I have similarly come to an interesting realization in the past few weeks: that the never-ending stream of game reviews, critiques, and commentary has numbed me. When I was a kid, I didn’t pore over all the information I could find about a game before I begged my parents to buy it. I didn’t scrutinize strategy guides to ensure I had the optimal starting experience. I just got the game and played it.
This realization came when I had a conversation with someone online about why I backed Crowfall on Kickstarter but hadn’t paid attention to the game since then. At first I thought it was because my interest had waned over the years, but in discussing it, I discovered that I may have actually been protecting something subconsciously: the thrill of exploration of something new.
See, I last truly experienced this with the release of Star Wars: Galaxies in 2003. I knew very little about that game when I started playing it, and those first few weeks were precious in how I explored the game world and mechanics and grew to understand it in my own way. My experience was not framed in the context of previews or forum discussions prior to launch. It was not constrained by ideas of “optimal builds.”
And it was the last awesome game experience I had.
That’s why I now ignore, even avoid, all reviews and commentary from others before purchasing a game. It’s also why I’m intentionally buying far fewer games than the last decade or so; I want to savor the experiences.