Photo-Receptor Focus on: Why People Game
Everyone has different reasons why they play games and different reasons why they choose to play the types of games they do. This week I want to talk about why we game. What motivations are behind the hours we spend at the pc?
More after the jump…
I’m sure psychologists could probably give us a long dissertation on why some of us have a penchant for playing games. It would be an impressive, intellectual piece and have lots of big words and technical phrases that would be immediately understood by their peers.
Yeah, well, that’s not for me. Is it important that I understand exactly why I play? Nope, but I still find it an interesting exercise. So here goes.
First and foremost, I game for entertainment. I have fun following my character’s progression through quests, crafting and PVP. Is it a time sink? Yeah, probably, but so what? I’m having fun. And in the end that would be reason enough, but I have more.
Next on my list is the social interaction I have with other players. This is a biggie. Obviously, that means my game needs to be an MMO. Yep, SWTOR qualifies for that. I belong to a large guild and have tons of people to interact with. I have several awesome circles of friends within that guild: my ops friends, my hanging-out friends and my personal friends. I even have my longest gaming friend in SWTOR – finally – and only as of the last week. We’ve spent seven years gaming together.
Those three groups can overlap and they do. We chat on VOIP, some are even friends on Facebook. Those are the special ones, since that’s reserved mostly for real life friends. However, now I have several gaming friends from SWTOR on Facebook for the first time in my online gaming history.
Next up is something I’ve mentioned before. MMOs keep my brain working by figuring out the various puzzles in-game. From something as simple as the best route to sneak by mobs to the more complicated ops strats, there’s plenty to occupy brainpower. Keeping my brain young and functioning is super important to me. Having to think my way through situations challenges it. And accomplishing something that was hard is very self-satisfying. So what if it’s only a game? I still did it and that counts for me. Although, I admit I don’t try many strategies on the ops stuff, but I have spent hours figuring out how to jump for datacrons. Yes, even with the guides, it can take practice.
Another thing I’ve gained from gaming is bit odd. IRL, I get vertigo on edges. Heights don’t bother me, but the un-railed edge of something makes me very dizzy. Playing MMOs has improved that!
I remember one day of jumping for datacrons on Nar Shadda with Carla. We spent hours on beams and boxes and such. I would inch across beams, my hands sweating, my heart in my throat. Yes, I know I won’t really die, if I fall. And I fell tons of times and died a few. I may know intellectually that it’s ok to fall, but still my body doesn’t agree.
Anyway, I managed to get all of them except the last one. By then I was just mentally exhausted and it simply defied my abilities by that point. The thing is, I got the rest of them. In spite of the dizziness, which actually lessened as the hours went by. But here’s the cool part: all these edges in-game are actually helping me cope with edges IRL. And I think that is a very cool thing!
That’s my two credits on why I game. What’s yours?