A non-gamer asked me ‘What’s the point in video games? Why do you play them?’ and I was stumped as to how to respond. Not because I couldn’t think of any good reasons, but rather because I didn’t know where to start explaining just how awesome-tastic gaming is. I could go on for hours about gaming. In fact, I regularly do!
The conversation gave me the idea to try to narrow it down to just the basics, so, in no particular order, I’ve tried to do just that!
Chances are, like me, you’re not a rock star musician or an action hero superstar, and If you were to grab the nearest available sword, start running around your home village smashing all the clay pots and stealing all the money the police would probably want to have a word or two with you.
Video games, however, allow us to experience things we just can’t do in real life. We can escape from the hum-drum of reality, and have magical dragon-slaying adventures or explore alien worlds and shoot all the lifeforms we find there (because they’re probably going to eat us otherwise, right?). They’re a very effective means of relaxing and forgetting about our real life issues for a little while, and who doesn’t need some down time every now and then?
To varying degrees, everyone likes a challenge. There’s something incredibly satisfying about beating a level, puzzle, enemy or what-have-you after it’s beaten you for so long.
A good, challenging game keeps us coming back for more; honing our skills, perfecting our timing and strategies until we can, finally, overcome that one obstacle, that one wall that we’ve been hammering ourselves against for so long- and that is a great feeling indeed.
Games are, by nature, interactive. That’s a given. They are however also a (relatively new) medium for expression. There’s some great stories that have been told through video games. Of course, not all games rely on story, and that’s fine too, some don’t need to to entertain us. Some games though focus entirely on weaving a great story around us and immersing us in it, leading us through a mesmerising and memorable tale we won’t soon forget.
Through video games, we can experience stories of being marooned on a mysterious island inhabited by strange cultists, saving mankind from alien invasion and even solving the mystery of the Origami Killer.
I love reading books and watching movies, but games can deliver stories in ways truly unique to the medium.
Thankfully the stereotypical image of a gamer as a fat, lazy, social misfit hiding in the depths of a darkened room glued to a tv screen is eroding fast thanks to the explosion of gaming in recent years.
Games can be a social experience in themselves, with millions of players able to join in and interact with each other.
Friendships are forged (and sometimes tested!) by video games. People are constantly meeting new people, making friendships and even falling in love through the ever changing and diverse world of gaming.
There’s always something new going on to talk about, whether it’s an epic moment from that game you just played or the next console generation and it’s obsession with share buttons.
Everyone likes it when they win. Even someone like myself, who doesn’t consider themselves that ‘competitive’ still feels that little surge of excitement when they triumph. There are many games built around this premise, from first person shooters like Halo and Call of Duty, to strategy games and everything in-between. With the internet being more connected and faster than ever, gaming has evolved and now entire sports are dedicated to competing in video games.
I could go on and on about gaming and how great it is, but I think these five points capture the main essence of just what makes it so. There’s countless articles about how bad gaming is for us and how it’s responsible for global warming (well, maybe not), but It’s my philosophy that gaming is just another part of life, be smart with it and have fun!