It started when I reformatted my drive and started using Linux exclusively and gave up TV about 10 years ago. Up until then, I used to buy games and had game consoles around. I last remember playing Metal Gear Solid like a man obsessed and getting a sound beating or two playing Starcraft online.
On Linux, there were plenty of games - GNU Chess, Same Gnome and so forth. There was no buying any games for Linux at that time, so I learned to like these games a lot. I imagine people must have had a similar experience with Microsoft's Solitaire.
When I got married, my wife needed a Windows machine to access work applications, so we had a Windows machine and I could purchase games again if I were inclined. But, it just didn't occur to me to buy games anymore. I found free games to be more interesting in some respects because they didn't have money for graphics, so they focused more on other things. This isn't knocking professionally created games. In my experience they're great, I just wasn't looking for them at this point.
I tried playing games that won The Interactive Fiction Competition because I remember playing Zork back when I was young. I couldn't get into text adventures anymore, but I think it is worth exploring.
I had played Civilization before too. So, I tried freeciv, which led to other free turn-based games like Battle for Wesnoth and even returning to older games like Nethack.
I then went on to try independent games that you had to pay a small amount for, like those made by Positech.
I also tried Second Life and similar and found them to be glorified IRC chat rooms.
I'm getting into this history because I think it raises an interesting question. Why would anyone buy Halo III when they have never played the the first one? Particularly, if someone can buy the earlier editions for a fraction of their original cost now, and they would likely enjoy them as much as most people did the first time they played them, why not start there?
You may not be as extreme an example as I am, but I bet there are older games, free games or low-priced independent games that you have never played and would like. So, why are you buying the newest WOW expansion set (and paying the subscription fees) or HALO 3 - as soon as it comes out? Is it that you are so involved in these games? I can understand that because the one game I have purchased was Sid Meyer's Pirates - again, partially because I had played it before and liked it a lot. But, I don't want to assume that is true of everyone.
What about a new game? It's one thing to get the new Grand Theft Auto. It's another to get a totally new game. How do you decide to go with something just released - rather than buy something older that you haven't played before? Is it about having the newest and greatest in graphical features? What's the appeal?
Maybe you are such a hard core gamer that you've played most new games. But given the amount of time they require - is this really so? Maybe it is playing with friends, a la Quake. Maybe it's checking the review on Gamespot or Slashdot. Since I don't play them, I don't know. So was wondering if someone can offer a clue.
I guess part of my question is that I am looking at new things to try. I know there are a lot of good games out there that I haven't played. So, why would I be interested in these new models of game production or even new games? What do you suggest? What games do you think everyone should know? Is there a great game out there that you think most gamers have missed?
For example, I remember reading about one game in Slashdot where you are a pencil or something and you role around and things stick to you - something from Japan. I've also heard someone that taught for a year teaching English in Japan about a game where you try to run a bullet train on schedule. I suppose this also brings up the question of games from outside the U.S. and the English speaking world that don't necessarily require an understanding of the original language.
Anyway, this article just started me thinking, and I was hoping someone who understands it would be interested in explaining one of these points. Thanks in advance, if you do!