The thing about teaching high school is that you get a lot of questions.
The thing about teaching high school when your students know that you play games is that you get a lot of questions about playing games.
This afternoon, one student asked me for gift suggestions for his brother. Trying to be a good person, I naturally asked what type of games his brother liked. To my total unsurprise the answer was action games and shooters, i.e., my big glaring weakness. So, I just told him what some of his schoolmates have told me: “You have to get Call of Duty 2.”
I have not played CoD2. I may not for quite some time. And I feel odd recommending a game based purely on what other people are saying. (Of course, a lot of people are saying that Call of Duty 2 is a great game, so I don’t feel that odd.)
A good friend and fellow teacher has come to rely on my opinions ever since I directed him to Pirates! He has since bought Rome and its expansion, both on my suggestion. A mutual friend of ours got into Pirates! as well, but was totally underwhelmed by Rome.
Recommending a game is a delicate task. If you recommend it when you are in the throes of enchantment about a game, you might end up pushing a product that you get tired of shortly. If they push for a suggestion about games or systems I’m not all that familiar with, I have to rely on people I trust not letting me down when they say good things about a game.
Plus, as a reviewer, I can’t say that I’ve never overpraised a title. My online review of Hearts of Iron is more positive than I soon came to be about the game, mostly because I had a seven day deadline to play a complicated WWII sim. But I do know how precious my credibility is to readers and friends.
As great as Pirates! is, it gets old pretty fast. Would I recommend it now? And with what caveats?
And when they start talking about Playstations and Xboxes, what the hell am I supposed to say?
But, being a vain man who likes to see himself as some sort of professional game expert (I have many fantasies), I can’t quite bring myself to answer “I don’t know” when people ask if there are any games out there that they would like. So I will undoubtedly make some bad recommendations this holiday season.
I feel pretty secure about Call of Duty 2, though.