For fun? Escapism? Comfort? To be social? None of the above?
What games do you play to scratch that itch?
Different games for different reasons. "Fun" is kind of an all-ecompassing term that sort of fits the bill. Or maybe "entertainment" is a better choice. But those aren't always entirely fitting. Like I am playing the Last of Us Part 2 right now and I would not call the experience fun. But I guess it is entertaining so there you go.
I think the biggest thing I am missing that I want is the "social" aspect. Like I watch Vinny and Brad playing Astroneer or the whole crew playing Minecraft and I just want to find that. But the few people I am close to don't really play games. And on top of that coordinating schedules is an issue. I know Minecraft servers exist but those have so many people that it doesn't really feel like the same thing to me. I have been wanting to play a multiplayer farm on Stardew Valley for a while but even the people I know who play that and I have asked don't seem super interested in organizing anything so it kind of sucks. I miss playing games with other people.
It absolutely depends on the game. I'd argue that most games are some form of escapism, but why I'm drawn to a particular game differs. Sometimes I want to immerse myself in a world and story with interesting characters. Sometimes I want to walk into a dungeon, mash some buttons, and see how fast I can make a bunch of mindless enemies explode in a shower of gold and items. Sometimes I'm doing either of these things to be social. Sometimes I put on a game--most recently, Hardspace Shipbreaker--to relax and decompress.
I think some of the...value(? meaning? impact?) of a game comes after the fact. I played BioShock Infinite because I love that series. It took me until some time after I played to fully assimilate it and become aware of how that game impacted me emotionally and helped me understand my own relationship with crippling guilt.
I don't engage with any other art form for only one reason, and I don't think games should be limited to a single reason, either.
@insomniak08: The problem with getting older and taking on more responsibilty is finding time to play with others.
I'm on the other side of that coin, most of my gaming pals fell off years ago, it's just me holding the torch for now.
If it wasn't for the bombcast game discussion and new games coming out, I probably wouldn't play games at all, other people's excitement for games really keeps the flame going for me.
@diamond_lime: I think one thing you didn't mention here is the ability to be creative. On PC and console there are many outlets for creativity whether is making a lava castles in mincreft or entire games in dreams. I'm juggling a handful of games between between four or five day gaps of not playing anything at all and the games I tend to play recently are survival crafting game with machine building at its core.
I would regularly come up with a new way to deal with a problem in the game while at work or fixing something at home. Then when I have time I would boot the game up and build the machine as I imagined it. A fully realized contraption that satisfies a part of me that wished I had the tools and the space to build stuff like wood workers like Vinny or tech heavy "makers* like Adam and Norm at Tested.
@merxworx01: That's actually something that didn't even occur to me, but you're right, using games to be creative and expressive, and even problem solve, is definitely a reason to be drawn to games.
I'm currently playing Concrete Genie, and although it does use predesigned templates, I do feel like i'm adding abit of creativity to it myself.
I play games to stop thinking, which has good and bad aspects.
There are some games that engage all of your senses, all of your thoughts: like a grand strategy game, or a 4X, tactical turn combat or a systems heavy sports game that requires you to think about the control imputs, the tactical considerations, the state of the game, the animations, etc; (Weirdly enough, I don't play fighting games) thinking about all those things exempts me from thinking about anything else
I have a lot on my mind all the time, and I have a hard time compartmentalizing my thoughts, so I get overwhelmed by them; in that regard gaming is a form a meditation and an important part of my mental health.
On the bad side it functions like a drug, if I get anxious I turn to gaming to push my axiety back, however, there are some problems that have to be adressed to get past them, or things that I want to do but require more metal strain. Gaming can lead me to procastinate, and often times I have to make a concious effort to pull myself out of that bubble of comfort.
They’re fun, they’re a great way to socialize with friends I can’t see in person, they’re a source of bonding and relationship building with my SO, they let me vicariously do and experience certain things I’ll never be able to do in reality, and (some of them) make me think and reflect in ways that other media never has done for me.
I sometimes need things to occupy my mind and many games allow me to build, solve puzzles and see positive outcomes from my work. Real life often cannot provide such things all the time. Playing games allows me to stretch my 'creativity' muscles.
I'm one of those crazy people who even in CoD WW 2 enjoys the creative aspects.
I made all these by hand, including a Tartan using 36 layers of lines, boxes and bars. Making stuff like this is what "I get out of games".
I play games because I enjoy systems. I'm aware that alot of great people are putting little nods (especially achievements and trophies) to me the player. I appreciate when a game like Sim City lets me build, build, build, and then destroy. Games are a two way conversation between an artist and a patron. Expected systems, unexpected systems, innovative systems, and progression systems that recognize the multitude of ways a game can be played. If you can put a story on top of your system, then great. If you're game is all systems like Geometry Wars or the brilliance of PUBG then i'm all in. I'm starting to see too much repetition in systems over years and i'm looking at my last will and testament for gaming.
I think gaming, in my youth, was the best use of my money and time. $60 on a game meant that weeks of what i will call downtime could be filled with a game, never a dull moment. I've got enough to do now that $60 isnt a significant amount of money and i've got more money than time so that driving forced has completely flipped. Now i seek to play games that will get the most bang out of my internet buck in that there are articles, interviews, and message boards to find every angle and take that agrees or conflicts with mine, which leads to internet screeds. Which serve nobody but are fun. I'm over that.
During quarantine i appreciated videogames. Now, post quarantine, I'm ready for this chapter of my life to end. I've come to appreciate the discourse that videogames offer, like the 5+ hour last of us 2 waypoint spoilercast or the hours i spend logged on to podcasts here at Giantbomb. After looking at all the E3 video substitutes for actual presentations i think ive come to realize that i enjoy the hype cycle and spectacle of the videogame superbowl. Watching videos realy dulls the appeal.
I've given VR a fair shake and since i wear glasses and really don't like closing myself off to the world and Resident Evil 7 absolutely terrified me in VR i'm not participating in that next phase of gaming. Traditional gaming has become what cellphone game was, a novelty where i was amazed at the possibilities. We are now within the possibilites and ive been there done that. I wont be participating in the PS5 or Series X ecosystems. I can't even imagine marginally improved gaming on those things for 7 or so years.. on those gaming systems.
@fourthline: My GB Avatar is a Japanese painting of a house cat who is a practitioner of Irezumi - Japanese tattooing. It is by teh artist Kazuaki Horitomo Kitamura.
I just like the imagery.
But, you are right, I should find a more substantive way to be creative in games somehow. :-)
Why do I play the video games, I ask? I play because I was introduced to them at a fairly early age, and I stuck with them for the challenge, even if they weren't fun.
That and they helped me, and continue to help me escape from and cope with life. I say cope but what I actually mean is avoid.
Another reason would be because I get a buzz from playing some games, others have mentioned addiction, I wouldn't rule that out. "Just one more turn".
Tough Question, In order of importance to me:
New Mechanics or interactions - give me novel ways to interact! give the game new ways to respond back!
Audio Visual Art and Vision - like any other art, I like to explore all of these different art styles, music, creative vision. This is kind of why, just how art can never get boring, games will never be boring to me
Level / Progression Design - design me something bespoke, be inventive, make me look in different directions
Challenge / Skill / Puzzle - work for ah-ha moments, give me a learning curve, consume ALL my brain energy, inspire focus
Storytelling and Player Agency - Give me a story I can shape and make my own, give me agency
World Exploration and Discovery - I want to feel like I personally discovered this new world and feel compelled to explore it out of my own free will at wanting to see "what's over there"
Is it bad that a lot of games I've played recently are NOT listed as exemplary examples of above? No. I don't think so! I think the best games have all of those in different quantities... I've been playing a lot of Retro games that are kinda bad but at nominal levels of a lot of above, there's many games on my 2019 GOTY list that aren't listed haha
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