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 Why do we game?

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PostSubject: Why do we game?   Thu May 17, 2012 5:33 pm

Why do we game?

Such a simple and obvious question, yet such a difficult one to answer. 'Fun', is not an answer. To answer the question, one must look inside at their motives behind gaming, what they consider fun and why. The reasons why one plays video games can vary a great deal. In many cases (especially competitive gaming) the question reveals a dark side of oneself that the gamer is often embarrassed and afraid of facing. To many gamers, the very question is considered offensive.

So why do we game? Why do we spend countless hours grinding away at numbers on a boring mouse wheel? Why do we repeat the same thing over and over? I can and will answer that question, but to do that I'll have to open pandoras box and deal with things that haunt gamers in the wii hours of the night.

The reason why a person plays video games is for the same reason we watch movies, play sports, learn a musical instrument, and run around aimlessly as children. It's the same reason why all animals play at all ages.

As a child, we experience our surroundings, and we learn that we are capable of much more than we first thought. Instinctively, we gain pleasure from exploring our potential, posessing a natural tendency to learn new skills and explore new ways of thinking. By playing, we practice the mastery of skills that we can apply to many other situations. This empowers us and allows us to learn even more skills and do even more amazing things. Whether it's a child that plays ball in the grass, an adult that performs in a professional sport, or the elderly playing bingo, the motive is the same. It's in our nature to play, to learn, to practice and master. Each form of play offers something unique. At the end of the journey, you gain something irreplaceable that stays with you for life. This is why play is so important, and it's why a marathon runner will put themselves through hell. It's why a person sits there for 2 hours through a movie. It's why a person will sit there for countless hours playing a video game. They don't play for a trophy, the trophy is just a keep sake of what they learned from their journey. They play to empower themselves, to better themselves, to come out the other side with more than they started with.

In professional sports (usually contact sports), you sometimes see a person who isn't playing for the same reasons. Rather than empowering themselves and learning new skills, they focus on a single strength, only concerned with power over others, beating the opposition down, gaining the trophy and getting all the attention. This happens when a person stops playing at some point in their life. Their personality wastes away, and they lose the instinct to better themselves and learn. Feeling the sense of loss, they lack the ability to see and understand. The only pleasure they can find is from instant gratification. As a person, they continue to waste away and degenerate until they're banned from the sport. What follows is drug abuse, violence and anything they can reach to feed the ever increasing hunger for instant gratification. When a person stops playing, they begin to die and rot as a person. Your mind is like a muscle that wastes away if you stop using it. Sadly, through prison style education systems, prescribed and illicit drug use, and a wide variety of social and environmental causes, society has begun to break down into a giant mess of lost people like this. We now have a generation of gamers who don't even know what gaming is, and a culture of game developers with the same attitude.

Real gaming takes the best of all worlds in one.

Like a movie, you get to experience a story. You see new things from new perspectives, and the story inspires you.

Like a sport, you get to practice strategy, tactics, and coordination. You intereact and learn through the challenges of constructive competition.

LIke a discipline, you get to focus, memorize and problem solve with speed and efficiency. You learn to multitask and harness your brainpower.

Gaming has an amazing ability to empower mankind with skills and tools beyond the wildest imagination...

Or so it once did. The video game industry has become as corrupted as the current generation of gamers themselves. With no clue about what gaming is and why they even play, their gaming experiences revolve around instant gratification. Instead of being a tool of empowerment, games have largely become a poison that atrophies the minds of gamers. The art of gaming is lost to the current generation of gamers and developers that exploit them, but a new generation of gamers are coming through that gives hope to the wonders video gaming offers. A new sprout of life within the gaming industry struggles to push through the overgrown weeds of big gaming corporations, as they starve under the debt of their own weight. And as they die, the hoarded nutrients of 'Intellectual Property' will be released to feed the new generation of games.

It's important to understand what's going on in the current generation of gamers and developers. It's important to understand what really goes on in online games, and the effect it has on peoples lives. Online games, especially First Person Shooters and Massively Online Role Playing Games, have created and cultivated a generation of psychopaths. By examining the behavior of players within these games, and the game design that causes it, this is very clear for anyone who dares to open their eyes and look. This is not by accident, this is by deliberate design on behalf of the game developers to target, exploit and monetise on antisocial and obsessive behavior. Current gaming culture is the equivalent of gambling addiction and those who exploit it.

So I ask of any reader, why do you play video games?

Do you play to explore the road, see things from a different view, master new skills and come out a better person?

Or do you play for instant gratification? To feel big and important? To gain pleasure in the suffering of your opponents?

One is a gamer, the other is a psychopath. Both are diametrically opposed. I for one am a gamer.
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PostSubject: Re: Why do we game?   Sat May 19, 2012 9:25 am

Excellent topic Terran, and very well written as it conveyed how I feel about some of the conflicts going on in the gaming industry.

To me gaming is like an experience, and so that is why it is nostalgic when you look back at old games. It is the same when you look back at old memories like childhood you felt something, you failed at something, you accomplished something and most of all you learned something.

You hit the nail on the head when you said that gaming nowadays is about instant gratification. I knew that gaming had really been going downhill for the past few years but I just didn't know what the direct problem was. However instant gratification is probably the biggest contributor.

There was a point in guild wars where I also wanted instant gratification, but then it didn't last long. Like the term suggests after all its just instant, for example getting the FoW armor will provide instant gratification and it might last for maybe an hour, but what really will matter at the end of the day was all those hours spent doing titles, missions, pvping and having FUN.

I remember when I got my first FoW armor. I really was ecstatic and thought it was very aesthetically pleasing and made me feel a bit happy and there is nothing wrong with that. However now that I look back it, that is nothing when I compare it to the memories of me playing through the story, even back a few years when I used to do PvP. That's what drove me, although it was a game it's made a positive impact on me and made me realize what's really important. These kind of things can easily be applied to in life.

I believe the majority of gamers who are playing for instant gratification are most likely trying to escape or running away from a problem. It's sheer irony that games are meant to be played where you can understand how to problem solve hence quest lines and are interactive so there are some skills you can learn that you can apply anywhere. An example of this would be to communicate with fellow gamers improving your grammar, but most of all thinking for yourself and sharing your opinions and becoming closer as an on-line community. In the present there is more discord than ever and we can thank the gamers for that.

The reason companies are able to get away with making low quality games with bad storyline is because as you suggested these companies already know that the gamers that play now only care for instant gratification. That's why now days the games that go viral are the ones with very nice effects and graphics but lack a proper game play and storyline. Usually the end result is that most people will leave the game within a month because there's only so much your brain can handle.

I play games to get an experience, to learn and to better my self. But it can become quite hard to remember why we began in the first place when most gamers have become very shallow and are losing out on the real experience. There is too much pride in games now, and pride comes before the fall.

If we want to take the gaming industry back to what it once was, we as gamers need to employ standards. As long as we do not do this, games will continue to get worse
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