Saturday, October 29, 2016

Why do we play games?... Because they’re Awesome! Well that’s a wrap but, I guess that’s too short...

This question could probably get its own book. Some people play games for the god complex, how rewarding they are on their sheer competitiveness and not even impossible for some these to either overlap or not even apply to certain people. I Think you could argue there is a negative connotation with this question. No one asks why we read books, watch movies and listen to music but, at the same time you could just ask that about anything. I think I play games for three reasons. 

One: I think to get my mind off stressful events in my life. I have a lot of these stress events whether it’s every day craziness or something severe like my mother passing. Videogames have always been the solid pillar I could depend on. If you fail a test or have a bad week a videogame won’t judge you, it will subconsciously get your mind off of it. There is a story of a Saints Row 2 developer who received a letter from a fan saying he was going to commit suicide but after playing Saints Rows 2, it got him through that dark valley in his life and really turned his life around. I think that art has deeper impact implications on their fans than whether creators even realize it  and that is why I find that videogames don’t get enough credit in this regard. Sometimes in life people need to feel like the hero in their story and just not another average person in their real life. Danny O’Dwyer (The Best Video Game Journalist) has an internet show called The Point (The show delves super deep in game culture and what games have meant to him and dare I say the world) and there is episode called “Gaming Through Your Stress”. I re-watched this episode for this paper and my eyes got watery that didn’t happen the first time. I think that’s because I originally watched it before my mom past and now this message of having games getting though a tough time applies to me, in a much more meaningful way than I could ever had imagined.

Games aren’t just for kids, games have grown with the kids from the 80s and now as those kids are adults so are videogames their stories are getting so much more complex and in-depth. The average gamer is 31, no they don’t live in their parent’s basement. This gets to my second reason, that games are another world to get immersed into. There are times that I can lose hours to game, without even knowing it. I got the game batman Arkham Asylum for Christmas in 2011. I literally played it for 12 straight hours. I really did feel like I was Batman and I just have never been that invested into a movie or book, like I was in Batman Arkham Asylum. 

Games can take you to another culture. I plan on studying abroad in Italy and I think a lot of that has to do with games such as Ryse: Son of Rome; where I was Marius, a leader of a roman legion and we went to Rome back in its glory days and the game was and still pushed the tech back in 2013 and it’s was fantastical recreation of Rome. Another series that I think sparked me interested in Italy was Assassins creed. In that franchise you would play Ezio Auitore you guessed it an assassin in Renaissance Italy and they brought to life Leonardo Davin Chi or Machiavelli. As someone from Rural America this is a true portal to another culture or even another world. 

There are games like the Wolf Among Us that succeed this level of immersion in different ways such as storytelling and choices you make. In WAU you play Bigby wolf and he is wolf in the old stories (Little Red Riding Hood, The three little Piggy’s) and you now the sheriff of the refuge fables (all of the characters of the old stories) in New York. The Story is fascinating whether it be the stereotypes facing the wolf after his troubled past or even the redemption story that the games story arch takes. Marty Silva of IGN does one of the best video reviews of WAU and perfectly explains how the game can either send you a rush from fighting Fable towns worst baddies or make you ponder some of the choices you made that might not have been the best. WAU has choices in at set times and these choices affect the rest of game and it’s unique in the fact that this game is episode based and that makes it so if you buy at release, that you won’t see your choices for weeks or even months.  I think All of these games are great and there so many more that I could go into but, again I still got more paper to write.

Rewarding and Variety these again I feel are games strongest attribute.  There are games such as Sim-City that have the stories of people being played out to as a book but the interactivity of a videogame. There are games like Kerbal Space Program where you try to launch little green men in rockets to the moon. There are games that are some of my favorites that would make you think I’m a crazy person such Hotline Miami that is in my top ten favorite games. It’s where you are a serial killer in the 1980s and you where animal masks that give you superpowers and high octane music plays in the background and slaguter dozens of civilians. The game is bloody brilliant, also a great example of music, art, and gameplay coming together for an amazing combination. There is a game currently on steam where all you do is watch a floating mountain and you watch the wildlife live and die and the seasons change. It’s only dollar but, again I think it highlights the sheer amount of variety in games.  The other point I wanted to make is the reward you get in playing them.

There is a game that is called X-Com Enemy Unknown and it’s the greatest game of chess ever made, is the only way I can describe it. I have been addicted to it for the past two weeks. It’s not your typical shooter. A game where you are the commander and put in charge of defending Earth in its darkest hour and you and only you can stop this alien force. You have so many levels to this game but, you have to manage your bases resources. What to research next and the on the battlefield you control your troops that are highly customizable and you probably named them after your family members so you probably don’t want them to die.  This game is hard too. I have a total of over 80+ hours on both Xbox, PC and I still haven’t successfully beaten it. I’m very close to the end and after all of my hours of killing aliens and tactical failures hopefully we can finally overthrow these damn greys! I think this game especially appealing for a lot of reasons. I love the customization of it and how it really makes you think about your strategic choices you make. The countries funding X-Com project can also pull out and cause you to lose funding and that means you can eventually start to lose countries and you have to start making tough choices on which countries to help and in some instances weigh the risk losing a country. X-Com has something I like to call good stress where instead of being stressed about your usual life you are now stressed by X-Com aliens coming to your base and wrecking your hours of work. It’s good to have this good stress replace get your mind of your bad stress. This is similar to Danny O’Dwyer doing is videogame tasks instead of his real life ones.  
 Did I answer the question? I don’t think so, I don’t think it’s question that can be answered by one person or even several sources. I think I will keep playing videogames and I’ll keep writing about them, have a nice week Don.