Ever since I read about a NES strategy game called Nobunaga’s Ambition in a Nintendo Power as a kid, I have never had a desire to play the series. It just looked totally un-fun to me. I mean, who would ever want to play that, I thought to myself. Well apparently it’s very popular as the series is still strong to this day. But I swore I’d never buy it. Until last week, when I did. What caused me to buy a Nobunaga’s Ambition game? Well, they put Pokemon in it! Yup, Pokemon Conquest is one of the weirdest crossover games I’ve ever played. Warlords from feudal Japan paired up with Pokemon? Yeah, I had to try that. But it got me to thinking about other game genres I really don’t like, and what it would take to get me to play them. So I wrote a blog about it!
We’ll start off with strategy RPGs. I never liked chess or any game where you have to think too far ahead, so I’ve never had a desire to play SRPGs. Even when I was big into RPGs on the SNES, classics liked Ogre Battle never interested me. But since I never TRIED one, I didn’t really know if I’d like one or not.
That is, until Final Fantasy Tactics. Back in college I was such a Final Fantasy nut. The countless hours playing FF4 and FF6 in high school were still fresh on my mind. And even though I didn’t like FF7 as much, I still respected it for being different. So I would pretty much buy into anything with the Final Fantasy name on it. Sounds foolhardy now, but back then you really couldn’t blame me since Square was on such a winning streak.
But I learned my lesson with Final Fantasy Tactics. Ugh, I hated that game. The confusing text made it hard to learn how to play, and the long drawn out battles were not conducive to my college lifestyle at the time. Back then, I studied a LOT (didn’t do me any good in real life I guess), and gaming was for short, quick breaks. It’s kind of what caused me to get out of the RPG loop, and by the end of college I didn’t even CARE about FF8 (9 was another matter, but that was after I graduated). So yeah, sorry fans, but I never liked FFT and I decided I would hold off any tactics games for a long while.
Some time later, there was another strategy RPG that piqued my interest. Namco X Capcom. It featured classic characters from Namco and Capcom’s library working together. As a fan of both companies, I was totally on board to try that. But unfortunately (or maybe not), it never came to the US. But I did play a bit of an import copy over at a friend’s house, and I can kind of see why they didn’t bring it to the US. It’s just not very fun. After the draw of seeing your favorite characters wears off, battles are repetitive and boring. Even if they did have some action elements to them. However, if it was released in the US as a classic PSN download or something, I’d still probably get it out of spite.
So why did I get Pokemon Conquest? Out of curiosity mainly, but also because I like Pokemon and especially the spinoff games. It’s basically FFT with Pokemon in it. But since it is a Pokemon game, and Pokemon is generally geared toward kids, Conquest starts out pretty easy and they do an excellent job explaining the rules and basics. While some may roll their eyes at the spoonfeeding, I think it’s perfectly OK. Like I always say, kids deserve good games, too. Besides, I’m sure the game will get more complicated later on. Will I keep on playing it when that happens? Who knows? Depends on how good it is. But I’m liking it so far since it’s easier.
I’m also willing to give Pokemon Conquest a chance because I consider games to be a lot like food. When you are a kid, there may be a certain kind of food that you didn’t like, but as an adult, you may like it again. Tastes change, and that goes with games, too. So even though I didn’t like tactics games before, I’m willing to try them again later on in life. Like what I’m doing now with Pokemon Conquest.
The game does a good job of bringing in familiar Pokemon staples like items, moves, and weaknesses. In the game, warlords are paired up with a Pokemon and you do battle with them in typical strategy game fashion to conquer new kingdoms and recruit new warlords. One thing a lot of reviews haven’t said yet is the music is also really good. Kind of reminds me of the Steel Samurai theme from Phoenix Wright. You know how the regular Pokemon RPGs are kind of set in a modern day world? Well, what if there was one set in the past? How would people and Pokemon relate without all the technology? I think Conquest is a good view of what that would be like.
OK, let’s play a funny game. Tell me in the comments section what kind of Conquest Warlord you’d think I’d be like. And what kind of Pokemon do you think I’d be paired with (Snorlax is my favorite). And let me know what kind of Warlord YOU’D like to be and what Pokemon you’d want to be paired with!
So basically, game companies, if you want to encourage me to play your strategy RPGs, make them easy and put in characters that I like.
First Person Shooters
Two things I don’t like about FPS games. One, the controls are a little too complicated to my liking. I hate having to wrestle with walking, aiming, strafing, shooting, ducking, and switching weapons. Sometimes nearly all at once. I don’t see how you Call of Duty and Halo fans do it! Plus, the themes in most of these games involve fighting and wars and stuff that I’m not as interested in.
But why not make a cutesy FPS game? I only know of one. Chex Quest. It was a prize in Chex cereal back in the 90’s, and I even wrote a review of it when I was at The Dallas Morning News (I even got a lot of positive feedback for that review). In Chex Quest, you play as a living piece of cereal turned superhero as you blast lasers at cartoony slimes and such. Maybe they need to bring back Faceball 2000? Ha ha!
I can’t remember if I read this idea somewhere or if I came up with it myself, but I think it would be neat to have a Winnie the Pooh FPS. Before you start thinking I’m a horrible monster, just hear me out. Pooh, Christopher Robin, Tigger and the rest of the gang would have good-natured battles with ‘hunny squirters’ all over the 100 Acre Woods. When you got shot too much, you’d get ‘too sticky’ and a swarm of friendly bees would carry you off to another place to respawn. At the end of the round, the winner would get a pot of hunny as a reward and everyone would have a party and be happy. So what do you think of that idea for a FPS game?
There are some games I’ve enjoyed that are KIND of like FPSes. I love the Metroid Prime games, but for some reason, I really don’t consider them FPS games. Not sure why. I also like Portal, but even though it LOOKS like an FPS, it’s really just a puzzle game cleverly disguised.
Real Time Strategy
The main reason why I don’t like RTS games is you have to keep track of a bunch of things at once. Even though I CAN multitask (and do it a lot at work), I have a fairly one track mind and like to game that way. And like FPS games, RTS titles often involve war and battle themes that I’m not as interested in. But even cutesy RTS games like Fat Princess and Pikmin have too much going on at once for my liking. If they could make a cute RTS that let you do one thing at a time, then I would like it more (but then, it wouldn’t be much of a RTS game probably).
Surprisingly, Age of Empires is one RTS game that I did get into, but mostly out of necessity. Back when Age of Empires first started out, I got to tour the developers’ offices because Ensemble Studios was in Dallas at the time. From what I saw, I could tell they had a quality product on their hands. This was a long time ago, and they didn’t even have a publisher for it yet. “But we’re thinking about Microsoft,” they said. I knew that if they went with Microsoft, they’d be a winner. And as it turns out, they did! So when the games came out, my editor at the Dallas newspaper sent me all of them to review! Even though I don’t like RTS games, I have to say the Age of Empires games have a lot of quality, even if I don’t enjoy playing them myself. But I could see others really getting into them.
I’m familiar with Survival Horror quips like “Jill Sandwich” but there are two reasons why I don’t like to play them. Most Survival Horror games require you to make good use of limited items and make split-second decisions. I prefer more leisurely styled games where you don’t have to worry about running out of items or time that you can’t get again. Plus, most of these kinds of games involve zombies, and I’m just not into zombies.
There were two times that I ALMOST wanted to try a Survival Horror game. One was Dino Crisis, which was a series on the PSOne and Dreamcast. It featured dinosaurs, which are way cooler than zombies. And the main character was neat, too (strong red haired woman). The other was the Fatal Frame series, because it was about ghosts and I like ghosts. But I never got around to playing either of them. I did get the Spirit Camera 3DS game, which is a Fatal Frame spinoff, but I don’t know if that counts.
What’s a math game, you might ask? Well the one I was thinking of was the Professor Layton games. While I do like the cartoon characters and point and click gameplay, there were too many math story problems you had to solve. And I hate math! One of the nice things about being an adult is I’m not forced to do those kinds of problems like I had to in high school. So why would I want to play a game with that? The only way you are going to get me to play a Prof. Layton game now is to put a character in it I really like. Maybe, say, Phoenix Wright? Oh? They already did that? Well then, BRING THAT TO THE US ALREADY!!! I will admit that the Prof. Layton movie was really good, though.
When civilization simulators first came out, games like Populous were too confusing for me. But I really got into SimCity for the PC and SNES. But soon after, even the SimCity games got too complicated for me. If they could just make a simplistic simulation game, I’d like it more. Such as the town building sections of ActRaiser. Man that was fun. Too bad the sequel took those out.
“But wait, Cary,” you may say, “You write about fighting games all the time. How can you say you don’t like them?” Well, back in the 90’s, I hated most fighting games. Most were generally too slow and clunky and really hard. Plus they took over arcades and left little room for other kinds of games that I enjoyed playing more.
But fighting games today have added a lot of features and things to get me to want to play them. Many have super easy difficulty selections, so even I can enjoy them without getting frustrated. Others have fun extra features, like the character creation modes in Soul Calibur games. And some have lots of characters I like and easy to understand play control, like the Super Smash Bros. games. So fighters are definitely one genre of games that I’ve grown to appreciate more over time.
But you still won’t get to me play the super gory fighters like Mortal Kombat, or the really hard ones like Virtua Fighter. Even though both of them do have some cool characters.
You know, I’m not even going to try and think of what it would take to make me play one of those. You can, though. Go ahead and put what you think would get me to play a dating sim. That should be a fun read. As for me, my brain doesn’t need to wander into that kind of territory. I did play an RPG on the PSOne called Thousand Arms that had a dating mini-game that you had to play to make your sword stronger. Oh, that didn’t sound quite right.
And with that, I think I’ll just stop right there. In the comments section, let me know if there are any games in these genres that you think I’d like. And let me know what game genres you don’t like and what it would take for you to try them! Next time on my blog, we’ll do my “Cary’s Best Video Games of the Year SO FAR” Awards Show! Later! –Cary