Where’s The Fun In That?

The recent release of the Harley’s Revenge DLC for Arkham City reminded me to finish this article. By the way, I heard that the add-on is a bit overpriced for the content. Anyway, some time back I was cruising the downloadable content for Arkham City. What I found… disturbed me. In addition to the skins pack and challenge map packs, I saw options where you could pay to have all the riddles solved in each of the city districts. Immediately, I found myself trying to imagine who would be tempted by such an option. I mean, there’s obviously a demand for such shortcuts.

All I could think after making this discovery was “Where’s the fun in that?” The whole point of the Riddler trophies and riddles is to be delightfully aggravated by the challenge. For some of them anyway. As for me, I tend to be a bit compulsive about such game elements and strive to complete them all on my own. Even still, why would someone pay for something you could easily find on the internet.  Another fairly recent example of this method to opt out of playing the game yourself is the number of shortcut bundles in Battlefield 3, which allow you to unlock weapons or gadgets that you would eventually unlock on your own, simply by playing the game.  These nonsensical offers to the gaming world also had me reflecting on when I heard about people who purchase saved game files for whatever reasons.  Then, of course, you have strategy guides offered nearly every time you purchase a new release at your local game store.

“Where’s the fun in that?” I ask again. What’s the point of having what many would consider the best part of playing a game spoon-fed to you with no real effort. To each his/her own and all that. Play however you want, hot rod. I’m happy you’re gaming it up. However, I think it takes away from the experience if you’re not blundering around clueless or starting from scratch.  I could start weaving in comments about how these shortcuts are a reflection of how lazy our society has become and such, but I won’t. Or did I just do that very thing?

Alas, I am strictly against any sort of helpful info or cheats on my first trek through a new game. I don’t want to know where anything is or how you manage to do this or that. I want to figure it all out myself or at least give my old thinker a vigorous workout in the attempt. Of course I get spoilers by accident sometimes by looking at Achievement lists, but I try to be careful. I prefer completing a game in the dark, so to speak, to see what I can accomplish all by my lonesome.

Some arguments against this philosophy might be that some folks aren’t all that gifted in certain gameplay scenarios. My advice to that camp is to look up what stumps you and move on. Don’t throw in the towel in the first round (“Eye of the Tiger” should start playing in your head right about now). That way, when you figure something out on your own or pull off some wondrous stunt, you’ll feel like you could be a real life detective or that you are the very definition of hand-eye coordination. The internet allows you ready access to countless tips for each and every roadblock a game can throw at you. Thanks, Al Gore! Take advantage of it if you feel the need, but don’t be excessive. By the way, the previous statement can apply to more than just gaming and the internets. That’s a free life lesson right there.

Maybe it’s the feeling of accomplishment from tackling the struggles, puzzles and fantastical feats that makes me feel this way. Even on games that are geared toward co-op, I end up doing most of it on my own before or after playing with a friend, so I have the satisfaction of conquering it myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fascist about this sort of thing. After I’ve had my fill of a game or exhausted my wits, I’ll try out the cheats or look for tips, especially in the case of nabbing certain pesky Achievements. I also have someone under my own roof that likes to exploit the money cheats on Sims games sooner rather than later. I offer her friendly hassle for it sometimes, but it’s just how she likes to play those particular games.

Burnout Paradise's 'Lazy Bastard Pack'* allowed players to unlock all the cars without taking them down (*not real name)

You see? I’m not trying to say everyone should be like me. Although, wouldn’t the world be a better…sorry, got distracted there. No, I’m not saying everyone should approach games the same way. This is simply a message of encouragement for those who are more susceptible to the temptation of cheats, shortcuts and walkthroughs. Be strong, trooper. Don’t be so quick to give in and take the easy road. In the case that you just plain suck at whatever you’re trying to do, grab a hint or two. You might find a more rewarding experience by doing it on your own.

I could keep slinging motivational dialogue your way, but I won’t. Instead I’ll pose a question about the likes of the Arkham City and Battlefield 3 shortcuts. Do we really need another way for the game companies to milk our monies?

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  1. Mike Brown says:

    Some people are cash rich and time poor. These shortcuts are for them.

  2. KingOfArcadia says:

    Some games you really could use a hand with (Dark Souls springs to mind here), and having it at your fingertips is likely a godsend just to complete it.

    Other games it’s fun to have a big giant tome stuffed full of game info to read when you aren’t playing, but wish you were (I have guides for Fallout 3 & Skyrim mostly for this reason). When someone else has the TV or Xbox, and you’re dying for your next fix, taking some time to read through those huge compendiums of knowledge can take the edge off the craving & give you some insights for when you get back to the game. Although, when I brought home the Skyrim guide and showed it to my wife she looked at it, looked at me, and said “So, are they going to give you a diploma when you graduate Skyrim?” since it was as big or bigger than some of our college textbooks.

    The only other time I use guides is when I happen to notice that there’s an achievement related to collecting something in a game I sort of like, and want to make sure I have them all prior to finishing the game. If it’s a game that I really like, and think I’ll play through again, I won’t bother in the hope that I’ll grab whatever I missed the next time.

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