More video games exist than can be played in a lifetime, so every gamer has to choose what is most enjoyable to play. The big question is how to make this decision. Here are some of the things I consider when selecting what games to play, and I hope you might find them helpful, too.
1. The Series: I’m a huge Mario fan, and chances are I will race to pick up the latest release featuring the famous plumber. Whether or not the game-play lives up to past iterations is almost inconsequential compared to the nostalgic feeling I experience from playing a favorite series.
2. The Console: I am much more likely to try a new game if it is released on a handheld rather than a home console. For me, portability is key. Other gamers I know will only play on the PC, because they feel more comfortable with a mouse than a controller.
3. The Genre: I consider this the most important factor in selecting my next game. I prefer platformers, RPGs, and puzzle games over action-adventures and first-person shooters and this definitely impacts my decision. And it’s hard to convince me to play a game from a genre I don’t typically like.
4. Shelf Scouring: Sometimes I pick up what looks good based either on a cover image or font. This is especially the case if I see a certain style of animation or graphics I like. I recently discovered Jewel Master: Cradle of Athena, which caught my attention not only because of the lovely artwork, but also due to my passion for Greek mythology.
5. Word of Mouth: My friends and I love giving one another game recommendations and chatting about our current obsessions. I first tried Dead or Alive based on a friend’s rave reviews, and now it’s my favorite fighting series.
6. Official Reviews: If I’m really unsure about a particular game, I turn to my favorite reviewers. Various magazines and online sites offer in-depth critiques of individual games, often before they’re released to the public. Common review topics include game-play, graphics, music, and an overall score. I’m a fan of IGN.
7. Surprises: Of course, exceptions exist for every rule. I never thought real-time strategy games held any attraction for me, but then I received Age of Empires as a gift and became immediately hooked. Portal drew in several of my friends without warning even though they disliked first-person shooters. The Dragon Age series is known for luring non-RPG players into its grasp.
How do you choose your video games? Do you have favorite review sites, or do you stick to a certain genre or console? Do you just play what looks good? Share your stories with us!