Well, although I’ve talked about the subject of “books vs. games” before, I thought that I’d take a slight break from this month’s horror genre theme to talk about it again.
This is mostly because, due to the usual worries that I was “less of a gamer than I used to be“, I ended up replaying the earlier parts of “Resident Evil 3” on a higher difficulty setting. It was a lot of fun.
But, saying all of this, there’s still a lot to be said for books. After all, I’ve spent quite a few months reading lots of them. So, here are two more reasons why books are better than games.
1) Saving: Yes, many classic computer games (eg: “Doom II”, “Blood” , “Deus Ex“, the PC port of “Silent Hill 3” etc..) don’t have this problem. However, one of the problems with many modern and older games is that they don’t always give the player the opportunity to save at any time and pick up from where they left off.
Whether it is the dreaded checkpoint saving or, like in the first three “Resident Evil” games, actually limiting the number of times players can save, games can demand that you play them for longer unless you want to lose your progress. Regardless of the reasons given by game designers for this sort of thing, it is more than a little bit annoying/off-putting for a game to tell you “you’d better keep playing now, or else!” when you really want to get on and do other things.
Books, on the other hand, have none of these problems. You simply use a bookmark and put the book down. You can use pretty much anything as a bookmark You can even use more than one bookmark if you want to mark multiple parts of the novel (unlike some games that only have one save slot).
If you don’t have a bookmark, then – if you own the book – you can just dog-ear the page. And, yes, I know that dog-earing is a controversial topic, but if it’s your book and you don’t have a bookmark, what else are you going to do?
Even so, all books allow you to “save” your progress at any time. Unlike many games.
2) History: A few days before I wrote this article, I was spending a few minutes on Youtube when I happened to notice a retro gaming video about a cool-looking videogame I’d read about in a magazine many years ago but couldn’t remember the name of (“D2“, if anyone is curious). Needless to say, I was amazed. I wanted to play it.
The only problem was that I don’t own a Sega Dreamcast. To directly experience this part of gaming history, I’d have to track down and buy a piece of out-of-production hardware before I even got the game. And, even then, a Dreamcast would only allow me to play a fraction of the interesting old games out there.
I mean, I’ve got a few old game consoles lying around (eg: a SNES, a N64 [somewhere], a GBA, a GBC [somewhere], two original Game Boys, a PsOne and a sadly no longer functional PS2). Yet, even with these, there are many older games I can’t play because I don’t have the right hardware. Because, rather than making games available to all, classic games were often locked to just one or two platforms.
It was part of the business model. After all, if you grew up in the 1990s and liked console gaming, you were often either on the side of Nintendo or Sega. Each system had it’s own parallel culture of “exclusive” games. These days, even PC games can often be exclusive to various DRM-filled digital shops/launcher programs. And don’t even get me started on the sorry state of game preservation these days…
On the other hand, the next horror novel I plan to review is an early 1990s reprint of a novel from 1974 (“The Rats” by James Herbert). I can read it just as easily as a modern horror novel. The physical book still “works” just as well as a modern book does. I don’t need anything extra to read it. It is a book like any other.
Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂