Perspective truly is a sneaky snake. It has the ability to skew how we take in and interpret the world around us. From our friendships to prospective lovers, nothing is safe, including video games. In fact, the world of pixelated enjoyment is an entire segmented niche unto itself, filled beyond the brim with passionate reviewers, speculators, fanboys/girls, unpopular opinion holders, and of course, trolls.
Further, the latter have currently set their sights on Jim Sterling’s recent 7/10 review score for Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, even going so far as DDOSing his site, but it got me wondering: how did he interpret the game beyond what his review actually said? Can unpopular opinions really exist online anymore? Is it possible that it simply wasn’t his cup of tea?
As for myself, I’m currently embroiled in an aggressive video/streaming campaign entitled Project SOS, where I’m attempting to retrieve all of the possible endings for each of the four characters in Human Entertainment’s little-known disaster adventure. Chockful of varying dialogue between playable characters and survivors, along with the various requirements to achieve said endings, is endlessly fascinating to me. Upon perusal of GameFAQs sadly sparse review page, I find that I’m not alone in my glowing review of this game, but it does make me wonder why it’s so obscure, and why some simply don’t feel the same hype I do. Though there may not be very many other fans out there, it does remind me that I’m not alone.
Our very own Aggro Sky went through a similar, albeit way more toxic, phase with the release of No Man’s Sky. Despite the ever-growing hatred that this game received in countless review boards and forums, The Captain of the S.S. Gaming Rebellion had no bones about sharing his love for No Man’s Sky to his over 20.5k Twitter followers, and why should he? The man was in absolute rapture, the raw emotion pouring from his Tweets was real, and I couldn’t have been more happy for him that he found a game that he truly enjoys! So what did he get in return? An absolute tidal wave of hate from incensed manbabies who didn’t agree with him! God, 2016, you really DID suck…
Despite our vast difference in opinion regarding graphics and gameplay, I was immediately reminded of our shared kinship regarding our eclectic tastes in games, and why we feel the way that we do. I love SOS for its innovation, ambience, and depth, and I feel that Aggro Sky enjoys No Man’s Sky for similar reasons. Knowing the man for over three years, I had a feeling that he’d absolutely fall in love with No Man’s Sky, and it’s a pity that a large chunk of the community decided to piss all over his head for it.
Though nowhere near as extreme, I’m dealing with a lower-key version of that myself with Project SOS, where some may be getting tired of me streaming it all the time, or confused as to why I’d be so enamored with an obscure SNES title. Truth of the matter, boys and girls, is that when we love something, it doesn’t have to make sense to anybody else…just us. You can throw all the vitriol you want at the so-called antagonist of your sensibilities, but do you really think shitting on their heads all day is going to change their mind? Have you ever walked away from a baseless, negative interaction online and thought to yourself “You know? They’re right! FUCK MY FEELINGS! God, I was a jackass, eh?”. I didn’t think so…
Of course, we can’t expect our online interactions to always go smoothly. At the end of the day, there’s only so much you can cram into a 140-character limit or a Facebook post, and not everyone is going to like what you post. Finding your niche in the online world can feel a lot like pinball with a broken tilt at times, and the margin of error only increases along with your follower count. Throw in the fact that some people may simply be playing a character online, and the whole thing gets even more bizarro. It’s almost as if human beings are complex creatures that can’t be readily figured out somehow.
So why do I like SOS so much? Simple. I’m a long-time fan of the 1972 disaster flick The Poseidon Adventure, and when I read a blurb in Nintendo Power about a game where you had to escape a capsized ship, I had to have it. I even endured untold verbal abuse from a bunch of dude bro football players as a member of the chain gang in order to save up the $20 I needed to buy the cart, and after two months of straight bullshit, SOS was finally mine. Unfortunately, countless moves after graduation saw the cart slip through the cracks, forever lost to time. Were it not for my best IRL friend, I wouldn’t even be able to afford a copy today, as it’s currently going for $60 average for a loose copy without the case or manual (even the manual is going for over $50).
For me, the charm in SOS lies in its very code:
- Multiple branching paths you can take to get to the exit,
- the differing interactions between certain playable characters and other survivors,
- the requirements for each one to rescue certain survivors,
- and the overall sense of doom and death that surrounds you at all times.
And not the mention the fact that each playthrough lasts less than an hour! Perfect for my sometimes waning attention span, which is typically on par with a drunken flea. And all of this is wrapped up in beautifully detailed 16-bit graphics and a gripping soundtrack.
But do others share my hype? Definitely not, and that’s fine with me. Long ago, I embraced the fact that not everyone else will see the same things I do in exactly the same way. Where I feel and hear death and disaster all around me, others simply don’t see the point in it. Just like the other games of old, SOS doesn’t hold your hand or provide a splashy tutorial telling you how to play the game; you simply have to figure it out for yourself.
I may be one of only a handful of people who have put considerable time into it, and it shows whenever one of my online buddies tries it out for the first time. The game doesn’t tell you that you have to hold down the shoulder button after the arrow turns red in order to get the survivors to follow you automatically, nor does it warn you that a long fall will kill them when it simply knocks your character out for five minutes. Even worse, the map is little help in navigating the way to the exit, given the broken capsized environment and all, and that’s even if you have a map to begin with!
Yeah, I sucked my first few times playing SOS, but that is part of its appeal for me. You never really know which way the ship is going to tilt, or if the AI will see your fellow survivors careening down a long drop one by one, with only their death screams and terrible thuds meeting your ears. Throw in random nature of humanity, and you have yourself a thrilling roller coaster of a SNES game if you have the patience to learn its quirks. I would recommend this game to anyone who enjoys the complexities of humanity when thrusted into a disaster situation, but warn my fellow gamers with a more fragile constitution to stay away.
If it hasn’t been made abundantly clear, I’ll make it so now: I don’t give a shit if you hate me for liking what I like and you’ll never be able to convince me otherwise. Hell, I even went to Konami’s defense despite community outcry, and even got roasted a time or two over on N4G. Regardless, no matter how hard some of these trolls may come at me, I will not change my mind simply because they want me to. I feel you, unpopular opinion holders, and I urge you to continue sharing your love for whatever floats your boat. You’ll always have my utmost respect.
As for me, I know who I am, and regardless of how loud the haters may punch up their volume, I know that I’m not alone, though it may feel that way sometimes when would-be supporters are drowned out by vocal detractors. Broken pinball table, indeed.
All I’m saying is that if us nichers simply put our balls together, anything is possible. Oh wait, that came out wrong…Lumpz the Clown OUT!