Why Do We Game?: Pretty Boy Edition

Dark Souls II

Like Mangos and many of our fellow spoons, I too count the hours until I can race out of work to play video games. But I play games for a much different reason than my good friend. I have always had a love affair with gaming. And while I do love the community focus that Mangos details, I am much more in love with the countless stories that video games can tell.

Some of my favorite memories are playing NES with my dad, our favorite game was Star Tropics, we loved the feeling of adventuring through a new world with new stories to tell. This early experience taught to appreciate the worlds that video games create.  Although, I never thought of video games as an escape from reality, I always thought of gaming as a way to enhance my life.

Gaming took my to places that I never imagined and allowed me to exercise the imaginative parts of my brain. I played as many games as possible in order to experience as many different settings, characters, and problems as possible. Eventually, I was drawn to story driven games, such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which created a new world fully fleshed out with characters that seemed to come to life on the screen thanks to great writing, music, and art style. The genre first person shooters including Halo, Call of Duty, and one of my favorite games, Bioshock, are able to create worlds that make me want to explore and fully learn the story that they are trying to tell. Yes I am one of those gamers that actually wants to play through Call of Duty for the story.

I still play games without a strong story. Destiny comes to mind because while the game is a ton of fun to play, it still lacks a certain story element to keep me really engaged. Bungie created a great universe that I love exploring, but they did not fill that universe with characters that bring it to life. There are no Princess Zeldas, Master Chiefs, or Andrew Ryans with rich back-stories to really immerse the gamer in the universe. If the story is engaging than video games offer the opportunity to make me feel like I am having an active impact on what is happening on screen, which is something that the passive activities of film and literature can not offer.

Thus it should come as no surprise that my favorite game of all time is Mass Effect. What keeps me coming back to play through the entire trilogy multiple times? The story.   I became fully immersed in the universe that Bioware created. The characters, the setting, and even the music are so memorable and the action so fun to play that I cannot compare it anything else. I find myself researching more on the universe outside of the game, just because I want to learn more about the world. The games really made me feel like I was a part of a new universe that was mine to explore and interact with.

I love being drawn into a new video game because I become exposed to a new world with countless new stories to discover. Story driven video games force me to make connections with our own world and I feel enhanced by doing so. I love learning about Garrus and Liara of the Mass Effect universe the same way I love learning about the stories of real astronauts and explorers. I am drawn into the rich history of Hyrule in the same vein that I love the learning about the rich history of our own planet. Everyone has a story to tell, and being able to experience a story through a video game character makes the experience even more immersive.

I play games because I love stories. How about you?

Spoons up,

Jake aka prettyboyplaid
P.S. thinking about changing my Gamertag to Big Spoon any thoughts?

P.P.S. I wrote this article while flying on a plane high above the United States, how cool is that?

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