One thing that I never mentioned in all this slew of realizations is that I think what made them possible was being able to get away from a lot typical things that I normally do. I mean for those people who know me, I love games, especially massively multiplayer games. I’ve always believed that games have the possibility to teach us things about ourselves by giving us a different perspective or viewpoint on things that we might not otherwise had the chance to experience.
At the same time, however, games can both be a real time waster and also muddle your head with so many extraneous thoughts that you often become dazed to other things. I mean some games today are so complex they are almost like jobs, so much so that people are almost always deep in thought trying to figure out new strategies and ideas for the game (i.e. economy, combat, etc). Nothing wrong with that, if that is you actually get some enjoyment from it and it doesn’t become overly stressful to the point you’re no longer having fun.
For me, last month I decided I had enough of the World of Warcraft. I was just going to take a break till the new year but since I’ve been off, I’m not really sure I want to go back now. In addition, I had been playing Team Fortress 2 as well on the side. What started out as a fun silly game (i.e. Incredibles style) become very stressful, violent and aggravating, especially since it requires a high level of teamwork to pull off. Therefore as of last week, I’ve uninstalled both of these games off my computer.
Last but not least is EVE Online. I wasn’t playing it but decided to try it out again after removing WoW from my computer. While it is definitely much more relaxing to play then WoW and Team Fortress 2 (especially since I’m not really interested in the combat aspects of it), I noticed a reoccurring pattern happening again with it, similar to other games. What pattern? Well like with Team Fortress 2, I wasn’t really having any fun. It just seemed like an endless grind, more than anything.
I mean don’t get me wrong. EVE Online’s visuals like the World of Warcraft are extremely beautiful and many others obviously find the game very enjoyable. For me though, something was missing. It just seems like so many games today are focused too much around loot (i.e. making money or obtaining equipment) and skills (i.e. leveling) with very little focus on what I value the most, the experience (and ironically I’m finding our culture is imitating this). I mean I keep thinking back to many of the fantasy and science fictions books that I read earlier in my life and I keep wishing to find games that give some sort of emotional connection with the experiences within it. So far, especially with massively multiplayer games, I’m not seeing this. With earlier single player games I played though (even text based games like Zork), it was possible to achieve this as these games were often very cinematic, like reading an excellent novel or story.
So am I going to go back to single player games? Not sure. For now, I’ll keep EVE Online installed but not sure how much I’ll play it. If anything though, and I’m sure this will sound somewhat strange, I’m more interested in playing around with my site. Like a game? Well sort of. You see before when I wrote in my journal frequently, relaying stories, it enabled me to interact and share things with others which in turn allowed them to interact and share their stories with me. Therefore, in a sense this site became an interactive environment to communicate and share experiences with others similar to how games are interactive environments to allow people to communicate and share experiences online as well. Again for me, the most enjoyable aspect of this interaction is the emotional connection between myself and others who can relate to the stories in my journal.
So in a sense, could you say I’m starting a new game called Life? Not sure. I’ll let you know when I level up though. 🙂