I am a lifelong gamer. I started playing video games with the Atari 2600. The one with the old wood grain design. My grandparents got one for Christmas one year and it was the best reason to go to their house. I eventually got one of my own. My grandmother was worried that I wouldn’t want to play the one at her house. She was silly. Of course I would play her too. Good grief. Anyway, one of the reasons I play games is because doing game things is so satisfying. Certain things are more satisfying than others and here are my top five most satisfying actions.
1. Finding a New Item (Legend of Zelda series) – Back in the day there was nothing better than fighting through a dungeon, killing enemies, pushing that block and watching that staircase appear. Finally, you’d walk down that stair case and see your prize – a raft, a ladder, a magic wand. It didn’t matter what it was. You knew that getting that item would open up the entire world… again! As Link hoisted that item over his head in triumph you were already ticking off all the places you were going to revisit. Special mention goes to the Hammer in Zelda 2 as getting this item provided a rush of endorphins you just can’t replicate.
2. Completing the Marsh Cave (Final Fantasy) – The Marsh Cave might as well be the last dungeon in the original Final Fantasy. It is one of the two major hurdles you have to overcome in order to beat the game (the other one being the Ice Cave). It’s incredibly tough for the beginners. It’s a pretty long walk from Elfland to the cave to begin with. Not to mention almost every enemy can poison you – some can stun you. Then you have to beat two “Wizards,” which use no magic (ironically) but can put your characters in the ground in one hit. As if that wasn’t enough, if you manage to beat the “Wizards” you have to limp all the way back to Elfland. After the Marsh Cave you can get a huge stash of loot and money. The game becomes a good deal easier. A victory made sweeter if you could managed to get out of the Marsh Cave with your party intact.
3. Sniper Rifle Headshots (Gears of War) – Headshots are always pretty satisfying no matter what the game. I gave a special mention to the Gears of War series because I’ve never loved headshots more. Locust heads explode like melons when you hit them making a very satisfying SMOOSH! It helps that it’s not too hard to do either and the aiming for such an action seems pretty forgiving. In the two games I played I never passed up the sniper rifle. Ever.
5. Beating a Boss (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night) – The thing I like about beating a boss in C:SotN is that second-long pause once you’ve made the final strike. It lends some weight to the action. It gives you a chance to say, “Yeah! Suck it, jerk!” just before the enemy launches into their death animation. It doesn’t hurt that each boss beaten extends your life.
5. Cuttin’ Up Fools (Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance) – I just finished this game last week and I can tell you that the Zendetsu mechanic is one of the finest in video games. It allows you to slow down time and meticulously slice enemies into tiny, tiny pieces. The game even counts how many pieces you made. And it doesn’t matter whether its a low-level mook who was stupid enough to get in your way, a giant robot, or boss who’s bested you twenty or thirty times, slowing down time and turning them into giblets is awesome. I don’t care how short the game is, Zendetsu makes it all worth while.
There you go! My top 5 most satisfying video game actions. What are some of yours?