1-10 Gaming Timeline: From RPG to Roguelike

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about how the types of games has evolved over time.

In my youth it was all about platformers: Super Mario Bros. and Mega Man 2. Throw in a little sides-crolling beat-em up: Double Dragon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time. Fighting games were also something I enjoyed playing (though was not very good at): Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter II.

Then there nothing for a long time. I just didn’t game for so many years because I lacked the gaming PC and/or consoles to play said games. I jumped from NES and Sega Genesis to Xbox 360 and Nintendo 3DS. Quite a leap.

In my mid to late 20s, I was all about (Tactical and non) RPGs: Advanced Wars, Fire Emblem, Dragon Quest, Monster Hunter, Final Fantasy Tactics, etc. I played primarily on handhelds: Sony Vita, Nintendo DS/3DS.

I dabbled in some MMORPGs as well and ventured into World of Warcraft & Everquest. It didn’t last long, I grew kind of bored and paying for a subscription was hurting my wallet.

I built a dedicated gaming PC about 5 years ago and I fell hard into immersive sims: Dishonored, Bioshock, Prey, Deus Ex, Tomb Raider. I also discovered 4x games like Civilization, Endless Legend. Other grand strategy games like Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis also consumed my life for a while.

And this is where my gaming life sort of fractured and took a hard turn.

It coincides with that part of my adulthood where I’ve had to focus on my career and my personal life a bit more. Dating, marriage, work, those “grown-up” things that people do, it pulled me away from so much of gaming. I just don’t have time for 80-120 hour RPG sims. I wish I did because I still love these types of games. I just don’t have time.

The Nintendo Switch has been a godsend in this way. Having the ability to play a game on the go and to just stop and start on my terms has allowed me to still be an adult and game. And yet, even though I have the ability to take games like Skyrim and Witcher III to work or on vacation (no longer limited to my gaming PC), I rarely slide these cartridges into my Switch.

Instead, I’m on my 500th hour of Binding of Isaac and my 150th hour of Slay the Spire. These roguelike games are the most perfect cocktail of gameplay for my life. I can jump in and out and go through a dungeon run in about 40-60 minutes, I can also pause at any time and come right back to where I last left off, so even if I don’t have the full hour to play, I’m not in a space where I’m losing progress. The stories for these games are also minimal and don’t require so much of my attention.

I feel like I’ll be playing these games for the rest of my life. I’ve heard these types of games termed as your “forever games”. Games you will never set aside and will continue to play as long as you’re physically capable.

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