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I’ve written before about how an otherwise unassuming title has made videogaming a lot more palatable to me as I get older, but my recent gaming habits have kind of expanded upon that post. It’s made me consider my love of gaming cheese, and recently I’ve embraced the idea of “triple B gaming”: games that are otherwise called garbage that still hold a place in my heart.

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“Straight Line Driving: The Video Game” holds more appeal than any Call of Duty.

To be fair, practically any game out there has merit or worth. As much eye-rolling as the ads for and the idea of Mobile Strike can be, there’s still lots of people who love it, and that makes Mobile Strike no less of a game and its fans no less gamers.

There are many examples of how this affects my own gaming tastes. Lots of my favorite NES games are titles that are considered “bad” in some way. And really, if I’m honest with myself, those criticisms are right. But for some reason, a lot of those games are still fun to me because I was able to power through the “misery” of their faults.

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Which could be a case for saying I’m easily amus–OMG SURFING GORILLA!

Beyond even my formative NES years, my gaming loves have been of the lesser tier variety. I actually enjoyed the Castlevania 64 games. Both of them. The recent SimCity game has some great things about it. Dragon Age 2 was a miserable game to play, but the story was so well-realized that I was motivated to push through to see the ending.

Even games out now that are widely considered mediocre at best are getting my interest. For all of the stumbling that No Man’s Sky has had, I am still not really annoyed by the game overall, and am even happier to see that the developers have started to repair that bridge with new content. And even despite all the coals Hello Games has been raked over, deserved or not, No Man’s Sky still has fans and I can see why.

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If nothing else, No Man’s Sky is an abject lesson in failed PR, not a failed game.

Another fantastic example is Final Fantasy XV. A game that proudly declared right at the moment of loading that it’s a Final Fantasy for fans and first-timers. While I’ve got a lot of quibbles about that (which I’ll probably expand in a separate post), I still am glad I bought it and beat it. I’m never gonna play the thing again, but I’m not angry at Squeenix or myself over the whole matter.

A lot of this sounds like rationalizing bad purchase choices, and you’re not wrong. But I’m not trying to convince myself or anyone else that I made a mistake so much as explaining that video games can be beloved even if they’re not blockbuster mega-franchises or hits that blow your hair back like 80’s game ads always said they would. Any video game has the potential to be loved and even build a fanbase provided you’re open-minded enough.

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There are much worse things in life than an RPG that’s lost sight of its roots, and things to love in spite of that opinion.

So what does that mean for my MMO gaming life? Probably about the same it always has, really. I’ve played World of Warcraft for a good while, but it still has never captured me to the depth of City of Heroes or even WildStar, and the column I’m writing about free-to-play games has expanded my horizons even more to games that would probably fly beneath so many radars because Blizzard or Square didn’t make them. Hell, even game styles I never thought I’d enjoy have given me far more delight than whatever game had the largest booth at PAX or E3.

I guess the message I’m trying to get across is to keep your options open. Consider new things in your gaming diet and try not to parrot a greater hive mind of digital opinion. Because you never really know what kinds of gems you’ll miss out on if you let popular opinion command your tastes.

…and that goes the other way too, by the way; just because you love “lesser” games doesn’t make you a connoisseur. Don’t be a pedantic dick, y’all.

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