As gamers we can get into the habit of only sticking to our favourite genres. This is understandable of course; we’re not going to go out & buy a racing game when we have no interest in cars, nor are we going to buy a fighter if all we can hope to do is button bash at our opponent.
It does us some good every now and then though to try something just a little bit different, dip our toes into the unknown and sometimes you may even surprise yourself at how much fun you will have.
This past week or so I have been slightly disillusioned with my gaming, even with E3 just around the corner. I was recommended Sega Rally Online Arcade by a friend and have been enjoying zooming about the small yet sweet selection of racing tracks (also, failing miserably), but an Arcade game just hasn’t cut it for me over all. With no new releases really catching my attention, I raided my games collection to see what I hadn’t played, and for some reason Batman Arkham Asylum caught my attention. I don’t like Batman as a character at all, and I don’t even like the general premise of many of the American comics he has been in. I enjoy superheroes with a bit of a dismissive praise. More of a ‘Sure, this is good, but don’t they all just look a little bit silly?’ state of mind.
I have a lot of love for the psychological, as well as the dark & eerie though (even if it does scare my senseless sometimes, I love the adrenaline that comes with the fear. You could say I’m a fear junkie?) so once I really got into Arkham Asylum, I think my love was firmly rooted. The problem is, Batman has always been a really cheesy character for me. Taking me back to my A Levels & studying Film I remember a friend who was mad on all the American superheroes, and he brought in one of the original Batman films for us to watch. I sat at the front & cringed, buried my face in my hands when ‘Shark repellent’ appeared and Batman was hanging from a helicopter with a plastic shark attached to his leg, beating it to death with said can of repellent. I have never seen anything so horrendously corny in my life.
Arkham Asylum is a stark comparison to that film though. Sure, Batman’s voice actor is cheesy as ever, but it’s not Batman himself I want to praise, it’s the dark pasts of all villains featured. Scarecrow terrified me the first time I encountered him, sat on my bed with controller in hand, wide-eyed out of genuine fear. I just played out the section with Killer Croc chasing me through the sewers, also quite pulse racing. The general dark atmosphere has given me a new-found appreciation for the game, and dare I say the original characters. I still don’t like Batman, and I don’t think I ever will, but I am now hotly anticipating the new Batman Arkham City & hope that it’s even darker than the first.
Go out there, try something a little bit different. Don’t necessarily spend your hard-earned £40 on a new game you’ve never really heard of, but borrow something from a friend, give it a go and expand your gaming horizons!