Metacognition: Influence

We’re back with our “thinking about thinking” series! If you’re interested in our previous deep thoughts, check out the Metacognition series.  Join us for some deep thoughts (and maybe the occasional not-so-deep thought) about gaming. If you find one you’d like to answer, you can either comment below or write a post and share the link so we can all read your fantastic thoughts!

What influences you the most when deciding to play a game?

Oh, this one is easy.

For the most part, I’m a creature of habit. I know what I like, and if I see a game that ticks whatever boxes my brain has, I’ll decide to play it. It’s a pretty top-down process, to be honest. For instance, for a game like Kingdom Come: DeliveranceI saw a game that was based in historical fiction, used what seemed like a natural leveling and morality system, told a personal story, and was an RPG. And thus it was added to my “to play list.”

Kingdom Come: Deliverance_20180330000250
And to Year of the RPG!

Don’t get me wrong: I watched previews to see what the game entailed, and I can’t say that the above list is particularly exhaustive. But I generally look at “categories” of games – the broad descriptors – and work my way to the specifics.

While I will take a recommendation from a friend, like anyone, usually my process looks pretty abstract. I’ll absorb information about a game, through previews or reviews or other general commentary on the game and percolate on it. It’s one of the reasons I like brick-and-mortar stores, and why I still go to GameStop even though I’m apparently supposed to hate it there. I go, armed with my information, pick up a game, and wander around with it a bit, doing some last-minute calculations about it, this time judging whether I think the ideas that I have about the game thus far are worth the price tag, either at the store or online, and whether this game will present me with the entertainment or meaning that I seek from games.


The poor shopkeeper knows to just leave me alone at this point; bugging me doesn’t give him a better chance of a sale, after all.

I guess this one wasn’t so easy.

At the end of the day, I usually decide to play a game based on… I couldn’t tell you. I looked at Kingdom Come: Deliverance and just liked the idea of it. I heard the music to Dragon Age: Inquisition and decided it sounded cool, and I’d better play the first in the series so I knew what was going on. I played Metal Gear Solid because my brother gave it to me and I felt obligated to at least try it.

Image result for metal gear solid
And I never really thanked him for it.

I thought originally to talk about personality types here, since that’s a fun little “buzz” thing on the internet, but honestly, my personality type is the rarest and most misunderstood one, and (ironically) I don’t particularly care that people mistype themselves as it, although in this case I do because it makes it harder to discuss objectively since there is so much misinformation flying around. At any rate, I find it fascinating that people hold on to labels that make them feel good, or fulfill needs for themselves, even if it is, at its core, the label is the “wrong” one.

But I digress. I make decisions very much like my type dictates: through an analysis of the abstract, letting answers bubble up from wherever answers bubble up from, and looking for media to provide more information with which to ponder the nature of humanity and/or existence.

Or sometimes via recommendation. But only if it passes through all the above filters. Sometimes.

Clear as mud, right? You should try living here!

What about you? How do you decide what games to play? Do you go by recommendation, or do you have your own process? Do you take the advice of a gaming site/blogger/YouTuber/etc.? Or do you do something really wild, like buy games based on an alphanumerical system that you created for yourself (please explain it if you did!)? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you soon!

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  1. I remember writing a post to spark discussion about the usefulness of reviews (, because I’ve found game reviews to be a divisive issue and seeing a trend towards waiting for sales or just buying outright. Similarly, I’ve also written about the topic of determining when the price of games is low enough to warrant a purchase ( and my own thought process regarding the purchase of games (’m kinda all over the place honestly. It’s a mess of whims…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And as long as it works for you, that’s what matters! haha I also play the numbers game… If it’s a game that I’m not sure I’ll like, I’m not going to run out and buy it at $60. Like the new God of War game… I’ll probably enjoy it, but my games budget isn’t huge and so I’m going to wait for the price to come down. And by then I will have hopefully had a solid “yes or no” answer bubble up haha. I think, to judge from some of the conversations you had, everyone is sort of all over the place!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I guess I go with a mixed approach. Either I get a game because it’s simply part of a series I am familiar with. Or if it’s something brand new, I tend to depend on reviews, word of mouth on wordpress or from friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I find myself checking out the blogger folk here more, too. I wondered if it’s because the folks here are familiar and edge toward “friend” status, so I trust their opinion more than a big-name company I don’t interact with that much. Word of mouth is certainly powerful, too!

      Although, if I could only buy Dragon Age and Mass Effect games for the rest of my life, I’d probably be okay with that haha

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Haha you and your bioware games 😉 but that’s not a bad scenario either. Finishing Andromeda has me wanting much more and see what’s coming up next.

    Definitely the bloggers have that closer relationship with us. Not just because we are all familiar with each other and the work we put out, but I think we are very liberal with how we discuss our favourite games. I think we get to a much more personal level than any big gaming site can. When you read someone’s thoughts on a game and how it was for example, a big part of their childhood, how could you not be even the slightest bit curious?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep! 😀 Yep, I’d be interested to see where they go next after Andromeda, as well!

      I really like how you worded that last bit: if someone had such a profound experience, wouldn’t you want to check it out for yourself? Especially if that person is someone you’re friendly with!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ll usually buy games with the idea that I’m going to want to play them sometime in the future, so immediate gratification there doesn’t usually work for me. As far as how I pick out which one to play, usually there will be some idea or concept that will be on my mind beforehand. Inspired by something I’ve been through recently, something I’ve read, or general discussion. Often times, that will lead my mind going towards some game or other that ties in with that thought, and that’s what I’ll end up playing. A little chaotic, but it works for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s interesting that other media affects your game purchases. I guess they put you in a “mood” for certain themes? That’s cool, though.

      Immediate gratification is rarely a defining factor in my purchases, as well. It’s the rare instance that I play a game when it comes out, and the desire to stay current is… I guess there, because cultural relevance is always important, I suppose, but it’s not something that drives the purchase itself.

      Chaotic ways that work are great, though! My way is pretty chaotic, as well. As long as the games we want to play get played, that’s really all that matters, doesn’t it?


  5. For me it’s a mix of genre, aesthetics and reviews – and aesthetic is huge. How is the world building? Does it tell an engaging story? Is the gameplay fun / challenging but not too challenging? Are the graphics done artfully? How is the music? Are the characters realistic? Is it fun to play with friends? This is very generalized, but basically what I take into account. Also, on whether it’s a day one purchase or a “I’ll wait for a sale” purchase.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always appreciate when people have a concrete list of “go to” reasons to get a game… I’m sure even I have one, but I can never seem to put my finger on it. All I know is that I’m rarely ready to go full-on day one purchase haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I honestly don’t care about reviews or the opinions floating around mainstream media, anymore. If it looks cool and/or seems to have a neat story, I’ll consider it. There are just so many games I want to play! I’ve been focusing on BioWare lately for some reason… Probably your fault since I frequent this awesome website and want to read all of your articles 🙂

    So I guess my final answer is: if a friend recommends something, I’ll make it a priority to play it.

    I am also curious about the personality type things. I took several tests that came up INFJ and it seems correct after reading the article you linked to… but I dunno 🤔 It’s more than an internet buzz to me, though. I’ve always felt misunderstood and discovering other alleged INFJs to talk to online was just awesome! Haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly, I’ll take a look at IGN (which I’m also probably supposed to hate?) because if they liked a game, I usually liked the game. Or I’ll just check out a let’s play and see how the game actually plays and go from there. Also, you can’t go wrong with BioWare, so I detect no problems.

      Regarding personalities, I stand by what I said: it doesn’t really matter. As long as you’re getting whatever you want or need out of your life, that’s what’s important, and whether that means applying a correct or incorrect label doesn’t really matter, does it?

      If I were to play devil’s advocate, I’d say that our different perspectives say more about our personalities than any test could, though. But at the end of the day, I think it comes down to a definition of “truth.” Is your truth the same as mine? If not, does that matter, especially if your truth brings you the personal insight you are looking for, even if it’s based on a different truth than mine?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have no problems with IGN, but I don’t visit there often, haha. GameSpot on the other hand… (I’ll tell you why I hate them if you’re interested). That’s a good idea! I never thought of checking out a LP to scope out a game.

        Good points! Reality and truth are more subjective than people realize. I just really felt a hell of a lot better about myself when I learned about those 4 letters. That’s why I like the label. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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