Today I sat down, deciding I was going to play a "real" game instead of the casual ones that people put down so often. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.

First, because it's a real game and not one I can just put on my phone or pull up a browser window for, I had to re-hook up the PS3, then wait for whatever Boyrax had installing to finish up before I could even begin playing. Then I started up the game - it was Shadow of the Colossus, which I never played but always had an interest in. The PS3 went through some BS thing where it tried to convince me to update so it could save things in the cloud, and I was lucky I was paying close enough attention to stop it.

Okay, game finally started. Watching the opening cutscene. Hm, this is kind of long. I bet at least they let you play as soon as the opening is over, right? After getting bored watching the opening I finally reach the new game button, and am treated to an even longer cutscene. At this point I'm starting to wonder when I get to have fun with the game and thinking about all the other things I need to do that I set aside to play the game, or in this case watch a badly animated movie (I know, it was 2005, it wasn't their fault). I start thinking about how I can knock out all 5 lives of Candy Crush in a few minutes, amusing myself, then go back to whatever I was doing whenever I want and never have to sit through a cutscene. While thinking this, I miss one important line and then the cutscene ends, leaving me confused as to what I'm actually supposed to do. I wander the wrong way for a full 10 minutes before I realize it's a dead end and have to go back.

After a few minutes I figure out how to leave the building I started in, and jerkily guide the horse to where I assume the first colossus is. The game didn't bother to mention that moving the analog stick backwards does not make the horse back up, but instead makes it stop (I found this out after googling a walkthrough when I gave up), but to be fair I'm not sure I would have been any better at those controls with that direction either. When I reach where I think I'm supposed to be, the first step is to climb a wall of plants. I had no idea how to even climb, let alone to look for something to climb because the game had not yet mentioned climbing at all (I guess I should have figured from things in passing I heard about the game). I spend another few wasted minutes jumping aimless around the area until I'm certain the horse jerked its head towards the plant wall. Thanks horse. After an admittedly pretty fun jumping/climbing puzzle teaching you the controls, I finally run up to the first colossus.

And have no clue what to do. The only direction is "look for its weak spot with your sword", and "by the way this is how you switch weapons". This leads me to believe that I have to use my bow to fight him. I have since learned that this was not the case. After I died doing that the first time, and saw a mention of hanging onto him just before I died, I tried the second time with my sword. Died again. Managed to hit him a couple times, but died well before even 1/5 of its life was gone, over and over.

After the fifth death, I re-evaluated the time I had spent on this game. I had played for about 45 minutes. I didn't time it but I would guess ~10 of them were spent in cutscenes. About 10 minutes of it was spent trying to figure out the controls and where to go, because although I'm willing to look things up I always want to try it myself first and judge games pretty harshly on whether or not it feels necessary to google simple things just to play it. 10 minutes of that spent having actual fun, and the final 15 minutes was frustratingly dying over and over again (oh also being forced to watch a "HERE COMES THE COLOSSUS" cutscene each time) with little to no clue what to do.

Advertisement

Meanwhile, with a casual game I don't have to wait through the game creator's theatrical aspirations to get to gameplay, an added burden especially if, like older games, the graphics haven't aged well. I get to just play, which is the whole point of the game to begin with. Although I don't win every time in casual games, I don't have to worry that the reason I lost is because the game creator didn't give me vital information on how to beat a level, but because I just didn't get lucky or I wasn't smart enough or fast enough or something like that.

P.S.: I know that Shadow of the Colossus is a very good game and I'll probably come back to it at some point when I have more time and am less easily frustrated. I know it's meant as an artsy game and I have to accept that that's just how the game goes. The point I'm making is merely how much goddamn time has to be put into a session of a "real" video game and why someone who would identify as a gamer would rather pick up a casual game than spend 40 minutes frustrated or bored for 5 minutes of fun. The time is multiplied when you haven't played a "real" game in a while, thus leaving you rusty on controls and things that seem straightforward to the game creators are not to you, making the frustration portion of the game even longer.