Waypoint Weeklies: Habit, Routine, and Tradition in games

I am happy to announce I have finally developed a consistent weekday routine! It only took… decades… but I have one! That’s a good thing! Right?

Honestly, it’s a little bit weird to me that it took so long, considering how easily I build routines in games. Recently in playing Valheim, every morning in-game, I’d hold my torch up to the world tree and say “Good Morning World Tree!” before doing anything else that day. And every 100 days in-game, my friends and I would celebrate by sitting at a picnic table we set up in the middle of our establishment, and would eat some Queen’s Jam. I pick up all sorts of habits / routines / traditions in games. Every first city I establish in a Civ game is renamed to “Trashville”. In Mass Effect I had a specific route around my starship to talk to my crew. In Minecraft I make sure to organize my inventory in a specific manner after trips. In Hyperlight Drifter, I had specific tiles in the village I’d dash over while travelling.


So my question this week is: Do you have any habits, routines, or traditions you do in various games?

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So its extremely superstitious, but every time I reload a save after dieing I will go to great lengths to do EXACTLY what I did leading up to where I died, in the same order, just in case the game is pulling some Metal Gear shit and observing my every move. 99% of the time the game is not in fact trying to do a psyche evaluation on me but what if this one is. What if.

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Something I think most of the noita playing community shares:

There’s a mine-cart (or sometimes a wagon or skateboard) at the top of the entrance to the first “biome”. Almost everyone develops the habit of kicking it to roll it down the slope ahead of them, for luck. (This seems to happen independently, as well as memetically.)

In FPS games known for secrets, I always try “looking behind” any teleporters or other “gateways” in the map, just in case.
[This is all Quake’s fault, because one of the maps famously has a hidden power-up if you enter a particular gateway “from the wrong side”.]

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Every character is name “Blue” if the game gives me the option to pick a name. Every single one. Cloud Strife was Blue at one point. This goes back over 20 years to Pokemon Blue Version.

I have a tendency to name cities in games after lakes in Northeastern Minnesota (where I grew up). Ex: Kabetogama, Gunflint, Pokegama, Whitewater, Vermilion.

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The only thing I consistently do is give my created characters a scar on the bridge of their nose. Regardless of the character’s gender or race. I have a scar there from a car accident. At the time I didn’t think so but in retrospect it’s the coolest I’ve ever been, emerging from a wrecked car with blood dripping down my face like Squall in the opening cutscene of FFVIII. So it makes sense I want my created characters to be AT LEAST as cool as me.

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I absolutely do this in Noita as well. For me, it started as a way to always remind myself that kicking is part of my list of verbs in the game, and I should always remember I have it at my disposal.

I still frequently forget that I can kick things during runs, but I’ll always remember to kick the cart.

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A habit that I’ve recently broken: Upgrading health first!
Given an option I would always elect to add more HP to a character - preferring to play like a happy little damage sponge. Though I think it also had something to do with the fact that HP is usually a very visible stat, so it’s easy to see that number go up.

These days I’m more of a glass-cannon sort of player.

More whimsically - last year there were always certain characters (Tutu) I needed to visit and “dance” with(run around their home like a madman) anytime I loaded up AC:NH.

95% of the time I start a new game I struggle through to the first save point and then don’t play it for over 6 months before I make a belated and usually successful second or third attempt to stick with it.

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Anytime I hit the Point Of No Return, if I’m enjoying the game (say, Psychonauts 2), I immediately go out and 100% (or however much I can tolerate) it before moving on.

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Years and years ago, I spent a long night with a friend playing Lethal League. At some point, we realized that after you knocked out the enemy, you could wack their body around. At first, I feigned outrage, as if I had been epically owned.

But by the end of the night, the post-match bonk became a sign of respect. It was rude not to give your opponent a sportsman-like smack across the screen.

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When I’m ready to stop playing a game for good, I always make sure to clean up my save. That means turning in quests, tidying out the inventory, and getting my character/party back home, or at least the safest spot I can manage. It just feels better leaving a game in a neat and tidy state before it leaves my current rotation.

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Ah, I see you have my brain. Give it back.

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An entirely arbitrary one, but I like the letter O - my screen name for many years was Ophiucha, when I transed my gender I started using Orm, and whenever I play a game with a custom character, I pull up the old behindthename dot com slash names slash letter slash o and browse. It makes browsing my Skyrim character files a bit of a nightmare if you don’t follow my internal logic, as I have about a dozen with names like Ophelia, Oenone, Orvokki…

I will usually, where possible, name my character after a character from the Culture universe, going back to my first playthrough of skyrim, as i was reading ‘Inversions’ at the time and called my character Vossil.
I also kept an iron dagger on my person at all times throughout that game, to act as my knife missile.

I must have watched that FFVIII opening a hundred times. Played it on my parent’s PC and gave the cheap speakers a nice “warble”. Couldn’t help but crank the volume getting into battles as Laguna.

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I have a tradition of naming my RPG characters after the two daughters from Eugene Onegin, Tanya and Olga Larin. I started doing it when I first read that book like 12 or 13 years ago, and I just kept up with it.