, not in a way that lets you enjoy it in spite of the flaws, but in a way that you don’t even notice them?