Genre Blending

I’m not sure why this is, but frequently I find myself looking at a game I don’t play, but find interesting, and wondering whether there would be a way to import the aspects I do like into a genre I’m more comfortable with. Frequently this occurs when I find a game that I like the idea of, but don’t particularly enjoy playing. Is there a way to bring the colorful casts and flashy spectacles of fighting games into a less twitch-happy, pixel-pushing genre? Do multiplayer-focused games have to be shallow solo experiences just by the nature of their being?

Recently I’ve been reading up on Nethack, partially as a consquence of the most recent Talking Time Mafia game being based on the setting, and I’ve found it to be a game that is at once endlessly fascinating to me and one that I know without a doubt I should never, ever play for myself.

The appeal of Nethack (at least on my end) is obvious: Huge number of game elements that interact in even huger numbers of combinations, many routes to victory, many potential variations in how an individual playthrough might shake out. Of course, the flaws (again, purely speaking personally) are just as evident: Punishing difficulty, high probability of YASD, opaque information-relaying, and primitive graphics and interface. I know that Nethack’s fanbase probably considers all of that to be features, not bugs, but it’s enough to turn me off of it.

I do wonder if that’s inherent, though. Is there a way to retain the enormous modularity of Nethack without bringing along its sheer player-unfriendliness and minimalist interface along for the ride? In particular, I’d like a variation of the game which was freer with experimentation without having the specter of a stupid permanent death hanging over every move I made. There’s so much variation and possibility in the game, but you can’t access it without either multiple deaths to research what can happen or cracking open a guide.

Ah well. Until that happens, I suppose I’ll content myself with reading Let’s Plays and browsing the wiki. Some games are better read about than experienced directly, I suppose.


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