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RePlay: The Gaming Experience
by Joey Núñez
The fact that I spend a good part of my time writing articles on videogames should tell you one thing about me. I love gaming. The fact that you have chosen to take time out of your busy day and read over our gaming raves and rants here at Gamer's Guide to Life tells me that you are just as infatuated with all things gaming as I am.

And why wouldn’t you be? There is a whole lot to love about gaming: there's the thrill of unwrapping a new game for the first time; the sheer awe that overwhelms you when a game presents you with a world unlike anything you have ever seen, and then lets you run around in it; and there is the adrenaline rush that goes along with competing against both friends and strangers in an all out brawl to see who’s best. Gaming is awesome; I know it, and you know it. But it wasn’t until the other night, while I was mashing the buttons of my PSP, trying to get Cloud to fly through the air and show Sephiroth who’s the boss (two cheers for FF references), that it hit me. The real reason why gaming trumps any other hobby you can throw at me. It was the most obvious reason really: the experience, the opportunity that games give you each day to simply step out of your life for a couple of hours.

There are games that are just so well built that they become about more than reaching the next save point, getting the next trophy or achieving a stronger level. You know the games I’m talking about don’t you? Those rare gems that suck you in to the point where you breathe, eat and sleep the game, you dream about the game world, bring it up in conversations with your non-gamer friends and even try and get your grandma to sit down and watch you play this awesome game for a couple of hours.

That wasn’t just me, right?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to brainwash you all into joining some kind of videogame cult: a social life is important boys and girls, and please keep yours alive and well. However, there’s nothing wrong with exchanging the craziness of our daily lives for the craziness of a videogame for a little while, particularly when that craziness is defined by excellent game play mechanics, stunning graphics and commendable production values.

Naturally, as a gamer devoted to finding new gaming “experiences”, I gravitate towards these well crafted, world-creating games. You’ll never find me renting a Hannah Montana game for the easy trophies: nothing against you dedicated trophy hunters, but it’s just not my cup of tea. Nope, I prefer to hunt down the elusive, life-changing gaming experience. Have my hunts been successful? Occasionally they have: I’ve fought through an endless onslaught of violent mythological creatures in Ancient Greece; explored the sprawling cities of Renaissance Italy, jumping from rooftop to rooftop, in search of a new target; and I’ve lived through countless fantasies and saved the world more times than I count.

Yes, my hunts have been successful, and I plan on sharing these successes with you guys. I’ll take a look at some downright awesome games and break down just what made them so groundbreaking, in one way or another.

For the next couple of weeks I invite you readers to join me in Replay, in an analysis of some truly mind blowing games. Not to be confused with a numerically valued review, in this little corner of the site what you will find is some personal insight into these games which will hopefully let you know If they’re right for you or not.

Check out Replay next week for my take on the “Assassins Creed Experience”, and find out just why killing people in ancient times can be so gosh darn fun. In the meantime, speak out in the comments section and let me know what epic games were total “experiences” for you, and just what made those experiences so important. Go on, inquiring minds want to know.


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- Joey Núñez

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