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What is Gaming to me?

So many of you joining me in this adventure may, or may not be as emotionally connected to gaming like I am – and that’s okay. I think gaming is a medium, just like a book, movie, sports, or other various hobbies are. People view gaming with a one sided lens, and often the older demographic view it as a time waster, or something for children. I figured today I would take a look at, and give some examples of why gaming as a medium is good, but can be bad as well.

As with any other form of entertainment, gaming is just another form of medium where a consumer feels a sense of wonder, excitement, bewilderment, or emotional attachment. But wait, what can gaming do different that all the other mediums cannot? Interactivity – the ability to change the environment or story – the ability to get engrossed in something that is personally tailored to you through your own choices or adventures. While movies, books, and sports are all great forms of entertainment, gaming takes what they do, and enhances it by engrossing the actual person into the world and surrounding them in their own adventure, that feels like it’s their own personal experience.

Now, don’t get me wrong, not all games have a story, or maybe they’re competitive sports games – that’s perfectly fine too – these games take something as entertaining as sports and engross the player into them, letting them create their own entertainment out of something they already watch and enjoy.

So what makes gaming so good, that other forms of entertainment can’t really touch? That’s the ability to take on the role within the universe of which you’re playing – feeling like you’re the main character, and acting out in a set out universe that’s nearly identical to a movie. When I played Final Fantasy 7, which I touched on yesterday, I felt like I was Cloud as a 10 year old. I was this mysterious guy from SOLDIER acting out against ShinRa, destroying reactors, getting back at the man – then Sephiroth comes along and steals the show from ShinRa, and you, as Cloud, have an identity crisis, finding out who you really were/are. Just writing this gives me chills, I was so emotionally connected to this, when Cloud’s love interest was (SPOILERS!) murdered by Sephiroth I legitimately cried. That’s just how powerful this medium is.

Sure there are games like Fortnite where kids are getting addicted and playing ungodly amounts of hours, but not all gaming is like that, some has more substance than others. The thing about games like Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is the addiction to adrenaline, success, and our primal need to be victorious. These types of games (Call of Duty falls in here too.) feed into our brains, and take advantage of the human nature of competitiveness – they further this also by making games quick, easy to join, easy to group with, and fast drop in/drop out experiences.

World of Warcraft is another beast entirely, it is a game created with lore/story in mind, but the model is about self-accomplishment. Our need for the “next big thing” or “that upgrade”. Our primal need to get better, more powerful, feel stronger, that’s where World of Warcraft shines, because it has the ability to make us become emotionally attached to a singular character, and then through advancement, feel ourselves get stronger, always going after the carrot on the stick.

So what is gaming to me? It is a superior entertainment, that engrosses the player in a world, outside of their normal life, and supersedes stationary entertainment like books or movies. Games are literally interactive movies or novels, where you are the hero, villain, no-name guy – rising to do whatever the game is set out for you to do. Gaming is awesome, it is not just for kids – it’s something wholly unique to itself. Then there’s E-Sports… but that’s another talk.

TBG

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