Editorial: Let the Games Flourish

That's not to say he's the only one dressed inexplicably. I think Tidus is wearing a chimney guard on one arm.

Auron’s inexplicable outfit and seemingly anachronistic shades await my return to Final Fantasy X.

Great readers of Lcom, I am back from a prolonged absence. I would make the joke about no one noticing this but I did so last time I stepped away from the site and it would be awfully gauche of me to make the same joke twice. At any rate, I have returned to discuss something of continued importance to me regarding my gaming pastime. I come to grips with this issue whenever I finish a game and begin to look for my next selection. Do I dive into a new experience or do I relive an old one? Across the wide internet I have heard many harsh words of late about spending time on old games when so many new ones await unplayed. And though I understand this sentiment as well as give in to it often enough, I do not wholly subscribe to it.

Of late I have come to call replaying my favorite games as “letting the game flourish”. This overly flowery term owes its existence to an odd connection I made with a Youtube video featuring a man writing the word “Flourishing” in an ornate copperplate script. It takes him seven minutes to write this one word. In the end it does not say anything more than that singular word, but saying more was not the point. Playing an old game and enjoying all the aspects of it that I am familiar with or to gain a deeper appreciation of it by experiencing the details I may have missed does not strike me as wasted time better spent on completely new experiences. Take, for example, our latest playthrough of the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster. I am willing to bet most of the readership and staff have already played at least one of these games. I have only played FFX and will get a chance to play X-2 with this purchase and so it will have the unique quality of being both a replay and a new experience for me. In that way I find it a pretty hard purchase to argue against, despite what certain founders of this site may say about one of those games in particular.

The sentiment I voiced earlier about wasting time on old games is not an unpopular one, if anything the notion is growing in popularity. In a gaming world where people beat a game then immediately sell it back to Gamestop or some equivalent, the idea and the importance of replay value would seem to be diminishing. Admittedly I have fallen prey to the idea that I do not have the time to experience some games more than once. This has unfortunately kept me from seeing the most of the games I own, with one in particular always nagging me when I look at my towering Steam games collection. Eidos’s 2011 Deus Ex: Human Revolution was a game I spent many hours on in my first playthrough. It offered a plethora of solutions for completing a mission, many optional quests, many divergent upgrade paths and gameplay styles were present in this RPG accentuated stealth-action game. But I only played it once, as the obligatory stealthy assassin, stuck to the dialogue choices I made, for good or ill, and finished the game. But Human Revolution has much more to offer. And these three years later I still have not revisited the game. But it sits there, recently reinstalled on my PC, a white-lettered titled amongst a mass of greyed out names of games I either wish I never bought or wish I were not so burnt out on.

The boss battles could have used some work, though.

I really liked this game, especially its art direction.

So what has kept me from giving these older experiences their due? Well, Dark Souls 2, of course! Any frequent readers of my column here might notice a few games get repeated mention, and among those games are those in From Software’s Souls series. Well, recently the latest entry hit store shelves and I had to make it a day one purchase. A Souls game is one that offers a very nerve wracking challenge on the first time around, and from there the challenge shifts to be less about finding the threats and more about being efficient and error-free when cutting through them in subsequent playthroughs. I have some criticisms about the newest title in the series, but having completed it I can confidently say that it stands ably beside its brethren in the franchise. Maybe it is not the best in terms of design or challenge, but a solid entry nonetheless. And, like the other games, it offers the best of both worlds of gaming. Within awaits both a great new experience on the first time around, fraught with dangerous exploration and clever traps, as well as a strong incentive to keep refining and improving on the many runs through the same areas over and over. A game so rewarding in its initial experience and in its replayability is rare, especially today, and it is why in relatively short order I was able to sink well over one hundred hours into this beast. It proves to me, in a singular experience, the importance of both the new and the old. That charting new territory in games as well as letting the old ones flourish are of equal importance to appreciating the games I own. Now if only coming to this conclusion would help me pick what game I want to play next.

I know, I know, I have kept my adoring fans waiting much too long in my absence. Send your fan mail to– wait no. Send your COMMENTS to the comment section and let me know if you have ever contended with playing a new game versus replaying an old one. Ever felt replaying a game was a “waste of time” when new ones sit unplayed? Harken unto me in the comments!

10 comments on “Editorial: Let the Games Flourish”

  1. 1) I constantly fight with the idea of playing new games yet unplayed with playing old games that I have played many times. Usually (although not always) the old games win.

    2) Do I feel that this situation is a ‘waste of time’? In a way, although I justify it by saying that the point of the whole enterprise is to enjoy myself and have fun. If I can do this with an old game, how is that different than doing so with a new game?

  2. Is easy in my case to get back to play some old and not so old games when the new ones just don’t appeal to me (I praise the gods for NIS america). Yes! Mel is back :D

  3. Aw thanks! Everyone loves me! I’m the new Jahan… hmmm do I want that?

  4. The older I’ve gotten, the less time I’ve had for gaming, and the less compelled I’ve felt to try and keep up with the latest releases. Age refines tastes, and gives you the history and the eye to look at a product and determine with some (sometimes faltering) accuracy it’s ability to appeal to your gaming sensibilities.

    It just isn’t worth the stress trying to play everything you feel like you -should- be playing. S’like trying to read too many books at the same time. You gotta just pick one and see it through, savor it. Then decide what you’re in the mood for after.

    In regards to Dark Souls 2: I finished it this week, quite unexpectedly. While not a terrible game, it was not what I’d hoped, and I do feel it a much weaker offering than the first. If I were a game reviewer schmuck, I’d probably give it a 6.5 out of 10, or something like that. I played the first for two years straight. DS2 is already back on the shelf.

  5. I’m very inclined to agree with your comments about Dark Souls 2. Something about it is just less compelling, and as I’ve said before, I think that something comes down to a general polish on the game world. Running through, never mind exploring for the first time, the world of the original Dark Souls was a joy. The world was so well realized that all the backtracking wasn’t really a burden. In the same way Metroid’s or Resident Evil’s backtracking wasn’t annoying, it was a major facet of those games. In Dark Souls 2, you warp around from disjointed locales most of the time and fight a smattering of uninspired bosses.

    The biggest compliment I can give the game is its much improved capacity for co-op. With the name engraved ring you can very easily connect to a friend, which was untrue of the poor P2P setup of Dark Souls 1 and even tough for Demon’s Souls. Ah well. I cannot deny I had fun while this game lasted, but the final impression was that it was a pale imitator of the real deal.

  6. I agree with your comments completely. And this will remain another reminder to me that very rarely does lightning strike twice where gaming is concerned.

  7. I am starting late (today, in fact), but I must do so with my old PS2 copy since I haven’t the money right now to spend on games.

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