Video Games: Why do we Love them? Why do I Love them?
“A well-designed game is a guided missile to the motivational heart of the human psyche.”
To me, the love for video games stems from the genuine love that people have to play games in general. Games have existed in human society since 5000 BCE. Knucklebones, a very simple game where you toss the knucklebones in the air, some drop and you try to pick them back up before catching the tossed knucklebones is one example. Other examples would be games like Senet, a board game which ails from 3100 BCE Egypt, Backgamon from 3000 BCE in Ancient Persia, GO from 400 BCE China, Mancala from 600 CE Africa and so on. (All of this information I learned when taking the course Games 101 in NYU New York’s Game Center and comes from a notebook of detailed notes I own from last semester.) Bringing it back to video games, I find that a large part of why people love video games is because they’ve been playing games for millennia! There are many other reasons that can be sited, of course, by different psychologists and websites regarding the topic.
A lot of websites generally point to the idea of “escapism” as the reason why people play video games- a way to push away the mundane life for a few hours and experience something new and more exciting. Other reasons are that, in video games, the more time you spent, the better you get, it is a topic of “competency- we all like to feel like we are good at something.” (Saville). A good example at that would be League of Legends or the Witcher 3.
Another factor of why we love video games is the “autonomy” we have in them. (Saville) Autonomy is the feeling that we are in control of what happens in the world, or with our character, are also a big part. It is freeing to be able to control everything perfectly because the video game world is based on code, unlike the real one. The Sims, World of Warcraft or Civilization would be a good example for this. There are only so many outcomes you can have in a video game.
Lastly, Mrs. Seville sites that “Relatedness” is a factor as to why people love playing video games. Communication is a need that all human beings have, and video games can not only satisfy that, they can go further beyond that! Through video games you communicate with likeminded people with whom you share a common interest, this the factor of “relatedness” is satisfied. Furthermore, people can also feel a relatedness to the characters they play through the dialogues, quests, visual representation etc.
My personal experience with video games started at the age of 10, when I walked into the PC room of my favourite hotel and saw this really cool 20-something year old guy playing a Draenei on Azuremyst Isle in World of Warcraft. I remember how shocked I was. What was this? Computers could create new worlds? I’d only ever seen them function with word documents before. I think that it was love at first sight, in all honesty. I’d seen the game that would change my future forever, and I still play it, 22 years later. I played the game for four summers straight and it brought me closer with all of my friends, who, at that time, were all boys. I am very passionate about videogames, because to me they are the ultimate mix of storytelling, graphics, sound, human interaction and technology. Movies cannot compare. There is something magical about the way video games have affected my life. It connects me with my best childhood friends. It lets me relate to my brother. I met my boyfriend through World of Warcraft. Video games have been the one constant through middle school and high school, which were a rollercoaster. I have a very strong relationship with them.
I’ve played too many games to count, but I will list a bunch just as reference: World of Warcraft, Heroes of Might and Magic 3, Postal 3, CS:GO, League of Legends, Hearthstone, Magic the Gathering, Teamfight Tactics, Total War Warhammer 3, the Sims 2, The Sims 3, The Sims 4, Sims Cities, Elsword, Pokemon (Every generation but Sword and Shield), Blade and Soul, Black Desert Online, Adventure Quest Worlds, Dragon Quest, Pokie Ninja, Crusader Kings 3, Diablo 2, Diablo 3, Devil May Cry 5, Aion, Eden Eternal, The Witcher 3, Warcraft 2, Warcraft 3, Divinity Original Sin 2, Hades, Street Fighter and so on and so forth. I really love video games.
Nowadays, I still play video games daily. I even stream twice a week on Twitch! I want to work in the industry because I have so many stories that I wish I could bring to life and make people as happy as I was when I first found out about Video games existing.
A game design idea that I would like to fulfill in the following weeks…I don’t know, I find that such a thing would be difficult as I am a very ambitious person, a perfectionist even. I’m not quite sure what would be possible for me to do. Perhaps an arcade came that simulates a pinball machine of some kind? If I simplify what I want to make all the way down to abilities I hope I can learn, I find that this seems the simplest. Otherwise I’d be making a 3D Open World Adventure Single-Player game if I had the knowledge and abilities.
Saville, A. (2019, July 29). Psychological Reasons Why Some People Play Video Games. Retrieved September 21, 2020, from https://www.psychreg.org/why-people-play-video-games/