Hearthstone – Or The One I Stepped Out of My Comfort Zone

Recently I’ve been far too busy being a Dad to play “proper” games. Instead I’ve been playing games on my iPad including ‘The Simpsons Tapped Out’ and ‘Plague Inc’ – while these games are good little distractions (and more importantly; can be played with one finger), they hardly contain the game play required for sustained play during those late night/early morning feeds.

That’s where our little community’s influence came into play (pardon the pun), over the year I have read and heard how much some of you guys love(d) ‘Hearthstone’ and I eventually decided to give it a go; I downloaded it and gave it a little go…

hearthstone1

…well that little go turned into several hours learning, playing and unlocking heroes. That first play through didn’t end until my iPad battery ran out and I had unlocked all the heroes in the game.

There are many reasons to explain why I took to ‘Hearthstone’ so much which include;

  1. I’d never played a trading card game before.
  2. I’ve no knowledge of the Warcraft world as I played WoW for all of 5 hours and never played the original RTS series.
  3. It’s not my type of game – so it’s all new.
  4. The multiplayer is challenging but well-balanced with good matchmaking.
  5. It looks and sounds great.
  6. It’s easy to learn but incredibly deep which makes it hard to master.

In other words, I stepped out of my comfort zone and found a new genre to play and enjoy. This is something I genuinely haven’t done since the Playstation 1 era – where I found a love for JRPGs; a love which has died due to a lack of innovation or indeed any real deviation between titles.

And it feels bloody great!

For the past few years I’ve played a lot of games and although I have played and enjoyed the vast majority of these games I have found myself enjoying ‘dead certs’ less and less and this has been caused by the fact that I’ve played games that have fallen under three of four very specific genres;

  1. Survival horror/horror
  2. First-person shooter
  3. Third-person adventure
  4. ‘indie’ titles

Even with the best will in the world, there is only so many times you can play the same game (albeit re-skinned) repeatedly without some sense of burn out. It’s a problem that has been amplified since getting my PS4! I have found myself ignoring titles I should love or getting bored of games that I’ll never finish and this occurs for a number of different reasons;

  1. I’m burned out on the series – ‘Assassins Creed: Unity’ should have been on top of my shopping list (I have bought, played and enjoyed every other entry in the series) and yet I have never been tempted into buying it. I feel like I’m done with the series and don’t feel any desire to get back into it.
  2. I’m bored of the genre – ‘Far Cry 4’ was a game that got universal praise on release (85 metascore as I write this) but it was so similar to its precursor it bored me to tears. I’m sick, sore and tired of modern FPS with their obsession with “realism” and “scale” – more than that, I’m sick of the Ubisoft formula! I tried to like Far Cry but couldn’t. And I don’t feel I’m missing out.
  3. The games are just plain average/bad – ‘The Evil Within’ was a woefully average game. It is tonally all over the place, it doesn’t know if it wants to be a horror or an action game and flicks between the two, its mechanics are shoddy and its story is a bit nonsensical. A shame, and it’s not the only game I’ve quit due to this either post-level 20 ‘Destiny’ is an average gaming experience.

A change was needed and I’m glad I decided to play’ Hearthstone’! A game that is barely a videogame, it is something that I have never tried before and it is something I could have easily missed out on through my own pig-headed ignorance.

It has brought me to a realisation about my gaming; I am a creature of habit, I crave originality in my titles yet only play the games that are safe and familiar (broadly speaking). I ignorantly ignore titles because “I don’t like that genre” and never give them a shot!

The great games that I have missed through this is terrifying!

I’ve never played a Megaman game, I’ve never sampled a Final Fantasy after 8 (and only played 7 way back when), not played a home version of Mario since ‘Sunshine’ (despite owning an unopened copy of Galaxy and Galaxy 2) nor have a played a MMO after Ultima Online!

There are some games I’ve never played that could be considered gamer treason.

Well no more! I made a promise to myself to try new genres, and it is something that I have stuck by for the past two months! I have purposefully went out of my way to sample games I would otherwise miss; in no particular order here are the games I have purchased;

  1. Megaman Legacy Collection
  2. Pokemon TGC (well its FTP but you get the idea)
  3. Driveclub (which is great!)
  4. Until Dawn (borrowed from MrJohnSherry)
  5. Cities XXL
  6. Medieval II: Total War
  7. Speedrunners
  8. Inazuma Eleven

And tried countless others! My gaming palette has been diversified and I’ve never known a better gaming life and I owe it all to you guys and ‘Hearthstone’!

And although I’ll probably never play a MMO; thanks very much for the inspiration!

Have you ever had a gaming epiphany?

What game was it with?

Any games you’ve hate through familiarity?

Tell me in the comments!

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