Weekend Hot Topic, part 2: Least favourite video game genre

Readers discuss the video game genres they’ve never been able to enjoy, from MMOs to waking simulators.

The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Olliephant, who asked whether there’s a particular game that put you off a genre and what it is exactly that you don’t like about it.

Everyone seemed to have at least one type of game they never enjoy, although curiously some people had multiple – seemingly leaving more they avoid than those they enjoy.

Long-standing concept
I’d have to say fighting games for me. It’s not that I don’t like them exactly but they’re just so cliquey in terms of the existing audience and the games’ refusal to explain anything to you. GC always points out in their reviews how they never have proper tutorials and even the tiny few that do seem to have this air of assumption that you know what’s going on and are already a fan.

I’d like to play them, but I don’t know how and if the game can’t be bothered to tell me then I can’t be bothered to play it. Also, too many don’t have a proper single-player mode, which is even more off-putting because whenever you play online everyone’s using the same couple of characters and it gets boring real quick.

The other problem – and this I admit is not necessarily the developers’ fault – is that the whole genre hasn’t seen any meaningful innovation since Street Fighter 2 a gazillion years ago. Or Virtua Fighter if you want to be generous and say 3D games are any different. I don’t know how you’d update the concept, but it doesn’t seem as if anyone ever really tries.

Massive multiplayer overrated
I will never in a million years understand the appeal of MMOs. I kind of get the description of ‘graphical chat room’ but even that implies that the gameplay is just getting in the way of what you’re really there for. I’ve tried World Of Warcraft a couple of times and it is so painfully boring to me that it almost seemed like some sort of joke.

There’s no skill to it, it’s insanely repetitive, and the whole game is extremely ugly. I haven’t played any other MMOs but looking and reading about them it doesn’t seem to be much different there. It’s just not for me I guess, but then no-one likes everything, eh?

Similar roles
I can’t stand Japanese role-players, I don’t mind admitting it. Especially ones with turn-based combat and/or random battles. It’s probably because I don’t like anime but I don’t like the long-winded storytelling and the fact that every character is always an over-excited teenager. It doesn’t help that the games always seem to go on for 60 hours at a minimum.

The combat isn’t interesting, the stories aren’t interesting, and the characters aren’t interesting, plus the setting always seems to be some interchangeable high fantasy world that’s always exactly the same. Not that Western ones are much better (please, no more post-apocalyptic worlds!) but at least the action tends to be interesting, even if nothing else is.

Persona is the one that I’ve come the closest to enjoying, but its combat is bog standard turn-based and it’s even more long-winded than others I’ve tried.

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It’s not a genre exactly but can I say mobile games, or anything else that uses a touchscreen? Mobile games are obviously much worse though because they’re always full of microtransactions and really disgusting methods for teasing money out of people, like gacha collecting and timers. Really, everything about mobile gaming seems a disgusting perversion of the real thing, a negative image where everything that’s great about games is never allowed to happen.

I don’t know what you’d call Clash Of Clans (a strategy game?) but that kind is the absolute worse, where there’s zero strategy and everything is about how long you can last without given in to the temptation of spending more money. Disgusting.

Interactive storytelling
Walking simulators. Easily. Don’t like video games but, for some reason, want to dedicate your life to making them anyway? Then make a walking simulator! You don’t need to know anything about gameplay, because they don’t have any, but you do need to be a failed scriptwriter taking out your frustrations that you never got a book published, or film script made. Game standards are much lower though so you’ll be fine.

Also, if you can’t think up an original way to make your game work just have someone slowly walk around a house reading scraps of paper that its inhabitants have, inexplicably, left lying around the house for no reason whatsoever.

I’m not sure if Telltale games count as the same thing but they’re just as bad. Why even pretend they’re interactive if the interactive parts have no bearing on anything that happens?

Short list
To be honest, it’d be easier to list the number of genres I do enjoy, which would be first and third person adventures and open world games. I wouldn’t say I actively disliked other genres, but I very rarely play them and one I do decide to give one a try I rarely end up enjoying it.

I’m a philistine, I’m happy to admit it, but I have limited time and I prefer to spend it on games I know I’ll enjoy.

A preference against
It’s a bit of a tough one regarding genres, as there is something I like from each one really. It’s easier for me to look at it from the genres I don’t get too often, like Street Fighter style fighting games, strategy games, or games like Japanese strategy role-players and Western real-time strategy western. I have nothing against them, apart from the time and patience to learn them properly.

The problem with the above is that normal Japanese and Western strategy role-players can take up a lot of your time up. Strategy and more emphasis on tactical battles, and the positioning of characters/units etc. which are not too rich in exploration and story, are a turn off also. I would probably like them if I gave them a proper go, like Disgaea, Fire Emblem, and Valkyrie Chronicles, though the last one mentioned was very good and I enjoyed a lot.

Total War games, Age of Empires, and StarCraft do look absolutely amazing, and I love watching streamers on Twitch getting through these games. Consoles are just not really suited for this genre really. Having a tactical mind and a love for complex options are a must for these, but I don’t really have that particular type of mindset.

I liked tabletop gaming back in the day and they were pretty complex to get use too, and a load of time was spent on these after school or during the holidays. Painting the models and using them in your games was very tangible and thrilling for us all. But I did not get the same feeling playing the same type of style on the screen.

Games like Dune 2 and Command & Conquer were played very early on in my life on a PC Intel 486 computer. I enjoyed them but I did not carry on, as more instant Mario and Zelda gaming thrills took my fancy instead. So no dislike, just lacking the time and patience on my side.

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The small print
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