I'll see you again in 25 years . . .

When have you tried to engage with a game (or a book, a movie, an album, a cheese sandwich) and later realized, after failing to appreciate it, that the occasion of your interacting with it was not timed correctly? I think this is a different feeling from hating something outright: you can sense traces of sweet nectar trapped inside the thing, but know you don’t have the instruments to get at it in the moment. These instruments take months or years or some kind of spiritual sea-change to procure.

An example for me is Tetris. Not because of anything unique to Tetris as a falling-block game, but because for a long time—to put a number on it, 95% of my tenure as a game player—I didn’t get the appeal of competing against myself for a high score. Recently some friends and I began competing for best times in Minesweeper, and I got really into it. At some point I realized the penny had dropped vis-à-vis the concept of high scores. Moving on from Minesweeper I gave Tetris DS a try, and that was that. All the times I had previously tried to play Tetris came rushing back as I wondered, How could I not have always enjoyed this?

I suspect I’m about to have a similar experience with SMT Strange Journey, though if I were to consider all the stuff I didn’t get just because I tried it when I was in high school I’d really be here awhile…

When were you able to sit down with one of these things again for another try? Why did you feel it the second time and not the first? Is there something which recently rubbed you wrong which might fare better in the future?

This is a very real phenomenon you‘re describing here, and one I’ve been experiencing a lot recently. Three clear examples spring to mind immediately.

1) Gran Turismo. When I was 12 years old, the original GT came out for the PlayStation, and it was getting alarmingly high review scores from trusted outlets. The consensus was: this game is incredible and must be experienced. I loved Mario Kart 64, and so assumed that I would enjoy Gran Turismo as well. But as a kid, the responsive and realistic driving physics and barrage of licensing tests were cumbersome and anti-fun. Now that I've driven actual cars, however, I totally get the appeal.

2) The popular manga ONE PIECE. Way back when it was first getting localized, a friend urged me to get into it, and so I bought the first volume. I had a fine enough time reading it, but dismissed it in favour of pursuing Serious Works of Literature and other such cultural enlightenment. Now I'm working my way through the series, and absolutely loving the creativity, storytelling hooks, balance between comedy and melodrama, and surprisingly _real_-feeling characters.

3) The works of Stephen King. As a kid, once I'd had all the Goosebumps I could stand (I read them up to volume 50, constantly holding out hope that they'd eventually get good again (they never did (they never were))), I graduated to Stephen King, because if you know anything about Stephen King, you know he is the "master of horror." As a kid, his books were too gruesome and full of adult problems for me, but I read a few and enjoyed them. Now, as an adult, I recognize that _horror_ isn't the reason to read Stephen King. Other authors are capable of much scarier and more unsettling scenarios. He is, however, a gifted (deeply problematic, to be sure, but gifted) storyteller, who is capable of capturing a certain kind of folksy New England small town, and whose cast of characters can pull the reader in like few other (better, more important) writers. Having read as much King as I have in the past 2.5 years (I'm marathoning his catalogue, in between other reading pursuits (and in addition to ONE PIECE (I read a lot))), I'm of the opinion that he is one of the most misunderstood genius-level creators alive today.

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I didn‘t “get” the Coen Brothers when I was a teenager/early 20s. I think it was entirely because I mostly watched movies like Big Lebowski, Fargo, and O Brother either at crowded house parties or on TV with commercial breaks. The first theater experience I had was True Grit, which was not particularly interesting to me, plus I don’t know if it was the theater sound mix or just the movie but it was so hard to understand what the characters were saying it took me out of the movie completely. I thought the humor and pacing was more frustrating than fun. Around 7-8 years later I watched Intolerable Cruelty and all of a sudden the Coen sense of humor clicked into place with me, and I dug deep into their filmography, it was great. I haven‘t rewatched True Grit yet, but I’m positive I would enjoy it more the second time around expecting a darker and clever comedy over a traditional western. Though, I‘m admittedly not a big fan of Buster Scruggs, so there’s a chance Coen westerns just aren't for me.

A game that I still don't think I'm ready for is _Final Fantasy VIII_, but I've carved out a lot of time over the years to try to like it. I rage quit it the first time I played it on PC in like 2003 when I was in middle school because of how leveling works differently. Maybe I was too young. Around 2011 at the end of college I got it on PS3 and slogged through it and but didn't enjoy anything about the story and characters. Maybe I was too old. I played through the 2019 remaster on switch right before the pandemic kicked off, and I think I'm slowly starting to come around to it, though it still made me groan at some of the dialogue and plot stuff (the Laguna segments especially). I think having the 4x speed makes the game much better paced, and I do like the way it has big set pieces. At its best it feels like an action movie. It's no longer my least favorite FF, but I still think it's a very below average game. I'm going to continue checking in on it every 8 years or so. because I still feel like I'm still missing something. Maybe next time it will turn around.

Now, @“captain”#p48696 my friend, if you have want to put down a cheese sandwich in the middle of eating it, you really should not let it be for 25 years, or even 25 months, or even 25 weeks, or even 25 hours.

As for myself, maybe it‘s my own stubbornness, or maybe it’s actually my sparkling perception and deep inner familiarity with my own inclinations, but I hardly if ever actually return to something if I feel I don't care for it the first time.

I thought I didn't like _Pulp Fiction_ because when I first tried to watch it I couldn't sit through it without feeling bored. But it turns out I was just sleepy, when I watched it again I was less sleepy and I liked it.

been experiencing this lately with Henry Cow. Wrote them off as goofy name frank zappa style music: that was dumb of me…

It actually took me a while to start appreciating Final Fantasy. When I was younger I was no stranger to RPGs, but only ones with Nintendo IPs! Pokemon, Mother, Paper Mario, things like this are really all I knew. For some reason, third party IPs felt somehow gross to me? I remember thinking a lot of them looked “sweaty,” whatever that may mean. I tried Final Fantasy IV on the Wii‘s virtual console and never got more than an hour or so in. This would have been around my time in middle school. Miraculously, I played and LOVED Chrono Trigger shortly after, which I think may have helped the FF’s get their foot in the door. After graduating high school I would play through FFIX on a close friend‘s recommendation and was absolutely floored. Decided it was time to go back and check out some of the other ones I missed out on (starting with IV!) and now it’s one of my favorite series! I always hear stories of people growing up on FF games and it makes me ache knowing I was so close to having that experience too…

@“Tradegood”#p48706 this is funny because i have basically the exact opposite opinion. IMO it has the most relatable and true-to-life characters in the series, but the action movie segments present as pretty hollow to me now. thinking of the midair battle hanging from the mech suit in particular.

i do think some of the dialogue gets super dense at points and sometimes there's just...too much of it. but i like the tone of the writing more than any other FF. there's an undercurrent of humor to almost every conversation

I tend to do this with music that later becomes my favorite music ever, of all time. I‘ll listen to it and go “meh” and maybe a month later see the CD sitting there and decide to give it another go and it just clicks and I’m hooked and downloading a torrent of their discography. Not really sure what goes on there.

As far as games go, the first that comes to mind is shoot-em-ups. I never got into them when I was younger. I've liked run and guns plenty, but I think that's because I've always liked platformers and run and guns are like platformers with shooty parts. Anyway, recently I've been getting into R-Type which has led me to research other shoot-em-ups and I've been digging the Thunder Force series, as well as Layer Section/Rayforce. Mostly I like horizontal shooters as opposed to vertical ones. To me, the horizontal aspect conveys a better sense of adventure, like you're on a mission, rather than a vertical shooter where you're just blasting waves of enemies. And I like how the simple gameplay of flying and shooting leaves room for developers to really go all out on effects and graphics. Still no bullet hell, though. Can't get into that.

I used to get frustrated when I'd buy a game or other media and it wouldn't click with me right away. I felt like I had wasted my money. Nowadays I feel like I'm better able to shelve it and say "Not today, my friend..." and know that there will be a time where that's exactly the game I want to play and be very grateful to my past self for getting it.

sometimes its not just time for me but mood. I was rewatching some Bebop with everyone else these days and just yawning. But I realized I was not in the mood to watch something and kinda forcing myself. I still like the show, it was just the wrong time to watch.

@“tapevulture”#p48727 I think this is part of what keeps bringing me back to FFVIII, I see the potential and I hear people who love it for all the reasons I want to love it. But in the actual process of playing it, I struggle to get past the things I dislike about it. The same thing happened with Tales of the Abyss, and I think because it‘s ’low concept‘ and demands that you invest in the character dynamics and get intrigued by the worldbuilding. Some parts of it feel very vivid and great, but the greater game falls apart when I find myself without strong positive feelings about any of the characters (except Selphie, but even then, she’s treated as an ancillary comic relief character). My most recent playthrough I was less annoyed by Squall, Zell, Quistis, and Laguna which is probably why I enjoyed the game more, Maybe distance makes the heart grow fonder.

Twin Peaks reference


Cowboy Bebop might actually be an example of this topic for me, although I have yet to get around to the watching it again part. I first saw it maybe 15 years ago and while I respected it and thought it was a well-made show at the time I didn't enjoy that much. I have the feeling that I would enjoy it a lot more if I saw it again, I should give it a go again sometime soon.

While it is a bit different from the original topic, I have sometimes bounced of a piece of media the first time, tried it a year later and ended up loving it. This includes my favorite anime of all time Legend of Galactic Heroes. The first time I only watched two episodes though, so I didn't give it much of a chance. Of course there was a part of me that thought I would enjoy the show which is why I tried watching it in the first place and picked it up again.

I‘ve had this happen to me so often that now when I don’t like a game I generally assume I‘ll just end up liking it at some point down the line, even if that’s years later. Realising time (and timing) can have such a huge impact on my enjoyment of something has helped me not only enjoy things I had previously dismissed but become more open to trying out all sorts of things - even if I don‘t like ’em now, maybe it‘ll plant a seed that’ll bloom later.

This was how I felt after playing the original Disgaea immediately after playing hundreds of hours of FFT: WotL. It seemed so terrible mechanics and plot-wise in comparison that I stopped playing before the twist. But after a year or two I went back to it (can‘t even remember why) and I realized it wasn’t right to compare it to FFT at all. And I ended up really liking it (for the story mainly, but also the Item World was an interesting concept). Then I played Disgaea 2 and although the main plot was hot garbage, the gameplay was a lot more refined and I enjoyed it for that much. Haven‘t played a Disgaea game since, in the way that I feel like you give your all to one Monster Hunter game and then get burnt out from ever touching another again. Having said that, I just finished up playing hundreds of hours of the TO: LUCT remake, and after hearing for so long that it’s superior to FFT I gotta say: For the first dozens of hours or so, I could see why people said it, but honestly now it feels like FFT was TO:LUCT with a lot of the unnecessary fat trimmed off. The order in which we play certain games is so key to what we have the capability to enjoy (sometimes).


Ah seriously? That makes more sense then, would've definitely been more enjoyable

@“whatsarobot”#p48697 Gran Turismo

joining the ic forums last year coincided with (||catalyzed||) a very sudden and real interest in non-mario kart driving games for me (despite having spent more than a few years driving a car all over the place); gran turismo always seemed hugely boring, but now somehow cool, it’s like a switch flipped in my brain. stephen king and one piece are two things i may need to return to one day

@“Tradegood”#p48706 it was so hard to understand what the characters were saying

it was not the theater sound mix, i would venture to say. i’m curious, are there parts of buster scruggs you liked more or less than the others? i like no country for old men a lot, some of the buster scruggs shorts a good amount (dislike others), and am ambivalent about true grit.

several posts here lately make me think i will need to someday sit down with final fantasy viii…

@“Gaagaagiins”#p48707 you can’t tell me you know what it’s like to eat a 25-year-old cheese sandwich

@“yeso”#p48713 wft all these albums have socks on the cover. this doesn’t sound at all like nirvana for mice

@“Funbil”#p48725 I remember thinking a lot of them looked “sweaty,” whatever that may mean.

this made me laugh a howling laugh out loud, and i know what you mean, somehow. might have to get a sweaty games thread going to see if we’re talking about the same thing. i played ffiv on the ds pretty near to when it came out (when i was a lad) but don’t know how i would have responded to it had i not at least picked up a pokémon and a mario & luigi first. i liked ffiv, but it wasn’t until chrono trigger that i felt the “my god, is this what i’ve been waiting for” neurons fire off. when i was a kid i really didn’t like the idea of playing a game where the primary engine of interaction is menus. don’t know how that changed but i’m not unhappy about it lol

@“milo”#p48731 Not really sure what goes on there.

seeing a trend here—sometimes the things you like the most are things you have to work to enjoy! also feeling grateful to my past self a lot lately for getting stuff i didn’t like at the time

@“SU2MM”#p48810 I only watched two episodes though

i guess we can debate all day about what constitutes “enough of a chance” for this or that tv show or comic series or serialized thing, but as far as i’m concerned any amount of time you spend with something is enough if you feel it’s not doing it for you. i think if i had walked away from certain things instead of forcing myself through them i might like them more than i do (struggling to think of examples at this precise moment, but i know they’re out there…). anyway now it’s something you love which is what’s important

@“Syzygy”#p48824 hmmm uh oh. now i’m gonna do some hand-wringing about whether to play the psp version or an emulated version

Idea for a thread: Syzygy's home-grown IC-certified RPG mods

@“captain”#p49043 curious, are there parts of buster scruggs you liked more or less than the others? i like no country for old men a lot, some of the buster scruggs shorts a good amount (dislike others), and am ambivalent about true grit.

I loved the Tom Waits story, and was overall mostly positive toward the Tim Blake Nelson & James Franco stories. But I didn’t enjoy the Zoe Kazan and Brendan Gleeson ones, I felt like they were overlong and lacked payoff. However, I greatly disliked the Liam Neeson one, I felt like the dark comedy was a little too miserable in that one and it hints at the inevitable conclusion early on so you’re just kind of forced to watch it happen.

I also loved No Country for Old Men, the tension in that film is on the next level. I think having a ‘less satisfying’ payoff was deliberate and works to the film’s favor. Meanwhile I felt like Buster Scruggs they also took chances with a lot of the endings to those stories, and some worked for me and some just didn’t.

@“captain”#p48696 my two game examples of this phenomenon are Shenmue, and difficulty in general.

For years I used Shenmue as a punchline, as an ambitious experiment that fell flat on its face every time it tried to do something. At best, my most charitable read was that it was the growing pains of innovations that would be more effectively realized and implemented by its successors. And then, I don't know. One day a switch flipped and I realized that I've always really loved awkward, janky, ambitious games covered in prickly, un-sanded edges. Why was this any different? It became immediately clear how ridiculously cozy that game is and I started growing a deep appreciation for it, warts and all.

The other thing was difficulty in games, but there's more than that at play. I grew up playing a lot of NES games, which formed something of the foundation of my taste in games. But as I was going through my junior high/high school years and was sort of fruitlessly flailing around trying to figure out who or what I was, I was still playing games. But most of the games that I had any visibility on were the more obvious AAA games of the era, and they really weren't doing much for me for the most part. I felt like I was sort of vaguely interacting with a lot of games that were, at the risk of sounding reductive and overly simplistic, kinda playing themselves. Giant glowing waypoints and HUD icons telling me exactly what to do and where to go, it felt to me like an amusement park ride, which can be fun and grand in spectacle, but it's empty calories. A lot of design trends of that generation were asymtotally approaching this idealized vision of frictionless interaction. Games were made with the intent that everyone who spends their $59.99USD or equivalent sees the whole thing, and feels like they got their money's worth. This was playing out alongside the growth of Unreal Engine 3's ubiquity, which in a lot of ways is a very good thing, but it's lack of non-english technical documentation left most Japanese studios in the dark, and the engine's particular strengths and weaknesses in that iteration lent themselves to a very specific type of aesthetic in the way shaders, mapping, and post-processing FX are applied. And also, a heck of a lot of cover-based third person shooters, which is a mode of interaction I've just never been terribly interested in. Okay this is getting long-winded and again I'm super duper over-simplifying to make a point about where I was at in terms of my relationship with games at the time. I wasn't just playing new AAA stuff, but that's most of what I was aware of. I had no Insert Credit, I knew not of the wonders of Bujingai. I assumed God Hand probably was a 3/10. And above all, games had become another passive media for me, in effect. Like movies but with screen tearing and (usually) worse stories and characters lol. Over time I sought out games I could more or less effortlessly slide through to the end of, then stick it back on the shelf and do the same thing with another game. And I really don't know what broke me of this. Because Demon's Souls came out, and a handful of cool people were singing its praises but I didn't know yet how much my tastes actually aligned with those people. I truly just did not know myself very well yet. Then Dark Souls 1 comes out and blows up and thus kickstarts the next decade of difficulty discourse or whatever. And so much of the broader conversation around this game's sudden explosive popularity is centered around this perceived notion of it being some kind of masochists' pornographic dream. I was so certain that was distinctly Not For Me. And I'm trying to figure out what gave me the realization that it totally is. I wonder if it was when the MegaMan Legacy Collection came out? I played a lot of MegaMan 6 (the best one) as a kid, and having a great new package in which to go through all six of them again proved to be a lot of fun. I started getting back into playing Castlevania games, fell in love with Rondo of Blood, etc. Then a friend offered to shepherd me through Bloodborne and it was all over from there. I still don't seek out extreme difficulty as a point of purpose, for example I really dislike a lot of the way Dark Souls III handles it's overall difficulty and boss structures. But I've found that I absolutely adore a good sense of friction, when a game pushes back against the player a bit. God Hand, Ninja Gaiden Black, stuff like that. Turns out I really love that feeling and it's super satisfying! Not in the "finally beat something I've been struggling with" sense, that does nothing for me. But in the moment to moment feel. But emotionally and kinesthetically.