10:24 PM—11:00 PM, April 23, 2020
When I was around eight years old or so, I went to a Chili's for Veteran's Day. This Chili's had those tablets at the tables, the ones you could use to pay and maybe play a couple games. (I'm not sure if this is consistent with all Chili's; as it happens, I have not been to Chili's since.) Now, this was the early 2010s, so this tablet had a legendary game on it: the original Plants Vs. Zombies.
I fell in love with this game, and as soon as we got home I asked my father if I could download it on my shitty Nook. He said yes, and it was the true start of something absolutely beautiful.
The thing about Plants Vs. Zombies is that it's taken an interesting turn. Here's a list of all of the games it has (that I know of; excluding the ones that are not available anymore/ in all countries).
1. Plants Vs Zombies. This game is the best game on the planet. I love this game. I always loved this game. I haven't played it in a long time now, and when I try to start it again I get this uncomfortable feeling, so I prefer not to. Still, I love it. 10/10.
2. Plants Vs. Zombies 2. This game was not as good; I disliked that you had to buy almost all of the original plants for five dollars. Seriously. Five dollars for a plant. The nostalgic ones, too! Anyway, I never finished the game because I just never felt like it. 7/10.
3. Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. Holy hell did I love this game. I was still young back when I bought this game from a random man in a parking lot for fifteen dollars. I would wake up every day before school to play this game on my PS3 for an hour. I loved this game so, so much. I never play it these days because I had to repurchase it on a PS4, and I just never got around to unlocking all the characters again. I hope to someday. 9/10.
4. Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2. This game is also really great. Many people say they don't like this game as much as Garden Warfare, but I personally liked it even more. I never got around to unlocking all the legendaries and party characters, but I still boot up a PS4 (not mine) to play Suburbination once a day. 10/10.
(I don't count Plants Vs. Zombies: Heroes, because that game is horrible and linear and it tarnished the Plants Vs. Zombies name. I'll rate it, though: 3/10.)
"IKnowItsOver! IKnowItsOver! What about BFN?" You may be saying, if you haven't exited this rant yet.
Plants Vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville is where the problem begins.
I hate this game. I hate this game with everything I have. I loathe the people who play it (including myself). Mostly, though, I hate the younger people that play this game. I suppose I feel betrayed. This game is targeted towards a younger audience, one that wasn't even alive when Plants Vs. Zombies was still on the App Store. They make sure the missions aren't intense for the little kiddos. They don't use too much crude language. I suppose, really, that I grew up.
A few months ago, I was sitting down and playing the game. I started crying, and I didn't stop for forty-five minutes. I still played; after all, I had set aside forty-five minutes to play the game, and I wasn't going to stop for a teensy thing like an absolute breakdown. Afterwards I had to text the Crisis Line.
I haven't played Battle for Neighborville since then.
I really, really dislike this game. I think they did the Engineer dirty; I think the animation is better, but that the plants are much creepier and less friendly than they used to be. I don't really like any of the new characters, and I don't like the old ones. The maps are still cool, but it's rather complicated— I don't really like the new Gardens and Graveyards (Turf Takeover?). The thing I dislike the most (excluding all the little shits that play this game now) is the fact that Mixed Mode includes Suburbination, Gnome Bomb and Vanquish Confirmed. I love Suburbination, and as it is I always get unlucky. All of these games take a rather long time; I'll set aside an hour to play them and end up spending forty-five minutes playing Gnome Bomb and Vanquish Confirmed, and then I won't even be able to finish a game of Suburbination.
Don't even get me started on the replacement for character variants!
Back to the bane of my existence, however; the children that play this game. I'm still a child myself, but not as young as they. I hate these children. Don't get me wrong; I grew up reading extremely fucked up fanfiction, and this was a welcome relief. I'm so, so glad that these children are given a way to spend their time that is normal and isn't going to scar them. At least this game can babysit those whose parents aren't particularly attentive.
And still, I hate them. This game has somehow managed to reach a level of immaturity that I find unacceptable. It feels like they've abandoned their older fanbase, somehow.
I know. I know that I sound like an absolute fucking loser, one that probably gets vanquished all the time— but I think I realized something when I was sitting down for those forty five minutes.
I think I finally connected the lines. There I was, no longer a young, innocent child. Instead of playing before school, I was playing just before a self-induced bedtime. Instead of a happy child playing a game that they loved, there I was, an incredibly fucked up individual, playing a game that I absolutely despised because I had nothing else.
The worst thing, I think, is that the maps for Battle for Neighborville are rather similar to those of Garden Warfare. Every time I would play the game, particularly this last time, I would be unhappy. Not only was I unhappy, but the maps served as a constant reminder of better times.
Plants Vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville. I don't agree with many of the choices made in this game, but I can appreciate it. I suppose it takes a fair bit of growing up to realize that this game protects its players. Maybe only to be PC, but it's nice to pretend they care. Perhaps I'm a bit resentful of days gone by... perhaps I'm getting old. Regardless, I love this game and I wish I could be a little kid again, safe and protected. 10/10.