Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Gentlemen's Agreement

For almost three years, I have been an active member and moderator of Pete's Game Room Forum, a video game-related forum created by Pete Dorr, Youtube gaming guru and current co-host of the All Gen Gamers podcast. It's a nice forum that started as a meeting ground for other gamers who run a Youtube channel but has since blossomed into a large community of video game enthusiasts from all corners of the globe. We meet, we chat about games and we generally have a good time. As a moderator, I am one of a few people tasked with keeping the forums free of trolls and spammers, which can sometimes be a hectic task but one that ultimately feels very rewarding.

Anyway, one brilliant idea thought up by forum member and Twitter rascal Andsy was the idea of a "Gentlemen's Club", a fun little endeavor in which the entry requirements are very simple. You must submit a list of unstarted or unfinished games and you are paired up with another member, who has also submitted a list. You then select a game from the other person's list and task them with the duty of completing said game within the next two months. This is a great idea because not only is it a fun and friendly competition, but it also encourages you to go back and play a game you might have otherwise kept shelved. The fun part comes with the choice of games, since you can either pick a great game you know the person will like, or if you're feeling impish, a terrible or overly difficult game that could send them into fits of rage. Cruelty of this nature is not only allowed but it's encouraged. Anyone entering into such an agreement does so with a certain amount of risk, but given that the game selection is limited to what's on your list, you can leave out anything you seriously don't wish to play.

For my agreement, fellow member and Twitter buddy Mike Dunbar has assigned me The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion on the Xbox 360. This is a game that I have tried no fewer than three times to get into but I have yet to find enjoyment with it. I have found the game to be glitchy and plodding, coupled with the clunky combat and abysmal inventory management system, have made me give up on all three occasions. Having said that, the game has a strong following and has received almost endless acclaim, so I suspect it's a game I will grow to enjoy if given the time. Hence, I am delving into it on Mike's recommendation as he thoroughly enjoyed it, and it seemed appropriate given the hype that currently surrounds The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. For his end of the bargain, I have tasked him to complete L.A. Noire, one of my favorite games to be released this year and one of the better Rockstar games to come along. It's not for everyone, but I personally loved the 40's setting as well as the emphasis on finding clues and interrogating suspects. In addition to completing said games, we both have an additional task that must be fulfilled. On my end, I must complete the "Hackdirt" side-quest that you come across at some point in the game, while Mike has to complete all cases with a 5-star rating. This is going to be interesting to say the last.

                    My typical "nerd rage" reaction to playing Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

So what is the prize if you complete your challenge? Nothing, except for the satisfaction of having completed a game and succeeded in a challenge, which is really the essence of why we play video games. On the forum, you can brag about being part of the Gentlemen's Club and joke about donning your smoking jacket and monocle and twiddling your fine moustache with price. It's a good time had by all. If you don't succeed, in the words of Andsy, you will be declared a rascal forevermore and thus not a fine gentleman. At the end of the day, it's a fun, free and fiercely competitive challenge that definitely gives us incentive to game harder.

Both Mike and I will have until January 31, 2012 to complete our respective games and secure our high-backed plushy chairs in the gentlemen's lounge. Personally, I think Mike got the better end of the deal since his game can be beaten in about 15 to 20 hours, while Oblivion can easily take dozens more. Either way, I have accepted the challenge and will give it my best. Who knows? I might actually find something in this game that I finally enjoy.

Click here to view the official thread in the forums and see what other participants have chosen for each other.

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