How I Decide Which Games To Play

I own so many console and computer games, not to mention hundreds of mobile games, some from other countries even, and I have a husband and 2 cats and a full-time job. So how do I decide which games are worth my time, and which ones aren’t? This answer is different for everyone.

I created the flow chart here as a window into my thought process. Disclaimer: my thought process is just my opinion. It is not fact. My opinion is probably different from your opinion. If you’re a long-time reader and fan of my blog and like the games I cover here, you may also share some of the same opinions as myself. If you’re new and somehow stumbled into here, well sorry if my opinion is different from yours. Let’s just all go enjoy our games and be happy and not put each others’ opinions down.

Click on the flow chart to enlarge

I am a girl. I am a gamer. I am a gamer girl (or girl gamer). I am turning 41 years old this Sunday. My first ever video game console was NES – but later in my life I picked up an Atari and even a Colecovision. I have a lot of love for Retro Games, but I also love modern games. I own a PS5, and a Switch. I have no desire to own an Xbox (whatever generation they’re on now) because they have no exclusive games. All of their “so-called” exclusives, I can in fact, play on my PC. Now, you could say that about darn near any game console thanks to emulation. But, with Xbox, you don’t even need emulation, because Microsoft wants to sell Windows PCs, they make PC versions of dang near every game they release for their Xbox console. I owned the first 2 or 3 Xboxes. One of my all-time favorite games is even on an Xbox console – and yes, shockingly, it is exclusive, without even a PC version. It is Lost Odyssey – a spectacular emotionally beautiful RPG.

Kotori Cosplay
Kotori Cosplay

As you can tell from my flow-chart, I tend to gravitate towards RPG, or story driven games. I especially love if it has a branching plot, multiple endings, hundreds of hours of story, and if I feel like my choices and decisions shape that story. That’s the piece de resistance for me when it comes to gaming. *Chef’s Kiss Emoji*

The opposite is oddly true when I’m enjoying a casual mobile game. There are a metric ton of Otome and Visual novel games on mobile… but for some reason, here in this case, I am drawn to casual gacha games. A gacha game is where you spend in-game (and sometimes real-life) currency to play a “slot machine” style mechanism that gives you an in-game reward… These could be new characters you can play as, items you can equip (sometimes they’re just fashion items without stats, and other times, the stats help the gameplay, either way, I love dressing up my characters), or “cards” representing characters with illustrations, autographs, voice acting, and so on, or maybe an item that lets you decorate a room or house, or some other such little customization.

I play pretty much every Gacha game – under just one condition – Is it cute? If that answer is yes, I’m playing it, and probably maybe spending a little real life money – I’m not whaling, but maybe dolphining… I’m VP level 16 in Shining Nikki…. from spending so much money… I don’t want to think how much… probably enough to buy me a Dollfie Dream (dolls that I collect which cost around 400-500 dollars). And that game hasn’t even been out a year yet. Oh boy. But most the time, I’m a free-to-play user of MOST of my gacha games. I have to REALLY love a game to want to spend real life money on the gacha – because honestly, most of these games are gonna go the way of the dodo soon (become extinct). And I don’t want that money and those items and characters to just go POOF.

idolmaster million live theater days
idolmaster million live theater days

I do play the Otome and Visual novel games too, but right now, I’d say on mobile my favorite games are: Shining Nikki, Love Live, Bang Dream Girls, Colorful Stage, Utapri, Ensemble Stars (can’t wait to finally get this one in English this summer, been playing the Japanese one since launch), and Idolm@ster – which I doubt we’ll ever get an English version. I am obsessed with Idolm@ster and I can’t read a thing.

But here’s the weird thing… in mobile games, and only in mobile games… I “Skip” the dialogue 98% of the time. Skip, Skip, Skip…. Gimme gems for “reading” your “lovely” story…. keep playing, get gems, pull Gacha again. Rinse and Repeat… I might be addicted to spinning the Gacha, just saying LOL. *crying emoji*

So it doesn’t really matter if it’s in English or not… I guess… but I mean, it’d be nice? LOL. At least a menu translation, please.

All of the limited events and cute dressup items or character cards – and so many events in such a short amount of time. Who has time to read a story? Pssht, not me LOL.

But when I sit down at my PC or Console – it’s time to do some SERIOUS gaming – for me, that means spending hundreds of hours reading story, getting invested and involved in the lives of the characters, and probably crying a lot because I’m so into their story, laughing with them, cheering them on, caring about them, wanting to see what happens next.

Ok but there are times when I’m playing a console game or pc game and NOT playing a story driven game – actually quite a bit now in the past oh 5 years or so since meeting my Husband. Now I play a LOT of multi-player games – and those aren’t story based at all. Some of our favorite games right now include Nintendo Switch Sports (as a plus it has dressup gacha for me yay lol), Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, Can’t wait for Mario Strikers, Fall Guys (love that one. My husband hasnt played it yet because up until now it lacked local play options). I was really into Smite about 7 years ago – I wasn’t that good at it but I had fun. I like fighting beatemup games too. I used to kick so much as as Kilik from Soul Calibur. Some of my old school favorites are now on online consoles and pcs and mobile apps too, such as Mappy Land – I love that game. Donkey Kong Country – another game lacking story but fun to play with friends. I have a local geek club that I created and we play a TON of Jackbox Party Pack Games – I WISH they had online play. They are the besssst!!!

But yes, if I am playing solo, then I do value story. But even playing solo, that’s not the “only” game type I will play. In addition to story, I like things like crafting, building, creating things. I like a lot of simulation games because of that. “The Sims” obviously being the most well known basic example of that. But other games like Romance Of The Three Kingdoms, building a city, Sim City, Theme Park, Roller Coaster Tycoon, Theme Hospital, Civilization, Warcraft, etc.

The best games for girls
The best games for girls

I like otome games and visual novels, but there’s ways to work romance into a game that doesn’t necessarily make it just a visual novel. Look at some recent tripple A titles such as The Witcher or Dragon Age, it had romance options and dating options, but it still had excellent gameplay, combat, open world environments, etc. Harvest Moon and Story Of Seasons and Stardew Valley while casual games without much hardcore gameplay, also implement romance, and even furthermore let you have children. One of the things I also enjoy about some strategy games is seeing your heirs take over your kingdom and continueing to play as future generations. Other games implement romance in very subtle ways. Persona comes to mind right away as the prime example of this, using the dating elements and after school clubs and jobs to strengthen your characters in the JRPG battles and seeing new story scenes. Phantasy Star 3 Generations Of Doom, had a few romance options which branched the story and gave you a different perspective and playable characters. Some other Phantasy Star games had this too, but none of the recent ones. I haven’t enjoyed the series much in recent years and wish it would go back to an offline true RPG again. Suikoden had you seek out over 100 characters and build a city etc. Some of the Wild Arms, Tales Of, and Breath of Fire games also had small romance options. Even Final Fantasy 7 had a little minigame dating portion.

Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley

I think if you look at the image here, you will assume and think I’m just “hating” on shooters. That’s not the case, I just don’t enjoy them personally because I’m awful at them to the point that they frustrate me. I’ve played a few over the years, my first being Duke Nukem and Wolfenstein 3D. I also genuinely love Elemental Gearbolt, one of my favorite video games, by my favorite (now sadly defunct) publishers, Working Designs. But I’ve never beaten that game – I suck. I played the first few Halo games. I played the game where you have a flashlight and ride around and monsters come out of the dark – I can’t remember what it was called. I’ve played and enjoyed Point Blank and Duck Hunt. I’ve played some arcade games, ghost busters, mario/luigi, one as a cop, one hunting dinosaurs, some other random gun games. I just lack the hand eye coordination. I don’t want to play something if it’s frustrating for me, because that takes away my enjoyment. I play games to relax and destress, not become more stressed.

But as the diagram shows, if It’s an IP or Franchise I like, I’d play it. If they ever made a Sailor Moon “shooting game” – or any type of “magical girl anime” shooting game, I’d play it. Attacking enemies with cute pink sugar hearts, stars, rainbow beams etc. It could be unique and cute and fun lol.

And lastly if a game is just “inexplicably fun” or has crazy one of a kind unique gameplay – example Katamari Damacy – no storyline there etc, but just so original and unique that there’s nothing else like it. Stat-Raising Simulations are another “Rare” type of game (at least in America). We finally got Princess Maker (except for one of them). I use my phone and translate other Stat-Raising simulation games like Tokimeki Memorial and Angelique. Stat-Raising simulations are probably actually my favorite genre.

That gives you a little insight to how I choose to play and purchase games. What are you playing now?