Well, now that Boyfriend and I have achieved the important nerd relationship milestone of sharing our Steam games with one another, I should start playing some of his games. Obviously. Because I don’t have enough of my own games to play.
Boyfriend has been playing the hell out of Factorio, though. I’ve watched his screen over his shoulder as he sets up tiny conveyor belts. It looked neat, but I had no immediate desire to play. There didn’t seem to be any real narrative to it, although the conveyor belts were mesmerizing, in a way.
“You should try it!” he enthused over the phone.
Figuring I had nothing to lose, as I can now play his games without having to buy my own copy, I installed it and started it up.
Now, before we go any further, I just want to preface this by saying that I think that Factorio is objectively a great game. The sheer scope of the slow evolution of conveyor belt madness is staggering to behold. The mechanics seem really solid, the sense of discovery interesting and palpable. The game evidently was at one point the highest-rated game on Steam, and although it’s fallen a bit since that time, it’s still sitting pretty at number four. I do think it deserves this distinction.
So when I say that I do not like Factorio, it is not because I think it’s a bad game. It’s a great game. I do not like Factorio because I suck at it.
I am functionally PC-game illiterate. I can’t get the hang of WASD movement. I’m always clumsily headed the wrong way or bumping into the scenery. On top of this, Factorio has key-mappings that are not dissimilar to Minecraft’s, and for some reason, hitting the “E” for my inventory presents a constant problem. Boyfriend had to tell me that pressing “F” picked things up, postulating that the “F” stood for “fetch”. I use my track pad rather than a mouse, so that’s also probably making things a little more difficult.
The main issue, though, is that I don’t find anything inherently rewarding about building stuff for the sake of building stuff. That’s why I lost interest in Minecraft and why Farmville was only fun for me for about an hour and a half. This game may have vastly deeper crafting than Minecraft and vastly more quality than Farmville, but I have trouble finding turning iron ore into iron plates into iron sticks and gears to be inherently fascinating on its own.
Once my goals got to the point that I was having to harvest 150 coal/stone/whatever, I was done. I spent an hour and a half trying, and it wasn’t thrilling to me at all. It is clearly thrilling to many other people, Boyfriend included, but this game was not built for me. Much to Boyfriend’s despair, when he had me try out Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, thinking that I might like it because I love Star Wars, I dutifully clicked around on things for awhile before assessing, “This is basically Farmville with fighting, isn’t it?”
That’s okay. Boyfriend is excited enough for the both of us. “When you come to visit this weekend,” he promised (or threatened?), “I have so many factories to show you!”
I can hardly wait.