Why do you really play?
Sure, games can teach us a few things, but I've been reading a few articles today that suggest that we don't game just for fun and learning. In brief, these wiseacres have decided that what gamers really like is derived senses of freedom, accomplishment, and community that games can give.
I can see these as being true, but I thought I'd provide counter-examples, just because I'm a jerk.
- Freedom: The amount of freedom in the most open-ended games (e.g., Elder Scrolls) can get to be too much. In fact, I tend to wander off in most RPGs that will let me, and seldom finish. I guess they're fun for a while, until I realize I'm lost. I guess my favorite games (KQ5, for example) tend to find a sort of mediated freedom. I can wander around and maybe do things in different orders, but I don't get lost or have to spend hours retracing my steps to sell meaningless items I've stolen. (:wink:)
- Accomplishment: I guess I'd agree if I beat more than 5% of the games I've played.
- Community: I guess most of this has been said before. I tend to play solo. When I play with friends, it's with them in the room, generally. Otherwise, it's because my dad is better than the cheap AI in most war games.
I might add what I think are the reasons I play. Avoiding the word "fun," I would boil it down to learning and escape. I get home from work and, beautiful city that Chicago is, generally want to be somewhere else for a while. Walk through a Moongate, if you will. Besides that, I like putting myself in other people's shoes and experiencing things that I wouldn't otherwise. I don't often get attacked by daemons on Mars or ...bake bread instead of saving the world. I certainly don't hack at dark elves with broadswords or chainsaw aliens' faces as regularly as I'd like. I'm not sure I'd call many of those things "accomplishments," though.
So what do you think? Am I a statistical outlier? An oddly feminine (in gender theory terms, thanks) anomaly? Do you play games because it's easier than hanging out with analog friends? Am I completely misrepresenting the articles?