Sylvia and Video Games – A Future?

As I covered previously, Sylvia doesn’t have the most extensive history with video games, but the couple she’s been into, she’s been really into. With Peggle’s grip on her waning after years of play, my first thought/scheme was to have her try a new game that was different, yet similar enough that there might be a possibility of creating an ember of interest in the medium of video games. I decided that Journey was a likely candidate, but I didn’t realize how wrong I was until I booted it up and handed her the controller.

While the opening cinematic started up and you see the landscapes followed by your character standing up, Sylvia’s reaction was a cross between, “Why am I not playing yet?”, “Why is there all this sand?” and, “Wait, is there a story to this? I do not approve.” Once she was finally in control, she figured out how to move around, but had no idea where to go which frustrated her. I think that she refused to wear her glasses was a bit of a factor. When I suggested she go to the top of the hill with the little pillars, she headed that way and then said, “Why am I so slow? Why can’t I just be at the top of this hill already? Is the whole game like this?” When she finally got to the top and the title popped up, she was so mad and said, “I just walked up this hill to find out what the title of the game is? That’s stupid, I’m done.” This was all the while totally not noticing the giant mountain in the background which is the actual goal of the game.

I felt a mix of disappointment and irritation about it at the time because it took her about a minute to completely disregard the game as having any value, all the while complaining about…well everything. I very much wanted to know why in the world she was so against what I think is a fabulous game that’s been so critically acclaimed and isn’t like the standard fare out there. I told her this and her reaction was, “that’s critically acclaimed?” which started further discussion as to what in the hell kind of game she’d be interested in the first place.

It started simply enough with a request with something with bright colors and puzzle oriented. I thought, what the hell, there’s an entire section of the PlayStation Network dedicated to demos for games, so I headed that way to try and find and download some titles for her to try out. It quickly became apparent that Sylvia views things way differently than I do. She didn’t look at any screenshots of games, but only the header image that’s just a title and doesn’t necessarily represent anything about the game itself. I actually just said eff it and started downloading demos regardless of whether she showed an interest in the game or not. There are a ton of games under the puzzle genre, so I figured shotgunning a bunch of titles would have more success than carefully combing through them.

As they came in, I started installing them on the PS3 so that we could boot them up and see what she responded well to and what she didn’t care for. I figured the trial and error could not only serve a purpose in finding her a new game, but maybe I’d find something new I’d like too. The first thing she tried? Hamster Ball. About 10 seconds in, she LOVED it. If I could emphasize more I would because she reacted so strongly to it right away. So Journey, a beautiful game that I felt was so wonderful, was immediately inferior to the antics of hamsters in balls running around wacky courses? I was so hilariously befuddled that it definitely lit a fire in me to figure out exactly what in the hell kind of games Sylvia would like as it was clear that her tastes were far different than my own.

I can’t recall all of the titles we got, but as she played through the numerous demos, her simple criteria of bright colors and puzzles quickly ballooned into a number of other things she did or didn’t like, mostly didn’t like. She didn’t want motion controls which totally makes sense as they’re rarely just right. She didn’t want a story, which I can understand if you’re mostly into puzzle games (although she initially liked Stacking until it took too long to actually play the game). She didn’t like reading because she hates wearing her glasses, which doesn’t make sense to me as someone who wears glasses everyday, but whatever. It did get a little silly though. She didn’t like robot voices? Weird, but fine, although it made me want to find her a robot puzzle game just to prove her wrong. I can’t remember the entire list of criteria that Sylvia came up with, but it essentially boiled down to not a lot, try again.

Sylvia and I haven’t really had a good chance to try anything else since that night and we very likely won’t until after the wedding is over. We did get a recommendation for Kirby’s Epic Yarn, which I’m thinking might be a good idea to try as I think it mostly fits in with what Sylvia would like. I did mention Heavy Rain again and I think she’s definitely on board with trying that when we have free time again. Kind of funny considering it’s all story, but I think her no-story criteria doesn’t matter if there’s a crime/detective element to it. There were a few recommendations for websites like Armor Games and Kongregate, but I think it’d be better to find something not a computer as I know Sylvia well enough to know that she’d either get distracted or feel like she should be working on something else. How it’ll all turn out is really unknown, but I like trying and Sylvia is still open to ideas, so hopefully there’s time yet to turn her into a video game junkie.


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One Response to “Sylvia and Video Games – A Future?”

  1. John Z. Says:

    You should try Bejeweled…

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