We all play video games for a variety of reasons. For some of us, to relieve stress; for others, an exciting challenge. Whatever your reason, I think we can all agree that a truly great game is one that is fun to play, and keeps us coming back for more. But what helps you decide what game you want to play? Your friends? Reviews? Nostalgia?
Maybe an exciting new game just came out, and you’ve been dying to try it out. Maybe you’ve been overcome by memories of gaming past, and you need to play your favourite RPG on your favourite retro console. Maybe, out of sheer boredom and curiosity, you decide to step out of your comfort zone and try out a game from a genre you’ve never tried before.
Or maybe, just maybe, you’re like me, and you decide to play a game because of…the weather!
That’s right. For the longest time I can remember, I typically decided on what game to play, based on the weather at the time. The games were chosen from what already existed in my collection – which was about thirty NES games, eight Genesis games and a handful of Game Boy games (mostly RPGs). The peak of this maverick decision-making process was made during my teenage years, right up until my first year in high school. It started to slow down around the time I finally got a Super Nintendo, and disappeared almost completely after I got Silent Hill for the PlayStation, back in 1999.
So, here’s how it worked: When it’s snowing outside, generally around Christmas, that’s when I get the strongest urge to play certain NES games – Super Mario 3, Caveman Games, Gremlins 2, Wizards and Warriors III. This is mostly because I received these games as Christmas presents, not to mention the NES that I received during Christmas.
Right around spring – when the weather starts to consistently get warmer – that is the best time for me to play games which feature a tropical theme, such as Contra, and my favourite NES game, StarTropics. Summertime meant no school, and games that remind me of summer were always a joy to play, especially during that time.
I even have games that were a lot more fun to play when it was raining outside, even if they were frustrating as hell. Batman, for the NES, was one such game. Time of day was also an important factor in some games. For example: Ninja Gaiden was much more intense playing at night, and playing Streets of Rage 2 during the afternoon was a lot more fun than during the evening. Can’t really explain that last one – it just was.
Having said all of this, there are some games that have always been an extreme joy to play, regardless of when I play them. Zelda 2 and Final Fantasy Adventure are two such games, because the gameplay was so massive and magnificent.
When I finally got my very own Super NES, it was a golden age of video gaming for me…Super Mario World, Super Mario RPG, Secret of Evermore, Super Metroid, Final Fantasy VI – the list goes on. I didn’t even care that the weather wasn’t really affecting my gameplay experience, because it was easy for me to enjoy playing these games all the time. Every last one of those games I played were awesome.
After high school, I got into college, as well as a part-time job. I didn’t have a lot of free time to play video games, because I was also fighting depression. When I did play them, weather was no longer an issue. Maybe it was because I was getting older. Maybe it was the depression hitting me in ways I didn’t realize. Either way, I was no longer caring about the weather when I played my games, because it wasn’t enhancing my mood when I played them.
I still enjoyed playing the games I did play. The GameCube was my go-to system of the 2000s, because of the Zelda games, Metroid Prime, and the Resident Evil remake. In 2011, I bought my first XBox 360, and had a lot of fun with the games on that – Dragon Age: Origins, Arkham Asylum and Bioshock, to name a few.
And then, something interesting happened…
After watching Razorfist’s stellar review of the criminally underrated Deadly Premonition, I had to get my hands on a copy…which I did, after spending $20 on eBay, followed by a week and a half of waiting. Needless to say, it was unlike anything I ever played before. It was creepy, insane, and funny as hell. One of the features of this game was the random weather shifts. I was playing the game one day, and it started to rain, in the game. About five minutes later, it was raining outside. At that moment, I felt something I haven’t felt in years…something I thought was gone forever.
The weather enhanced the joy I felt while playing the game!
So, now that I’ve shared my story with all of you, I want to know if you’ve ever had moments when the weather (or time of day) has affected your gameplay experience, and with what game. You can leave a comment, or hit me up on Twitter, @Hiatu5. Like my last blog, Do Video Games Affect Our Dreams, I want to encourage discussion amongst my fellow gamers about subjects that we don’t normally talk about, especially when it comes to gaming.
Until next time…Have a good day, good people!
P.S.: If you want to check out the review I mentioned earlier, here it is.