Gamers Going Their Own Way (GGTOW) guide to videogames

As you are no doubt aware, there’s been a big hubbub in recent years around the concept of “gamer identity”. Is there such a thing? Perhaps, but gamers are not homogeneous, and there are many different sub-categories of gamer. My last post considered the dudebro gamer phenomenon on the original Xbox but I’m tired of ready-made labels, and I tried to create an original gamer movement to fight Game Length Supremacists but that failed to garner mass support. So here’s my new attempt to craft a gamer identity, and this time it’s about forging our Own Way as gamers. Can we as gamers borrow the language and rhetoric of the Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) movement in order to articulate our particular gaming habits?

That’s right, I’m outing myself here as a bit of an MGTOWer in the realm of gaming, and in the realm of gaming ONLY. I’m a GGTOWer, if you will. (For those not familiar with the Men Going Their Own Way movement, I’d recommend giving this here site a read for the heinous basics.) I hope this post will provide some small insight into the Gamers Going Their Own Way lifestyle, and in order to accomplish this feat I’ve harnessed some MGTOW rhetoric here. So in extremely poor taste I’ve basically copied and pasted MGTOW articles and replaced the word “women” with the word “games” and, sorry to say, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference. That’s just how bad the levels of female objectification are in the articles I’ve cribbed from. Fair warning: there are regressive views towards videogames in this post, some of them expressed strongly, even offensively. You have been warned.

The GGTOW movement begins here.

The GGTOW movement begins here.

Having lived a promiscuous gaming lifestyle for some time, I’ve come up with the basics for any prospective GGTOWer: seek out great-looking games, get their numbers (i.e. review scores), enter a commitment-free relationship with said games, have as much fun as you want with as many games as you want but never commit to just one game, and never, ever, put up with bullshit. One wrong move by a game and it’s goodbye. You have to be willing to walk away at any time. I’ve never had the same game in my console twice, and I’m damn proud of it too.

It’s also important to play the right kinds of games, and that means not touching Western games. I’ve played many in my time, and have vowed never to again. Occasionally there’s fun to be had – Halo was a decent ride for instance – but by and large Western games are all about forcing commitment. There’s a name for this poisonous ideology: open world. Blame developers like Bethesda, Lionhead Studios and Bioware, who have popularised fetch quests, escort missions and other chores that exist to waste your time. Plus, most Western games have load times longer than a motorway, lag like a sloth, age mechanically quicker than non-Western games, and screentear like a shredder.

Master Chief: one night stand material

Master Chief: one night stand material

Thankfully there is still a place, even though it is thousands of miles away, that gamers import games from simply to find the lost fun of games: Japan. Go East – life is peaceful there. Japanese games are the best in the world, both in terms of their fun-factor and graphics. Here’s a short list summarising why Japanese games are the only games that make it into my console (except for occasional flings with Western games when I’m desperate).

1. They never refuse to have fun

Japanese games have held close all the fun values passed on from their gaming predecessors before them. Values that let games respect players and be submissive to them.

A Japanese game under a gamers thumb

A Japanese game happily submitting to a gamer’s thumb.

2. Gorgeous

Most Japanese games have family-friendly graphics. They will make sacrifices to have a stable framerate (and maintain it no matter what) and please their player with it. As for their beauty, it seems that western players are particularly attracted by their petite pixels (as opposed to the bloated polygons of the West).

3. Traditional values

Lara Croft (The West, left) vs Princess Peach (Japan, right)

Lara Croft (the West, left) vs Princess Peach (Japan, right).

One bakes cakes, the other points guns in your face. ‘Nuff said.

4. Financially responsible

Japanese games are usually undemanding financially, which is a huge plus when looking for a game to create a family in.

A typical Japanese game family.

A typical Japanese game family.

Your Japanese game won’t ask you to spend money on pointless DLC. Try asking an American or European game to do the same – the game will overload you with annoying text reminders from here to the apocalypse if you don’t partake in their microtransactions.

5. Short

Last but not least, a pleasant bonus. Japanese games are shorter than their Western equivalents. This makes Japanese games automatically more attractive.

Thanks for reading, and I hope my introduction to the GGTOW movement will help you see the “light” as I have! I must give credit to Cary over at United We Game, whose recent post about committing to games made me think seriously for the first time about my promiscuous relationship with the games I play. Ever wondered why the “Now Playing” gallery has so many games in it at any one time? Now you know!



  1. cary

    Many thanks for the mention here! And a great post, besides! Every gamer has personal (and often private) reasons as to why they play the games that they do and don’t. Though most regular folks place video games far down on the the “things to worry about” list, it’s honestly not something to take lightly. It’s a commitment like anything else. No, it’s probably not going to usher in world peace or save the rain forests, but that’s not for others to decide.

    A little soapbox-y there, so sorry about that. I have to agree with you on several points, particular the DLC issue, which I really loathe in Western games. If Xenoblade Chronicles had been released by a Western developer, no doubt it would have been half the size at the outset, with other parts being bestowed upon the masses at regular and pricey intervals. Just…yuck.

    • veryverygaming

      *sigh* I should apologise right now because this post was an attempted satire of internet misogyny but it ended up falling flat on its face because I made it far too subtle! I’ve added a stronger disclaimer in the second paragraph to try and explain better, although it’s a bit late now.

      Anyway, despite the tongue-in-cheek nature of the post, I do agree with some points in it, DLC among them. Because of the age of the games I typically play and the consoles I play on, it’s not something I come across often, if at all. But there’s also a cultural component, and I think Western devs are more confident and comfortable with the idea of selling DLC, since they assume most of their audience are internet-savvy. Japanese devs and publishers seem less committed to DLC, and that can often mean gamers get a better deal overall, with more content included “in the box” as it were.

      Picking games to play *is* a commitment, although I usually let myself get taken by whatever seems sexy, flashy and new in my collection. I’ve just beaten the main game of Monolith’s Japan/Europe-only predecessor to Xenoblade, Disaster: Day of Crisis (it’s hard to believe those two games were made by the same team, they share so little in common), but halfway through the game, I allowed myself to indulge by starting Jet Set Radio Future just because I just got it, it’s new and good looking… pure lack of impulse control. Having a blog helps though actually, because if I want to write a post about a game, I feel compelled to put the hours into playing it and go beyond the initial impressions stage.

      • cary

        Y’know, I thought something might have been up here when I got to #5, because all I could think about was Xenoblade Chronicles and 100 hours. But I opted not to be all like “Short?? What the hell are you talking about??!!” Still a great post, though, even if the point was lost on me. 🙂

        I had a very brief run-in with the original Jet Set Radio on a friend’s Dreamcast years ago; always wanted to come back to it again. Just love the style of it, plus, it’s an enjoyable game. I think it’s on Steam now, so maybe I’ll take the plunge someday.

  2. moresleepneeded

    I find this interesting. I feel there are many advantages of open-world games (such as a more developed environment and interesting scenes), but there are some disadvantages. An example of this would be the Grand Theft Auto series. Most of the games released between Grand Theft Auto 3 and Vice City Stories are open world, allowing the player to explore an interesting and dynamic city, which provides some extra tasks to complete and adds atmosphere to the games (even if the player has to spend more time travelling between events and missions). In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, however, the open world is more expansive, with only empty countryside between the three cities of the game, adds changing character attributes (such as strength, weight, etc.) and allows the player to develop relationships. I feel this seems to make the game seem less like a game with a story and more like an alternative life, with the player spending time to mould a representation into a desired look and lifestyle and, when these extra features are used in the story (such as getting the character to become a strong swimmer), can stop the plot. I remember one reviewer claimed they actually stopped playing San Andreas after they realised the character was getting more exercise than they did.
    I agree with many of the points. The Japanese games do seem to be more focussed on fun and have more pleasant aesthetics (such as Mario climbing onto platforms in a vibrant environment rather than soldiers fighting difficult enemies and gruesome monsters). I do like the way Japanese games are cheaper (which maybe because the graphics are more cartoonish rather than try to be realistic). I am not sure about length. Someone I knew once bought a game called Unlimited. The game had ten playable characters, who each had a story which lasted ten hours, meaning it would take one hundred hours to complete the game. I think it was a Japanese game, but I am not sure. I do not want to comment on the traditional values either, I am not sure if the two cultures have the same views on feminism. Ironically, I have heard that some Japanese people feel they are similar to British people, based on culture, history, society, etc.

  3. YvoCaro

    Loved your post, and don’t worry, I totally got the satire! You know, I didn’t even know about the MGTOW movement, checked out the wiki. As you’ll understand I kinda like the picture of the guy under the woman’s thumb, but don tell my partner that. I’m going to work some more on achieving that. 😜
    As for gaming: I’ll just play what I like when I like to, and if I’m not in the mood anymore for the current game, then it is discarded just like that. ( goes to re-assure the shocked HHD game in my 3DS that this is just big talk, no substance)

    • veryverygaming

      Well that is a relief that you got it, and appreciate the kind words! That picture of the under the thumb guy was too funny to pass up, it had to go in the post! I like the sound of your approach with games, I am willing to put up with some minor irritations but if a game stops being fun or there isn’t a clear payoff in sight for what I’m doing in a game, I will move onto something else. Often I move on without consciously thinking “I don’t like this, I’m going to play something else”. More like I think “I’ll just try this other game out”, and by the time I’ve sunk 10 hours into this new game, then I finally look back and recognise that I wasn’t having enough fun with the previous game, and I’m not going back to it.

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