As a self-proclaimed competitive gamer, I approach video games differently in comparison to others. Before I start a game, I research as much as I could about its inner-mechanics. I notice that every game usually has their own rules and logic on what’s good or bad. In an adventure game, if I discover that a sword is superior to a gun, then I’m going suspense my logic to prioritize a sword over a gun because it simply gives me a better chance to win.
In RPG games, I visit gaming websites and forums to figure out how to best level up my characters from early game all the way to the end game. If I ever get stuck in a game, I don’t waste my valuable time trying to solve the puzzle—I simply find a youtube gameplay video of where I’m stuck at. I don’t know how other people play video games, but this was how I play games ever since as long as the internet has existed. My philosophy is to never reinvent the wheel.
However, this all changes around a month ago when one of my friends let me borrow his Xbox360. It has quite an impressive collection of single-player games including Dark Soul, Fable 3, Assassin’s Creed series, and Saint Row 3. For the first time in a while, I decided to play games without using my usual methodical approach to see what would happen. Instead of spending time researching, I dove right into the game and let whatever happens happen. This was how it was back in the NES days. Failure means quitting and starting a new game.
The result of playing games in this particular way is surprising—it has become more fun and challenging for me. With difficulty setting set to the hardest level, every game suddenly became a huge challenge. One time it took me over two hours to complete a task in Saint Row 3. There was a sense of mystery in leveling up abilities without knowing if the abilities that you level up with is going to be any good. I still don’t know what weapon is the best in Assassin’s Creed 2. Furthermore, I have had to figure out unique ways to beat enemies by relying on my own abilities and experience. It sure is more fun than merely following a perfect strategy made up by somebody else.
I found out later that this is called the “blind” approach. You go into the game without knowing what to expect. The challenge is to complete a game without using outside sources to aid your progress. I believe that this is a superior way to play games for many reasons.
1. You will get more hours out of the game
With modern adventure AAA games costing $50+ or more and requiring 20 hours or less to finish. Playing games without walkthrough is one way to indirectly add more hours to the game. With no prior game knowledge, you cannot plan ahead because you don’t know what to prepare for. There is no way to know if an item you just picked up is good or bad. Puzzles won’t be solved instantly. You don’t know what abilities or spells to level up. You might skip a key item or two on your way to completing a quest. Bosses will be difficult and you will need to come up with a way to defeat them on your own. Frustration is a small price to pay.
2. You will be surprised by the game itself
The element of surprise is part of what make great video games remarkable. Moments such as Aerith’s death from FF7 is remembered because nobody expected one of the main characters to suddenly die at that point in the game. When Samus removed her helmet to reveal to you that she’s a girl, it was memorable because you played through the whole game believing that Samus is male. Now imagine if you know about all these spoilers before playing the game yourself. All video games have unexpected moments and it doesn’t have to be limited to the plot of the game. It can be a weapon or a spell that does a ridiculous amount of damage. It can be a boss that did an unexpected attack.
This rule applies especially for horror games where going through the game “blind” will help increase the entertainment value tremendously. The ghost/zombies can appear out of thin air to scare the hell out of you. If you are playing horror games with a guide you are doing it wrong.
3. You will be challenged
Playing games “blind” will help increase the difficulty of the game. Without a tried-and-true strategy to follow, losing the game is no longer optional but expected, just like in the old days before the internet. Learning through trial and error can be tedious yet incredibly fun at the same time, especially in well designed games such as Metal Gear Solid games. There is nothing better than coming up with multiple ways to solve a problem. Fighting bosses and sneaking through guards can be extremely challenging at first, and if you don’t believe me, try fighting Psycho Mantis without the infamous second controller port trick.
4. You will be forced to be creative
Anyone can blindly follow a walkthrough on gamefaqs or duplicate what they see on YouTube in order to achieve a perfect 100% in a game, but can you actually accomplish all that by playing the game “blind”? Ever since I’ve been playing video games blind, I have difficulty finishing games let alone finding all the secrets within a game. Without having the perfect weapon, skill, character build, etc, you have no choice but to progress through the game with the tools that you have and find a way to make everything work because in the worst case scenario, you have to restart the game and do everything all over again.
While I used to be averse to playing games blind, always looking for the shortcut that someone else figured out, it’s now my preferred mode of gaming. Try it out.
Read Next: 3 Reasons Why In-Game Tutorials Are Useless