Virtual Insanities: Why Can’t We Be Friends?

My left knee is swollen to the size of a grapefruit right now. All of this is because I am quite the awesome goaltender when it comes to playing floor hockey. As a sidenote (yeah, two sentences in and already a sidenote!), I didn’t know it was called “floor hockey” until today, as we French-Canadians call it “hockey cosom”. Don’t ask me what the “cosom” part means. I never knew.

Anyway, what happened is that being the great goalie that I am, I move quickly, sometimes quicker than my teammates can follow. One of my defensemen tried to push the ball toward me to freeze it, but I was already on it. This means that he somehow stuck his stick between my pad and my knee, crunching something inside it and creating the superbly random, art-deco motif of a bruise which can now be seen on my leg.

Yet, despite all of that, I still don’t care about Halo 3.

It might seem random, but for the past few weeks, I tried to hype myself up for the game which has already been dubbed “the biggest release of the decade” – calm down, there’s still three years to go; you don’t want to burn yourself out – but I just cannot succeed.

Tried as I might, I still don’t care more for the upcoming Halo 3 than I did for the original or its sequel. This means that my excitement level is just on par with that time my father said “son, I’m going to paint the bathroom and I need some help”. I can’t help it, but the series never managed to touch me at all. I’m not saying these are all bad games; it’s just that I don’t like them. I can see the qualities, with the mind-blowing graphics and the well-executed multiplayer mode, but whenever I play the game, it bores me. I don’t have any real explanation. I guess that just like so many girls told me in high school, it’s just “not my type”.

I hope you guys can see the difference, because many people can’t. I have read a couple of forums and blogs, and if I was to believe everything I’ve seen, failing to be excited for the release of Halo 3 means that I am not a true gamer. Wow. I didn’t know that all of a sudden, my amount of love for a single series could be used as a barometer for my gaming credentials. According to these people, Halo is now to gamers what bullet wounds are to gangsta rappers. You gotta have them or you don’t have any street cred.

Why do I have to like what everybody else does in order to be accepted? I’ve read many times how some people dislike The Legend of Zelda, but you won’t see me registering on forums to write all in caps and then lecture everybody about the merits of the franchise. I know that not all gamers are like this, but this vocal minority is seriously getting on my nerves at the moment.

Wanna know something else? I don’t care much for Metroid Prime 3: Corruption either. I know that for a guy who’s supposed to be a big fan of Nintendo like myself, this could be worth capital punishment. But I don’t care. I sucked at the original Metroid when I was younger, and never managed to achieve anything in that game. I have been carrying a grudge against the series ever since.

Oh, I did try my hand at Super Metroid and both Metroid Prime and its original sequel, but I just couldn’t quite get it right either. Sometimes, you can see that a game does everything well, and that you are the one doing everything wrong. This is such a case. Maybe it’s just the part of my brain that requires logical thinking or that can process backtracking which is seriously damaged. No matter what’s the real issue, the result is that I have never been fond of Metroid games. At least two people have labelled me a Sony/Microsoft fanboy because Samus Aran’s adventures fail to tickle my gamer sense.

Castlevania is another one which I am unable to appreciate to its real value. I see the artistic merits of the franchise. There’s a real story behind it all, which is very interesting on its own. There’s also beautifully drawn characters aplenty, but despite all of this, I’m not buying. That’s weird, because I like vampire stories. I watched every Buffy episodes there is but I can’t get excited about the adventures of the Belmont family. I don’t know why, I’m just mot feeling it. Whips are not that cool anyway when someone else than Harrison Ford is handling them. Three people have suggested that I might be one of these “stupid casual gamers” that are apparently ruining their beautiful industry because of my lack of support for the war on Dracula.

Finally, the one that got me the most bad reputation is the fact that the only Mega Man game I ever cared about was Mega Man X. It’s weird. The only reason I got this game was because my neighbour was getting rid of his copy. I had played a Mega Man game before on the NES, but didn’t like it. This one was great though. I played through it many times, and it just felt as if the developers had hit all of my sweet spots with one single robots-filled romp. I then rented Mega Man X2 as soon as it came out, but the magic was gone. It didn’t feel the same, I was bored. The Blue Bomber and I do not really connect I guess.

Of course, not being that fond of Mega Man 2 is simply asking for it in many gaming communities. Calm down guys, I like the soundtrack just like everybody else. I also can see that the level design is a masterpiece in itself, but playing through it doesn’t fill me with joy the way other games do. Don’t be angry; just understand that I don’t have to like the same games as you. I don’t throw a hissy fit every time I read about someone liking Final Fantasy, and I really hate that one.

I am quite used to deal with intolerant people. In the course of my job, I’ve dealt with all kinds of assholes who tried to push their opinions on me, but somehow, my hobby seems to give me even more troubles. I thought that sports fans were stubborn and acted like pricks when it came to opinions – like Habs and Maple Leafs fans constantly arguing about which team is better – but gamers can be quite annoying too. Heaven forbids that someone doesn’t think the same way about a single title. For some people, supporting a different console is akin to a war declaration.

Someday, these people will have to step out into the real world and learn that different people have different opinions. Some people like Halo, some don’t. Am I supposed to play the game anyway? Last time I checked, video games were still a hobby. What’s a hobby good for if you’re not having fun doing it?

“If God wanted to make all people the same, he would have made only one. And I’m sure that person would have found a way to hate himself.”