Once again my search to find a new video game that I want to play has ended in failure. There is nothing out there that interests me. I’ve heard good things about the last Batman game but I have almost no interest in playing a Batman video game. It doesn’t help that the name of the game is “Arkham Asylum” because that is one of the things I don’t like about Batman comic books.

Arkham Asylum is the place in Gotham City that all of the crazy villains get sent. The Joker is the prime example. For some reason they never get sent to jail despite the fact that those stupid villains are forever breaking out of the asylum. It’s just too easy a story short cut for the Batman writers to resist. Want to put Batman in danger? Have him have to go to Arkham Asylum. Want to give Batman something to do? Have a bunch of villains break out of the asylum. Batman stories aren’t really known for innovation and for me Arkham Asylum symbolizes that lack of innovation.

The odd thing is that I pay no attention to whatever story is going on in a video game. I don’t care. I just want to play a game. Plus I don’t find video games a very good medium for stories. That’s probably why I can’t find a game to play. Most video games are all about the story and not much about the gameplay. At least on the consoles.

One of the things I’ve liked about my iPod touch is that the iPod/iPhone platform has reinvigorated video games. Hits like “Angry Birds” are based on gameplay rather than story. Sure there’s a little story going on but it doesn’t get in the way of the game. There are other games I’ve played on the iPod that were also fun. I haven’t played it much in a while though. I think it’s because I have iPad envy. All of the games would be much easier to play on the larger iPad but I have yet to get one of those.

The last XBox 360 game I bought was “Borderlands”. It was a best-selling game, had a ton of nice reviews, and the art style looked interesting to me so when the price came down to about $20 I decided to buy it and give it a try. I knew I was in trouble right away. As I came to the screen where I had to choose one of three characters to play I couldn’t decide which one to pick. All three of them seemed stupid and not the least bit interesting. I think I stared at those characters for ten minutes before I picked one. I was disappointed right then. After that I played the game for an hour or two and never touched it again. That’s pretty much been my XBox 360 experience for a few years now. Of course part of my problem is that none of my friends play video games anymore. Not online or in person. That’s they way things are when you’re forty-something.

I’ve notice a generational change when it comes to online video games. I’ve had XBox Live on and off over the years but I’ve only used it to play games with friends. Playing online with a bunch of strangers is an odd idea to me. Video games are social so I want to play with my buddies. I’ve seen younger players, teenagers or so, jump right online and start playing with whoever. They don’t even think about it. It’s not even particularly social because they weren’t talking to the strangers over the headset as I would with my buddies. They were playing as if the other opponents were the computer. There was nothing odd about that to the generation who has always had online gaming.

I’ve mentioned before that last year I bought the latest version of Street Fighter. It was pretty much a nostalgia purchase because I don’t play fighting games much anymore. They’re boring to play against the computer all the time. That Street Fighter game is still sitting on my shelf in shrink wrap. Since October 20, 2010. Yep, it was such a nostalgia purchase that I haven’t even bothered to open it. It’s a good thing it was cheap because otherwise I’d feel ripped off. Every now and then I pick it up and look at it. How is that for a weird way to play a video game?

This week I ended up deciding to play “Halo: Reach” again. I bought that one when it came out back in September 2010 and have played it through a couple of times. The Halo games seem to be the ones that I like the best and can always go back to. But this time I got the idea to look for some sort of Halo guide. There are lots of online walkthroughs for Halo and I’ve consulted them every now and again but if I’m going to play along to a guide, so that I don’t miss anything, then I prefer a book. It’s easier than having to be on the computer and playing Halo at the same time.

I figured there would be some print material on Halo and sure enough there was. I usually have no interest in buying play guides/walkthroughs to go with my video games because I want to play the game and not have a read-along adventure but this time I wanted to see if I missed anything interesting. That and because the game wasn’t a new one I was pretty sure I could find a cheap walkthrough book. And I did. I managed to find a used big old hardcover Halo guide that originally went for $35 on Amazon for $10. That was my kind of price and it was cheaper than getting some new video game that I have no faith that I’d like. The book is neat too. A lot of art work and a lot of maps and info. So far I’ve spent more time looking through the book than playing the game but that’s okay. I like books.

I’d like to play some video game football again one of these days but there isn’t a football game I’m interested in. Madden football is the only game in town with the NFL license and I haven’t liked that one in years. There is only one other football video game (it doesn’t have the NFL license) and that is “Backbreaker Football”. I’ve demoed that one and it didn’t hold my interest. I think my days of liking video game football games are long over but I hold out hope. They’ll get one right someday just by coincidence. Until then I’ll play some Halo.


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