What’s a type of game you’ve always been curious about, but have never gotten around to learning? A listener asked that question of hosts Paul and Cam, as well as guest and Fanbyte EIC Danielle Riendeau on this week’s episode of The Optional podcast.
For Danielle and Cam, the answer was roleplaying games — in the sense of old-fashioned, tabletop or live-action roleplay. There’s been a big boom in interest in tabletop RPGs over the past few years, in part owing to the massive success of actual play podcasts. But they’re still an intimidating prospect, for a couple of reasons. First, there’s the awkwardness of committing to the bit — essentially playing pretend for grownups. Second, the complexity of a game’s rules can be daunting, especially for players used to digital games in which players don’t really have to worry about them.
Paul, meanwhile, expressed his interest in — and hesitation to get into — live service games. Games like Final Fantasy XIV, Destiny, and Warframe can all be a ton of fun to play with friends, but they can also become kind of a time suck and even a kind of unpaid second job for some players. Having played Destiny 2 and Warframe both for a couple of years, I don’t blame anyone who’s reluctant to get into them. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had great experiences with each, but looking at my time spent playing Destiny makes me kind of nauseous sometimes.
There are plenty of genres of games I’ve never really gotten into, and many that I’d like to give a shot but haven’t really tried. Fighting games are a perennial fascination for me — I love the character designs and purity of one-on-one player interaction, but I’ve just never been able to maintain focus on one long enough to really learn the ins and outs of it. JRPGs, too, are interesting games to me for their historical origins, visual design, and genre conventions, though I haven’t played many — that said, I’m working my way through the first three Dragon Quest games on the Switch right now and enjoying them a lot.
Outside of video games, I’ve dipped into things like Chess and Go, and find the idea of becoming deeply embroiled in a centuries-old, unsolved game to be extremely compelling. Like with fighting games, though, I haven’t yet sat down and dedicated enough time to really learning how to play one of them. Plus, I’m kind of a bad loser and I’d definitely need to work that out of my system.
You can hear more of this discussion in episode 220 of The Optional, Podium Finish, in the player below — or find it in your favorite podcast app. Let me know what kind of games you’ve always wanted to give a shot but never have in the comments, and maybe we’ll all motivate each other to try something new.