This isn’t going to be a post about which specific games are the best and which you should avoid. Things like that are entirely up to you. Instead, this is going to be about how to choose the best game for you. Hopefully this will give you some ideas on how to choose games to play and to identify the ones you don’t want to waste time on.
“E” DOESN’T NECESSARILY MEAN “ENJOYABLE”
The ESRB rating system is there to let us know about the maturity content in video games, but not how good the game is. For a good summary of the ESRB ratings, visit this blog on Surfnetkids. It also briefly goes over things I’m about to go over. It’s a good read.
Make sure when you’re checking the ESRB rating, you read the reasons for the rating. Some games aren’t as bad as the rating would initially have you believe, and some are worse. For example, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Grand Theft Auto V are both rated “M,” but Skyrim has WAY less swearing and sexual innuendos than GTAV does, and GTAV has a LOT.
Don’t undermine a game because of it’s rating either. Just because something is rated “E” and is targeted towards kids doesn’t mean that it’s poorly made and an adult might actually enjoy it too. But no rating guarantees a well-made game either. The ESRB is specifically rating for content, not game play. However, it should still be one of the first things you check before buying a game.
YOUR OPINION IS NOT THE REVIEW
Watching reviews of the game you want to get is a good way to determine if you want it or not, but always keep in mind that reviews are completely subjective to the opinion of the reviewer. A reviewer may enjoy a game, but you may not, and vice versa. For example, a reviewer I often watch really enjoyed a game I was planning on getting, and so did my friends. When I purchased the game, I really enjoyed it for all of the reasons they said I should. But I soon got bored with it, and I still haven’t played it in a while. Be wary of things like that.
One thing to definitely trust reviewers on is if they report that the game is poorly made or has game-breaking glitches, or both. When a game is like that, many reviewers will end up reporting on the same problems, so you can trust that the game is bad. So don’t buy it.
The most reliable reviews you can get will be from your friends who already have the game. Whether you end up enjoying the game or not, you will at least have someone to play it with.
APPRECIATE FREE DEMOS
Game developers often publish free demos of the game they plan to release later to introduce its gameplay and features. These demos are usually short and restrictive, but they can give you a good feel for the game. And they’re free, all you have to do is download it, and if you don’t like it, delete it. That’s all there is to it, really.
I have nothing to say about renting games. I’ve never tried these new game renting businesses. I couldn’t say if it’s worth it or not. If you want to give it a shot, here’s a link to Gamefly. Have fun.
IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, PUT IT DOWN
Too often does our curiosity get the better of us. Have you ever found yourself watching a show you didn’t like, but you didn’t stop watching it because you were genuinely curious about the ending? Don’t let that happen to you when you’re playing a game. Don’t be afraid to stop playing, just like what I did with Fire Emblem. Ideally, make that decision within the time that you are eligible to return the game and get a full refund.
With that said, be wary about downloading games instead of getting a physical copy. You cannot return a downloaded game! Be aware of that when you’re getting a PC game, since downloading has been the main way to get PC games as of late.
THE CHOICE IS YOURS
Always remember that you are in control of your time and what games you play. Find what genre you like. Experiment with some you aren’t as familiar with. Play games with friends. Whatever you do, make sure you are playing games that you like, not just what everyone else likes. Games can excite you. They can relax you. They can make you feel uncomfortable sometimes. Don’t play those ones. But most of all, make sure you’re balancing your game time with the things that are more important, like family and your religion, if you have one. Don’t make video games your top priority. Just have fun with them.
But that’s just my opinion.