yours, tiramisu

the types of videogames i like

I straddle a gray line between people you might call "gamers" and those you wouldn't. I didn't play very many video games growing up (Maplestory, Pokemon, and FIFA come to mind), but since the COVID-19 pandemic hit my Steam library has slowly expanded and now I spend a few hours every week playing video games. That being said, my primary gaming rig is a M1 Macbook mini, which should tell you all you need to know about the type of gamer I am.

As I sample some of the sheer variety video games have to offer, I'm starting to learn what sorts of games I like. Steam makes it fairly easily, since it tracks the number of hours you spend playing each game. A quick glance at my most-played games will tell you that best way to describe my taste in videogames is cooperative, casual, and indie.

I did not grow up with a high opinion of video games. Although I enjoyed them, my parents' constant lecturing about video games rotting brains seeped into my head until I internalized it myself. I've since struggled to shake off these beliefs, but playing Among Us and (not really "video games", I know) during the pandemic showed me that video games could be a great way to connect with friends you can't see in person. This is why I think the most important trait that games I play share is that they are cooperative. I view video games as a tool to connect with others, and even though I do own single player games, I do not enjoy them nearly as much as I do co-op ones. Not only is it more fun to discover and work with others, but I also feel less guilty about wasting my time playing video games when I play with friends.

I know casual is something of a dirty word in many enthusiast circles. MMA fans use it to refer to rubes who express uneducated opinions about the sport. But when referring to video games I find that the term refers to games with some traits I like.

Casual games are usually simpler than their more complex counterparts, so they tend to have less bugs. They typically run on multiple platforms and more smoothly on machines with lower specs. Not only do I not have to invest in a top-of-the-line gaming rig to enjoy casual games, but they're accessible for my friends on Macs too. Most importantly, they're easy to learn and not too intense, fun regardless you've played one or one hundred hours.

Being indie is the last part of the puzzle. This category is pretty fluid, but from what I've seen indie games suffer less from the profit-maximizing moves of franchises from big game studios. My most-played games, Stardew Valley and Don't Starve Together (DST), both get constant updates and bugfixes from their creators (ConcernedApe and Klei, respectively). ConcernedApe in particular is famous for interacting directly with fans on social media and patching bugs quickly. The stories in these games also are more poignant than the ones from AAA franchises. All of these reasons contribute to a more personal connection with the game.

Klei (the studio that brought us DST) does other things very well that keep me coming back to a game I'm approaching 100 hours on. DST is a very deep game with tons of things to explore. The wiki has hundreds of pages. The game also supports user-created mods, which make the game easier and more fun to play. And finally, Klei releases seasonal updates that affect gameplay (but not too much). They do two big events each year, one for Halloween and one for Christmas, that change the way the game looks and add some fun holiday mechanics.

The games that informed this post: