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Games that changed your mentality as a player


I admit I am not a patient player. When things get challenging or take too long, I am not that eager to continue.

However there are some games that changed my views, even for a short while.

First time it was with SF4 in 2011. I used to play FG casually and it was the first time I felt so overwhelmed. Not only did I have to drop all I had learned so far. I had to adjust to new tactics, netplay, get used to arcade stick, read guides,watch videos etc.

Took me years to get used to it. Still I applied that principle to other better fighters and things worked out smoother.

Very frustrating and long process overall. But memorable moments and discussions on Supercade/ggpo/Fightcade.

Other examples were FTL and Gianna Sisters prepatch.

For FTL I thought it was impossible to finish and was ready to drop it.But reading admonishing comments gave courage and hope and it became one of my favourite games.

Gianna Sisters was a different case. Game catered to the Euro computer platformer players and it was one of the most frustrating experiences ever.
NES games were difficult but enjoyable. But this game was for masochists. Decided never to bother with similar games ever since.


For me, it was Persona 1 way back in 1996. At the time, I was mostly into JRPGs of the Final Fantasy variety and I operated under a mindset that I had to preserve my precious MP at all costs, and thus pretty much only used attacks until I got to a boss at which point I'd break out the magic.

As Final Fantasy (and a lot of the 16-bit RPGs in general) are very susceptible to brute-forcing and grinding, this more or less worked for me.

Persona was the first game where I was often forced to use magic (generally due to the sheer amount of enemies immune to physical attacks). Combine that with the game restoring small amounts of MP at the end of every battle and I quickly found that using lots of magic in every battle could be very useful. Taken that mindset into most other JRPGs to this day, and even when I replay old SNES JRPGs I find that I play them differently.


CS:GO and LoL has changed my view on online random teammates in multiplayer games. Now I just assume everyone online is trash from the beginning, which helped me stay sane. Usually they are, but there are also some nice people out there occasionally. At least it made me focus to put in some effort into those games, instead of relying on others even though they are suppose to be team games...


Dark Souls. Except in some cases (ironman JA2) I was an obsessive quicksave/quickload (PC) player. After Dark Souls I really started to appreciate games with some sort of ironman/no save option and I started to view game balance and mechanics through this lens rather than how I did it before.


Metal Gear Solid kind of gave me one of the first sharp nudges towards the idea of games tackling emotional themes the same way cinema, TV, or books do.

SimTower is what made me fall in love with games as simulation and management scenarios.
Rising Thunder

I use to think fighting games were lame and required months of experience before they could even be approached. I played just a few days of Rising Thunder, and they little playtime alone taught me almost everything I needed to know about how to approach and play fighting games. Now I can jump into games like Street Fighter or Injustice and hold my own against other players online.

It's a damn tragedy the game got canceled.
Metropolis Street Racer on the Dreamcast is the game that taught me how to drive properly on a racing game.

Before I had only played arcade style racers and as a result had pedal-to-the-metal at all times approach. As you can guess this did not work at all in MSR. So at first I copied what the AI opponents did. Then I started to get serious, pushing harder, finding out how late I could brake, how fast I could go through a corner. I also had to adapt to the different cars and their handling characteristics and their drawbacks (Tail happy, lack of top speed etc). By the time I beat the game, my play style in driving games was unrecognisable compared to now I started out.


Street Fighter (mainly 4) changed my views of competition, getting better and focusing/training on one game.

CoD4 MW made me appreciate online MP.

Dirt Rally changed my way I approach racing games.

Witcher 3 reminded me of the value of good solo games (story, etc).
Ninja Gaiden Black. After not playing NES games for so long, I had kinda gone soft and gave up easy in games. But something about Ninja Gaiden Black really appealed to me. It felt so good to play as Ryu Hayabusa, so when I got to Murai I gave up at first, but then I would just think about how awesome the game looked, and wanting to see more... so I ended up coming back to it a few times until I beat him. And then when I reached my next hurdle which was those T-Rex looking fucks. I dunno. I learned to preservere again, like the NES days. I continued playing that game all the way up to Master Ninja Mode. Such a great game. It's a shame we don't have any games like that, at that level of polish. Now I love games that are challenging like that. If it weren't for NGB, I probably wouldn't care about the Dark Souls franchise, but it's one of my favorites.
Halo on hardest difficulty made me plan my attacks, as I just assumed it was a 'oh, they'll just take more bullets in this mode' but the enemies started flanking properly, etc

PS, the Street Fighter answers made me think of SF3, "Wait, tapping forward as a defensive maneuver?"


I've actually found that my 2.5 years of playing DOTA has taught me a lot on efficiency, how to best make use of your time in a given scenario, both in videogames and interestingly, in real life, too. If I'm on my way to do something, I'll make my trip more efficient by incorporating something else into it. Even just random shit like making a pot of coffee, I ask myself, "is there something I could do with the 2 minutes I have?" instead of just sitting around.

DOTA relies quite heavily on being efficient and it's a skill I tried to develop in the game, but has ended up having more real life benefits than in game.
After some shitty experiences with other MMOs, FFXIV taught me the weird appreciation of approaching a game as a 'cog'. It changed my mentality to games in the sense of learning a specific role that formed part of a coherent whole in a party - actually approaching the game from the point of view of working for a team outcome rather than myself. Pretty different mentality for me as someone who largely played single player/solo-focused games. It also changed my mentality in terms of not feeling absolutely awful when I fucked something up during a raid and therefore to experiment more with builds and strategies, whereas in other games the community toxicity/shitty luck of the guilds I joined made me play with quite an insular mentality.
Pillars of Eternity changed my mind on tactical rpg playing. I thought it was a nerdy waste of time, but ended up thoroughly loving battles taking 15 to 20 minutes and repeatedly failing before conquering. Progressing was just a PART of a sense of fun and satisfaction.

I've actually found that my 2.5 years of playing DOTA has taught me a lot on efficiency, how to best make use of your time in a given scenario, both in videogames and interestingly, in real life, too. If I'm on my way to do something, I'll make my trip more efficient by incorporating something else into it. Even just random shit like making a pot of coffee, I ask myself, "is there something I could do with the 2 minutes I have?" instead of just sitting around.

DOTA relies quite heavily on being efficient and it's a skill I tried to develop in the game, but has ended up having more real life benefits than in game.

That's actually super cool.

Dusk Golem

A 21st Century Rockefeller
Resident Evil 4.

I used to be a HUGE scaredy-cat, I thought I hated horror. I have a distinct memory of my grandmother buying me a Dreamcast for my birthday from a neighbor of hers who's kids had moved out and left it behind, I got the system and all of their games. One of the games they owned was Resident Evil 3, and I had recalled hearing RE was scary so I broke the disk in half and threw it in the garbage.

RE4 was my first horror and Rated M game (parents were strict on age ratings, I was 15 at the time and snuck out to get it though one night since praise for the game was everywhere). Played it, loves it, as a first time to any horror game thing guy I got scared by it but it was fun and felt good overcoming that fear. I got REmake and Zero, played REmake next, it scared me a lot more but I also loved it. Zero had a few moments but I was surprisingly (to me at the time) mostly okay.

Got more into the genre, fell in love, and over 10 years later I am a big-time horor enthusiast now.
Chrono Trigger called me out for being a jerk, and I changed my ways. I'll no longer give priority to loot over NPCs, I try not to rob people unless the game forces me to, and I stopped exploring joke options in dialogue.


actually i am going to mention recent game - Cosmic Star Heroine
i started the game on max difficulty (i always do), and during my time with the game it went from "how the hell is this even possible to beat this" to "okay this is kinda easy"

love learning experiences like these


FF7 showed me the wonders and bigger than life aspects that games could be.

FFT made me a more patient player and the importance of being prepared for battle that had consequences (and the very real importance of multiple save slots for the same game). Also gave me a life long love of good stories in games. Games became art and not just entertainment for me.

MGS was more patience building and assessing every possible bad outcome of a choice I made. Also thinking of the multiple ways I could approach the problem


Not sure if this is on topic but cars games made me a very good racing drive theoretically and war game such as CC3 made me a military tactician.
Jet Set Radio Future: I really like weird and colorful Japanese games.

Twilight Princess and Wii Sports: I really like Nintendo games.
Majora's Mask made me care about the NPCs for the first time.

Bloodborne made me skill up and read attacks better.

Undertale solidified my preference for pacifism in games.


The Witness was an interesting one - due to how it taught you the mechanics of the puzzles, you had to be unafraid to reappraise what you thought was true - there's a few rules that work for a bit, then it turns out your interpretation isn't quite right and you need to reconsider it in the light of some new information. I noticed that a lot in the official thread - there were a few significant puzzles that many people thought were impossible, but the problem was themselves - they'd become too wedded with a simple interpretation of the rule, that when it got more complex, they didn't go back and reappraise it - I've seen quite a lot of complaints that "They change the rules halfway through" when they don't; the rule was always consistent. You were just wrong, but right enough until now.

It's a little like the scientific method in that regard.

Edit: I think I slightly misinterpreted the title, because The Witness is a game that required you to change your mentality within the context of the game, but it didn't have an overall impact to my actions as a player beyond it.


I have another, a slightly odd one-two punch of Halo and InFamous.

The problem is that I found the original Halo utterly, utterly boring, and didn't see why it got all those allocades. Reasonably nice story, but I tended to find the gunplay pretty tedious and repetitive. Fast forward to InFamous, and I completed the tutorial - and it suggested that I did well enough in the tutorial that I ought to play on Hard.

This was a bit of a revelation to me; my tendency with difficulty levels in the past was to start on Normal, sometimes even Easy, and then on revisiting the game consider pumping up the difficulty somewhat. As I got older and more disposable income, I tended not to replay games all that often, and as a result my impressions of the easiest difficulty were my lasting impressions of the game as a whole. I'd played Halo on the easiest difficulty, and the biggest killer throughout the game at that point was simply carelessness due to tedium.

I trusted the tutorial and played InFamous on Hard, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I replayed Halo when Anniversary came out, tried it on Legendary but that was a bit beyond me after I'd scraped through a level or two, but then settled on Heroic, and had a great playthrough.

I would love it if more games had the infrastructure to guide you towards making a difficulty decision that's correct for you, because InFamous made a massive difference to how I appreciated the game, and had a knock-on effect to many others.


On a slightly separate note, years of competitive Counter-Strike 100% boosted my leadership, communication and team play in "real life". I haven't played competitively since 1.6 but it definitely taught me stuff like how to get the best out of people with different strengths/weaknesses, maintaining discipline/morale in others, researching other teams, strategizing etc.


RPG's have always been my favourite genre but it wasn't until playing etrian odyssey that I really understood skill trees and planning a party build. The non-standard classes and abilities mean when I play other rpgs I'm more likely to use the full range of skill offered.


Ninja Gaiden (learn combos and dodge like a motherfucker), Dark Souls (patience and timing, be perceptive of all enemies on the field), Bloodborne (be more assertive at the right times), Uncharted 3 (don't stay in cover all the damn time, run n' gun more).


DOTA relies quite heavily on being efficient and it's a skill I tried to develop in the game, but has ended up having more real life benefits than in game.

One benefit I got from fighting games was getting to use my left arm too. Before I got to learn to use an arcade stick or gamepad for fighters, left arm was completely numb.

From driving to simple tasks, I hardly used it. Now I am at a point where I can even shoot basketball 3-pointers with left hand almost with the same ease as right hand.

Left foot to kick ball is another issue though....hardly any strength
3s taught me how to read people. it's helped me in pretty much any competitive game i've played. before that i was reactionary and now i'm anticipatory.

it's also probably because of old age that i had to adapt

i'm not even that old tbh
The developer commentary in Portal taught me to "look up" in FPS games.

Wing Commander 3 gave me my first feeling of genuinely wanting vengence for a fallen NPC at all costs.


World of Warcraft and hardcore raiding changed how I perceive most games, I’m better with time management, stamina as well as taste in games which now spans nearly every genre
Saints Row 3 was such a pure pleasure-delivery system, it made me contemplate why other games do things like limiting the player's power or using obstacles to prevent them from doing what they want. (Partly facetious, partly sincere.)


Phone reception is more important to me than human rights
I guess I can say never judging a game by how it looks.

Knytt Underground. One of my fav games. Fez also.

And even tho I dont like Hotline Miami like others, I dismissed it totally based on how it looked.

2 other games come to mind..

Minecraft and Terraria. I totally dismissed both based on how they looked.

Never judge a game by how it looks. At least play it first.
Out of curiosity - what does it say?

There was a puzzle late in the game that testers were stuck on for hours. The solution was above the player, so they added a ladder that breaks when you approach it in the hopes that you would look up and see the surface where you were supposed to shoot a portal.


Hyper Light Drifter heightened my appreciation and intrigue on "difficult" games. The aesthetic alone was enough to pull me in, and after slamming my head against my desk for a week, I managed to complete it. Now that I know I'm (somewhat) mentally confident and capable of conquering a game like this, maybe I'll eventually come back around to the Soulsborne series and see what all the fuss is about.


Super smash bros melee, and that mainly in tournaments. Sirlins play to win also helped.
Played football(10+ years) and table tennis(just a few) and didn't really learn that much about the game, in the way that my posistioning and stuff could have been a lot better, and often got tricked by feints during practice for example.
Then at a reunion a few years later it was me feinting and getting past the other players by just using basic conditioning(based reads), it's amazing how you can miss something so "basic and fundamental" for such a long time.


I used to cheat like a bastard in every single video game until I played TIE Fighter. Game genie, codes, whatever I could get my hands on.

When I saw TIE Fighter had an option in the menu to make you invincible, I was baffled but happy I didn't need to put any codes in. It was very convenient.

After a while I realized I was starting to actually get good at controlling the game, and I rarely got hit by enemies anyways. So I turned off the invincibility. I eventually went on to play it on hard, get all the secret objectives etc. And had a ton of fun doing so.

It was a pretty dramatic shift. I pretty much instantly stopped using cheats/trainers in anything. I just suddenly found no value in it. I generally don't even like mods that screw with game balance, unless they are an entire kind of overhaul/suite like what STALKER got.


I remember Metal Gear Solid 3 being a game that really blew my mind and reshaped what I thought video games could do at the time. Same thing for Demon's Souls. The resonance those games communicated through incredibly well-delivered aesthetic was just sublime.
Demon's Souls. I learned not to rush and button mash, and to pay more attention to everything in the game- enemy attack patterns, the environment, item descriptions, and NPC dialogue. I learned to accept that I didn't need my hand to be held all the time, and that it's ok to challenge something and fail, as long as I learn something from that failure. It made appreciate difficult games and now I love a challenge.


formerly sane
Quake, Doom 1&2. Soul Calibur and Counter Strike all shaped my views as a competitive player.

Had no clue depth existed in games till I met other players who were just vastly ahead of what I thought possible.

Soul Calibur exposed me to frame by frame nature of some games immensely. Quake and Doom literally introduced me to lanning, WASD, and online gaming for the most part. CS is where I met a ton of clanmates and had good lanning experience that quite frankly haven't been repeated in my life time.

Sadly my lanning experience make me hate online gaming in bloaty lag induced internet structure we now have. I will put up with it but local or lan owns online gaming outside of socialization and chilling have very little use for comp these days.
Getting three starts on Mirrors Edge time trails. I use to get really frustrated doing the same bit over and over but whilst playing something clicked and I understood how to meditate whilst gaming. Once that happened my skill level rocketed and haven't had a problem with the difficulty on any game that requires skill.


Tekken 4 and then Soul Calibur 2 in terms of understanding how to play fighting games and what it means to actually play at a high level. The biggest thing was probably getting away from the mindset of stuff being "cheap", and getting into the mindset of figuring out how to deal with it. Also just understanding how big a gap there is between casual play and tournament play, and realizing how much work you have to put in to bridge that gap, but also how much more fun the games are when you put in the work.
The one-two punch (lol) of Mike Tyson's Punch-Out and Viewtiful Joe gave me a lifelong craving for challenging action games with complex combat (more complex than those games, anyway). Prior to really getting into Viewtiful Joe, I preferred just using cheats or strategy guides to barrel through games so I could just see all their content, but after learning that game I started to realize how vapid content tourism is.
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