“If you could choose any superpower to have, which one would you choose?” I have been asked this question multiple times over the course of my life. At first I wanted a cool superpower. I wanted something that was flashy and stood out. I wanted the classic flight, or superspeed or something that I could use to live out my wildest fantasies. It probably would have stayed like that had it not been for one thing. I got older. As many people know, getting older changes your perspective on certain things. Due to this my answers to this question changed as I got older. I no longer felt that I wanted something cool, but rather I wanted something practical that could be used in a variety of situations. For instance, flight isn’t great if you are in stormy environments and you can’t fly at high speeds without a durable body and strength as well. I toyed with teleportation but I was afraid I ended up warping into a wall somewhere. So I thought long and hard and eventually I came down to two answers. The first is the ability to understand a language after experiencing it once. I thought that would be cool to be able to communicate with anyone I wanted, but I might be able it would turn into a power that let’s me hear all creatures and that might be a problem. So I usually have a lot of conditions with that one. The other answer I give is that I would like the ability to be able to forget my experiences with a game so that I could play it for the first time all over again. The reason is there are some games that I really enjoyed, but I didn’t see the need to go back for another playthrough. The major downside to story heavy games is that one you finsih the story, the best part of the game, you can’t go through that experience again. Even in games where this doesn’t happen, when you play a game enough you tend to memorize solutions or layouts without meaning to becuase you enjoy the game so much. There is nothing wrong with that, but sometimes I wish I could just start from the beginning and experience things in a fresh new way. I think that is why I like roguelikes so much.
You probably thought I wasn’t going anywhere with that previous paragraph, but I did in fact do that with a purpose in mind. I have noticed recently that roguelikes games tend to be one of the genres I spend a lot of time on. That felt kind of odd to me since many of those games don’t have very complex stories and that is usually what I look for when playing games. So I thought to myself why would I spend over one thousand hours in games when your progress is reset from the beginning once you die. At first I thought it was because I was crazy. Then I thought that maybe I had an addiction to gambling. Then after that I thought it was beacuse I was very stubborn and unwilling to admit defeat. All of these questions had inconclusive answers, but I think I at least have some idea. First off, the fact that you can get stronger by achieving certain objectives definitely helps. It feels as though even when I lose it all, if i have at least made some progress then I haven’t died for nothing. Most of the best items are things you need to unlock while playing so it is best to just keeep on playing to get the items you want. There are usually a number of ways to go about it as well which helps keep things fresh. That’s right every time I start a run, there is a chance something can happen. It might not be the best run, but I can still make it work. I rarely end up having good runs that I am comfortable with these days. More often than not I end up succeeding with just the skin of my teeth. That’s what is so exhilarating about it though. I enjoy having that feeling of starting from nothing to become something no matter how many times I do it. I think that is a dream we can all identify with to some degree. I like the feeling of getting stronger, but there is nothing more boring than being too powerful. Even if I can sweep through every enemy easily, I will only be able to do so for a run, not the whole game. I cannot state how little I play a game after I have become powerful enough to take on everything easily. I play games for a fun challenge, not to coast through. If I wanted a walk in the park, I would go outside.
Do you know what the best thing about playing a roguelike is though? It is never about the destination. You are lucky to even reach an ending sometimes. The true fun of the roguelike is the journey. It is building up your run and experimenting with different items to see what works best. Do you know how often I have to look up items and powerups because I genuinely don’t remember what they do or how they work. I do it all the time. That is partially due to my terrible memory, but the main reason is because there are so many ways to experiment and so many options to choose from as you play through the game. No good roguelike keeps itself to just one playstyle. There are always different ways to customize your run, but your ability lies in how you use those powers to take on neverending waves of enemies and bosses as you make your way through the dungeon. I have had some runs that were beautiful only to be ruined by my own hubris. I have had some mediocre run that managed to somehow push through until the end. There is really no telling what will happen in the end, but I know I will feel something whether I win or lose. That is the most important thing to me when I play games. I want how I feel to be the same no matter how many times I play. I feel like no matter how many times I play, I can still be just as excited or just as worked up as when I first started playing them. So at least I wouldn’t need to hit the reset button on these games if I ever wanted to enjoy a quick run. I am curious if there are any superpowers you wish you had and if they have changed from the past. There is no obligation to do so, but I am curious so feel free to comment about it if you want. See you next week!