Supposedly Fun Games You'll Never Play (...Out of Sentiment)


#1

2017 had a lot of good games. Supposedly, one of those good games was called Everything.

And so I have a confession. I will probably never, ever, ever play Everything. I refuse to watch more than a few more minutes of gameplay at a time. I’ve heard plenty of good things about the game, and it’s the kind of breakout experimental artsy hit that would be endearing to me. But there’s one huge problem: I cannot stand Alan Watts. Every word that comes out of his mouth fills me with an uncalled-for amount of frustration. I cannot listen to him without wincing and cringing. I cannot really explain why I have this feeling; it grew in me suddenly after a bad day. But now… I just don’t like his words.

Maybe someday, I’ll be able to get over this aversion. Maybe I can try to listen to Alan Watts’ lectures and play this game without having a compulsive revulsion. I can’t say. But for now, I do not ever intend to buy or even try to play this critically lauded game.

Do you ever find yourself refusing to play any games (or enjoying any art, for that matter) out of sentiment or spite, even if you know it’s irrational? Some games have political problems behind the scenes, or maybe an offensive element that just makes you want to avoid it entirely. (Another example: I find them interesting, and would watch a play through, but I probably won’t put down money for the new Wolfenstein games, as I, a half-Jew, do not really feel comfortable right now with their use of Holocaust imagery and Nazism.) Plenty of games have homophobia, racism, sexism, and so on ranging in levels from subtle to overt. There was a lot of discussion I saw about some of the transphobic undertones in a particular quest from Breath of the Wild, a game that quickly became one of the most beloved games of all time. Even as a transgender person, I still very much want to play it, but I can easily see why this would cause someone to steer clear of the game. Atlus has countless problems with these kinds of things, but many of us (myself included) feel an attraction to them regardless. These kinds of thing show up everywhere; they seep in through the roots of society and into the media we consume. Usually, we can chew through it, but at what point do you find yourself unable to stomach it?

And you know what? Sometimes, something just rubs you the wrong way!

Even if a game or piece of art is good or even appealing to you, what do you just not want to put your time into, for reasons thoughtful or otherwise?


#2

Shadow Complex looks rad as hell. Too bad Orson Scott Card is attached to it.


#3

Horizon: Zero Dawn looks like it’d be a lot of fun and Aloy looks like a great character.

Too bad Horizon is basically “Cultural Appropriation of Aboriginal Culture: The Game”


#4

I want to say anything by Yoko Taro but I’ll end up hate playing whatever he does next. Ken Levine I’ll likely never go near again, same for Kojima. That dude who made Ethan Carter. Honestly Atlus is pretty well on this list at this point might still do SMTV though.

In other mediums Tarantino comes to mind. I’m sure I can come up with more later


#5

I have very good and rational reasons for disliking all the things I dislike. Except for Pillars of Eternity and its apparent upcoming sequel, because while I know I’d probably have some good old-fashioned nostalgic Baldur’s Gate clone fun doing it, I still feel like Obsidian owe everyone, and definitely me personally, an apology for making not one, but two South Park games.

On the bright side, being mad about this helped me critically reexamine a lot of things in games made by the Obsidian crew that I honestly loved, like how I used to overlook Atton’s bullshit in KotOR2 and Morte’s bullshit in PS:T far more than it deserved to be overlooked, just because other things about the games were really compelling and formative to me.


#6

They did only make the first south Park game but one is enough


#7

Rayman legends and Mario + Rabbids look pretty fun but Ubisoft made them so I can’t spend money on them. I’ve been burnt too many times.
I started this policy a few years ago and it is working wonders. Friends tried to get me into For Honor and I considered lifting the ban for some fun multi-player time, but I waited it out and after a couple weeks they were over it.

It’s probably irrational to think that a giant group of studios will never make a game I’ll like, but whatever they’re banned. EA is also banned until EA Big comes back, but the ban is never actually tested because they haven’t made anything tempting lately.


#8

I haven’t bought an Activision Blizzard game since November 2009.

I was really tempted to start Life is Strange, but the whole scab prequel has put me off the whole franchise, to be honest. Like as a trade unionist, I can’t let that slide.


#9

Yeah, I have the same feelings of distaste towards Wolfenstein. I don’t see how it is really appropriate to commodify such a tragedy as a lame fps of all things. Maybe it’s due to the feeling I get that most people do not know much about WW2, and these types of games will further contribute to the infantile way people bring up ww2 (i.e., references to Hitler in every single discussion ever). I don’t think conversations about ww2 should involve how “fun” it is to kill nazis with dual machine guns, etc.
I have similar misgivings towards Battlefield 1.


#10

After BioShock Infinite I’m not particularly interested in what Ken Levine does next. All those Jew posters and not a single Jew appears in the game. Prejudice of all kinds was used as background flavor in a really inexcusable way. And the main character was a cishet white guy who was sad he willingly participated in massacring native people. Really?

It’s also turned me off playing any other BioShock title although I know 1, 2, and Minerva’s Den are supposed to be very good.


#11

I enjoyed Bioshock 1, haven’t gotten around to 2, though I heard the narrative & critique is weaker (targeting collectivism). Bioshock Infinite got me miffed because a) the gameplay isn’t good, but 2) I would actually disagree with you, because it uses the prejudices in a counteractive way. I have mixed feelings on the issue of Wounded Knee, because a big theme of that was addressing his guilt and hand in the matter. The problem is, it totally throws all of that out by midway. Literally like, halfway through the game “Oh, suddenly the oppressed revolutionaries are just as bad as those they rebel against!” (then it falls apart with poorly done time-travel stuff) It wasn’t handled well at all and they had to go on huge stretches to make them look bad and god it’s just such a milquetoast take on the issue.

Ugh sorry literally the word “Bioshock Infinite” get me foaming sometimes I don’t understand the lasting appreciation for that game


#12

I wasn’t a Kickstarter backer for A Hat In Time, but I had been looking forward to it for quite some time. I first became aware of it during its campaign, and given the shift to new console hardware and the economic uncertainty surrounding the Wii U, I wasn’t really prepared to commit to a console game from a fresh, new developer. In any case, I knew I wanted the game, but I wanted to see it launch first.

Most of you reading this are already aware of where I’m about to transition. Jontron, who voiced a minor character in the game, had quite the snafu after being called out for some of his overtly racist, misinformed tweets and political comments regarding immigration and “national identity.” Rather than apologizing or in any way acknowledging the criticisms from his fans, he doubled down, agreed to appear on a live-streamed discussion of immigration, and ostensibly did some odd 5 minutes of research to make his claims seem informed. This stream and its aftermath were the point where things really went south. Notably, Playtonic, the developers of Yooka Laylee, spoke out in disapproval of his comments and cut him from the game.

What’s insulting to me, and the reason why I will never play this game, is that the team behind A Hat In Time never rejected, commented on or even acknowledged Jontron’s blatantly hateful comments. There was immense pressure for them to make a statement, not just because of Playtonic, and not just because fans of the game expected as much - but also because internally, an artist for the game was deeply uncomfortable with his comments, too.

If there’s anything more complicated and difficult than developing and finishing a video game, I have to imagine its developing a crowd-funded video game. Given the incredible expectations on Kickstarter games and game fans’ frequently aggressive attitude towards change, I would have been considerably more forgiving of whatever circumstances or fears prevented AHiT’s developers from removing Jontron from the game. After all, it was commendable and unexpected for Playtonic to rapidly take such a firm stance against his behavior. But in not acknowledging the issue, in never even recognizing that immigrant peoples were being categorically dehumanized and dismissed, the developers of A Hat in Time became complicit in the spread of a disgusting, bigoted viewpoint. There is no possible way I could ever play such a “h*ckin cute” (their words) video game without being painfully aware of that association.


#13

I can’t play any Dishonored games (i even owned and played part of the first) and the stealth to violence is usually very my jam
Someone who ended up being very shitty and abusive later on played my copy and finished it very quickly and would rant and rave about how good it is, and now even more than a mention of it can throw me into a panic attack


#14

My first answer to this is Wario Land 4, the sequel to Wario Land 3, which is one of my favorite games ever. It took me thirteen years to finally play it because there was a sort of life-meter added into Wario Land 4, which I felt went against the spirit of what I loved in Wario Land 3. As a really unskilled kid first playing Wario Land 3, I appreciated the idea that I could get hurt and just get back up and try again, as opposed to facing death like in almost every other game I’d played up to that point. Of course, I came back to it and I still adore it, but that was my first sentimental conflict with a game I remember.

I share a lot of the conflicts with Wolfenstein: The New Colossus this year that others in this thread seem to have. I took issue with the game’s surrounding advertising and PR campaign, the antifascist messaging was a messaging I agreed with, but it was advertising nonetheless, a huge publisher appropriating the language of a resistance movement to sell copies of a video game, it didn’t sit right with me. I probably still wouldn’t have purchased it anyway, most realistic first-person shooters are a little too violent for my taste even disregarding that.


#15

Ghost Recon Wildlands. Mechanically, that game is 100% my jam. It looks like the coop Mercenaries game that I never got to play with my friends.

Thematically, I couldn’t stomach it. US spec ops illegally invading and murdering foreign nationals to enforce the War on Drugs is disgusting to me. So much that it killed any enjoyment I would have gotten out of it.


#16

So much mechanically about The Division interested me, and everyone was saying how amazing it looked.

But I couldn’t get in to a game where I spend dozens of hours just mowing down people like they were clay pigeons. Seeing people with NPC enemy kills being in the thousands just kinda broke the world for me. Even if they are fake people, inside the world of the game I still feel like a mass murderer, so I kinda just didn’t bother.

Funnily enough, the same formula but with space aliens instead of people works just fine for me.


#17

I’m with AxelAodh, Bugseye, and Bachaconne regarding military shooters and their use of real world conflicts as background dressing for yearly editions of a big budget franchise. The Battlefields and CoDs have this taint of unexamined American militarism that repels me.

However, I find myself really intrigued by the new Wolfenstein games despite never having played one (I will pick up The New Colossus when it comes to switch if the pretty is decent). The difference for me is that it seems like those games are tackling some real world issues and drilling down deeper, even if it uses an over-the-top lens to make it’s points. The jury is out on whether I think it makes interesting points, or if it makes them well, but even just engaging has my attention.

Similarly just hearing people talk about Destiny makes me feel like I’m hearing some connsumerist dystopia described. It’s a game where you go online with hundreds of thousands of other humans to mindlessly blast the same aliens in the same levels over and over again so that you can get higher numbers and a chance that a RNG pops out a cooler reskin of a gun. Hearing intelligent people make excuses for turning it into a part time job to progress because “the shooting feels so good” is a little depressing.


#18

Lightning round of developers whose games I won’t play because people at that developer, or even the developer itself, supported gamergate and, therefore, can go fuck themselves.

  • The Astronauts (The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Witchfire)
  • Warhorse Studios (Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Mafia 1&2)
  • Kupo Games (Epic Battle Fantasy, Bullet Heaven)
  • Stardock (Galactic Civlizations, Sins of a Solar Empire, Fallen Enchantress, Political Machine)
  • Odd Tales (The Last Night)
  • Huniepot (Hunniepop, Hunniecam Studio)

#19

Bought Destiny 2. Hated it. Couldn’t return it.
Stuck with a Destiny 2 disc and so, so many regrets.


#20

That’s actually pretty relateable. A similar sort of thing happened to me, and it’s the same reason I’ll never play through any Half-Life games.