There was once a time when I would go to a video rental store and pick up a game from the shelf based solely on the cover. It was a different time. I didn’t watch gameplay videos or read reviews. I just played the game and judged it on its merits. I have some good memories from this time and I discovered games that I may never have discovered otherwise.
Sometime in the previous year, I’m not sure when, the last video rental store in my town closed down. I only noticed it as I drove past it one day, it had been such a long time since I’d been there. Even though I hadn’t actually rented a game for years, I still felt a tinge of sadness when I realised I probably would never do it again.
But I could still play a game blind, it would just cost a greater investment than the seven or so dollars to rent. So I went down to the store and picked out a game that I’d heard nothing about. I’d seen no trailers, no reviews, no gameplay. All I knew about it was what was written on the cover.
The game was Vampyr, an action role-playing game where you play a doctor who has been turned into a vampire, or, as the game spells it, vampyr. This isn’t really a review of the game, so I’m not going to comment too much on the specifics, but it was a game I enjoyed. I think, even if I didn’t enjoy it, I still would have been happy about purchasing blind. It was a great experience. I’m always buying games after I’ve seen footage of the gameplay at least, and no matter how little you watch, it always sort of ruins the first time experience. By playing the game blind I was free of any sort of influence by Youtubers or reviewers and I could judge the game entirely on it’s on merits. It’s so easy these days to have a skewed idea of how good a game is before you even play it.
But of course, playing blind isn’t a luxury everyone has. At $95NZD, AAA games aren’t cheap and can be a significant investment for people without much expendable income. I makes sense to read reviews and watch gameplay videos, but if you ever have the chance, and the money, I recommend buying blind on occasion. You can’t beat the experience.