I consider myself an above average, avid gamer. However, like every other “good” gamer I have my weaknesses. One of those undeniable weaknesses is a fan favorite: Super Smash Bros. In high school, I never really considered Smash a weakness. I won ~every other game. However, at Amherst I have been dominated in every single game of Smash I’ve played. Did Amherst coincidentally recruit every expert gamer my age? No. However, what Amherst did do is recruit smart gamers and smart gamers strategize, sometimes without even realizing.
I’ve played super smash bros since it was on nintendo 64 and only had 12(?) characters. Because of this I know most of the original characters’ moves by heart. However, SSB has always been a button mashing competition to me. It was only after getting here that I realized button mashing wasn’t gonna get me anywhere.
Another game I’ve played when it first came out was plants versus zombies. Although I never considered PVZ a serious game (and never actually managed to lose a round of it) I did naturally what I never even tried to do willfully in SSB: strategize. Walnuts were my most valuable assets and I made sure I could always afford them by planting two rows of sunflowers. Depending on the zombies, I would assess whether cherry bombs were worth my time or if I was better off with a different type of plant.
Strategy games may be its own genre, but strategy is required in all games. If I had applied my thoughtful and careful method of playing PVZ, maybe I wouldn’t have (rage) quit SSB. What do you guys think? Are there any genres that don’t require strategy? Does mindless gaming truly exist? I’d argue no, but feel free to disagree in the comments below.