What is your favorite evergreen game?
An evergreen game is a game that you find yourself going back to consistently despite doing other things and playing other games in between. Usually an evergreen game holds up over the course of months or years. – Void
Sooner or later I end up coming back to Guild Wars 2, even if it’s with my tail between my legs. It’s free once you’ve paid for it. The levels are a formality. The action combat houses satisfying depth. The game’s lore and history, if you remove the particulars of the Living Story’s telling from it, catalyze my own imaginings. As much as I adore other MMOs, their stories have never moved me to tell my own tales within their worlds beyond the idle thoughts that accompany the simple act of playing the game.
If you were to put me on a desert island and tell me I could take one game with me, I can tell you without setting off your bullshit detectors that Guild Wars 2 would be it. (We’re in 2015, so our islands have internet access.)
I’ve gorged myself on the confections offered up by other MMOs whose verticality is numeric rather than environmental. Sugar rushes and the subsequent crashes are the cycles of my life. My stable of Krytan clones, on the other hand, are different flavors of the same protein shake that – taken in moderation – provides an enjoyable, healthy experience that delivers the good stuff without triggering my addictive tendencies.
The protein shake contains nuts: some chewy and delicious, some rather unpalatable, and some completely inedible. You can spit out the nuts (design flaws) you don’t like and still enjoy the shake (game). After all the unbridled, pompous criticism I’ve leveled at the game, I’m still a fan and a player – just not an experienced player.
I had previously set myself up as an implicit authority figure on the game and began talking as such because I saw myself as a fan and I had a public website. The reality is that I’ve never played through most of the content that others have lauded or lamented. I gave a prima facie account of second-hand sources.
I’m just a player; it is as such, then, that I have taken to writing about the games that I play.
Once I realized that playing a Mesmer was not my job – nor should it be – I understood what it meant to really like the game despite its shortcomings in some areas. There are many areas in which it gets things very right: fun, the dynamics of play, experimentation, the joy of exploration. Plain and simple.
You were right, Mr. Iwata. Games are about having fun.
The Alan Watts approach to meditation and presence in the world was described in a nutshell by Ken Wilber as “Be here now.” It’s a hip approach to cosmic consciousness, daddy.
Here’s my gaming spin on that: “Fun here now.” That’s a philosophy I can live by. Guild Wars 2 is, in my mind, a design template that embodies that approach to greatest effect. I’ll be playing the Beta this weekend. I don’t expect to be wowed or even surprised by anything – I just expect to have fun.