Know Your Origins: Experiencing the First Before the Third

What is the commitment we should show to story lines when we play video games? Personally I, as I assume most avid gamers do, will guilt myself if I start playing a series that is on it’s 3rd, or 4th, release without ever playing the first one. Although there are numerous ways we can get caught up to the story, one of which is the summary at the beginning of the game that is always offered with sequels. I hate to feel as if I am mooching on someone else’s experiences if I did not put my time in. How can I comment on Halo 4 if it is my first experience to Halo, whereas my friends have followed passionately from the beginning. Do I have a right as a gamer to say anything about the franchise if I showed a delayed interest? In the same vein, would you start reading Harry Potter at book 6? Or book 1?

The question about origin and loyalty comes into play. If a gamer chooses to dive into a franchise, what should the commitment be in regards to the origin? Should we advocate playing back titles? Is it our duty as gaming fans to encourage all to play initial releases of titles before the follow ups? One title of recent example that did it right, in my opinion, is Crysis 3 which, if you preordered the game, offer a free download of Crysis 1. I think this is a practice that many of our larger franchises can absolutely put in to place, but it does ultimately come down to the power of the dollar.

To practice what I preach, I have made myself track back to the original Dead Space before I ventured into Dead Space 3. I have to say, it was well worth it. Not only do I not feel like a douche for jumping into a franchise that my peers are very excited about, but I came to realize I genuinely missed out on a great experience the first time the opportunity came around. Not only did I regret not buying Dead Space upon its initial release, I felt a loss for not impatiently waiting for all of the sequels year after year. Whether a false feeling or not, I now feel like I am part of the Dead Space fandom and can speak to the origin to back up my claims.

Consider this in regards to Mass Effect. When the trilogy came full circle and concluded, those that followed from the very beginning were so vocal about the ending that a DLC was made to please, and silence, the fans. Now, if you have not played any Mass Effect titles besides the 3rd, you really wouldn’t have a say in how it all ended. However, if you had the hindsight to tear through the first two before the third came out, you would have a leg to stand on about how the trilogy ended.

I want to hear from you as well. What are some titles that are 100% necessary for any late adopters to the franchise that should be started from the beginning? What are some series that do not matter where you start? Have you ever felt guilt for playing a 2nd, or 3rd, without playing the first?

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  1. WeatheredTunic

    The Elder Scrolls, as a series does not warrant playing back in the series, besides getting a good idea of other areas in Tamriel first hand.  It is interesting to know some of the history as well, but it isn’t necessary to enjoy the games fully.
    On the other hand, I agree that games like Mass Effect and Dead Space would warrant retroactive playthroughs for new adopters to get a feel for it.  Arguably the same idea with Assassins Creed, except for the fact that it’s basically time travel.

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