Thursday, June 26th, 2008 6:02 AM
Why We Game
(Note: I'm proud to say that I do not know these people)
In a recent brainstorming session for SlapStic article ideas with Ryan, I asked the question, “why do we game?”. At the time, the idea was thrown out because it was believed to be too complicated and abstract of a concept to work with. On a later date, however, I began to ponder this question again and finally came to the conclusion that I needed to write about it, if only to get my thoughts down and organized.
The first reason that crossed my mind was: to channel emotions. Everyone has had one of those days. You know: When you were late for work, ticked off your girlfriend, brought to your knees by a well-placed kick from a homeless person, etc. So what occurs after such horrible events? Assuming you aren’t a monk, a flood of bad emotions. Unchecked, these are the cause of much strife and consequently more bad emotions; but being as we generally dislike taking part in such cycles, we seek methods of halting them. This, I believe, is one of the functions gaming serves, as a conduit for anger or stress. And really, why wouldn’t it be? Having the chance to destroy things without harming others or having to deal with the consequences of it is therapeutic, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. That is probably part of the reason why there are so many shooters and destructive games like Hulk: Ultimate Destruction on the market today. Hopefully, people will begin to recognize this trait and crazy lawyers can blame something else for the ills of society.
The next reason I’ve found is companionship. The desire to love and be loved is an inherent trait of life; It is evident in every thing we do, whether it be trying to get people to like us, or being courteous to random people. As such, it’s only natural that it has a hand in deciding what activities we participate in. I think that because we desire companionship, we are drawn to gaming due to the camaraderie it fosters and the chance it offers to meet those who share similar tastes and interests. Truly, this is one of gaming’s most basic facets, evidenced by the fact that every gamer has wonderful memories of times spent gaming with friends or even random people they’ve never met. Even discussing games on internet message boards comes from the companionship drive. Personally, some of my favorite memories are of me and Ryan playing the N64: him slaughtering me on Goldeneye, me whooping his tail on Smash Bros, and just generally playing whatever was on hand. These are times and memories that I wouldn’t trade for anything, and they would not have existed without video games. Heck, I wouldn’t have even become such good friends with Ryan without them, and this site wouldn’t even exist. And I’m sure that each and every gamer out there has their own.
Finally, I think that we game to in an attempt to transcend our mundane experiences and become a part of something much more important. As humans, we all have a desire to have a purpose, to be important, to make a difference. Sadly, most people’s daily lives afford them none of this (in their eyes, anyway), so we search out a way to quench that desire by finding something that gives us a sense of purpose and importance, whether it be a literal one like working at a shelter, or an imagined one such as a book or game. You see, when reading a book or playing a game, we become a part of the story, and thus have a higher calling to save earth or any of an infinite number of scenarios. This satisfies the desire, because the only reality we know is that of our minds, so if you are invested in saving the princess, it is almost as if you had done it “in real life”. Games also allow for the player to do amazing things outside of the realms of normalcy, which is exhilarating for most, as most often wish that we didn’t live such boring lives bound by the laws of the universe and reason.
This concludes my brain dump, and overall thoughts on the matter; hopefully they will have given you some food for thought and discussion. Have a nice day.
Vaio - "Bury me at Milanello" R.I.P AC Milan
In the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird.
Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.
If laughing is the best medicine and marijuana makes you laugh
Is marijuana the best medicine?
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
“If any creator has not played Mario, then they’re probably not a good creator. That’s something I can say with 100 percent confidence. Mario is, for game creators, the development bible.