When I play a video game, I often like to think of my character as an extension of myself, building and playing in a way I feel I’d behave were I actually in that game’s world. This leads to a lot of introspection (too much) and attempts to classify myself within the game’s confines. This itself leads to deeper issues that delve into psychology, philosophy, and more.
For example, one of my favorite Twitch streamers, Bajheera, is a warrior. It’s his main character in WoW (his main game) but also in literally every other game he plays. The dude loves warriors. Whether it’s just his preferred playstyle in-game or he feels it represents him IRL only he knows, but I tend to think it’s the latter, since he looks like this…
I often wish I had this level of self-awareness. I’m notorious for not knowing what exactly I like and generally liking everything. I’m too good at seeing both sides. “The grass is always greener”, you know? Except my grass is just as green as the grass over there.
But why? Why do I care what I play? It’s a game. And I think what it comes down to is the thought that if I can classify myself in one game and eventually across all games, I’ll have an easier time figuring out who I am and what I like out here in the real world. I’m 25. I’m still figuring this whole life thing out. Maybe if I can do it in even one game, it’ll provide insight into how to approach some of the very real things I deal with in my everyday life.
This is the thinking that’s dictated a lot of my in-game choices and why I’ve always had such a hard time sticking to one character in games like Skyrim or WoW. The grass is always greener, and I can always see myself in a different light that lends itself to a different class. However, I’ve only recently discovered something magical. I like playing girls.
That’s right, I’m one of them, but not for the reason you think. Usually it’s “I’d rather look at girl butt than guy butt”. I’m not saying I wouldn’t, but my primary reason is actually the opposite of what most people look for in games: connectivity. Playing a female disconnects me from the game in what I think is a healthy way. Playing a beast (Khajiit condones you refer to him in such a way) achieves a similar result. I feel the way I’ve approached games in the past is unhealthy, trying too hard to connect them to my real life, to the point where they were no longer fun. Sometimes I wouldn’t even play, like I discussed in my article last week.
All that said, I can figure out what I prefer just by looking at playtime. Support, as it happens, is my favorite role in any team-based game. I love these types of games, and I prefer playing the support role in my team, sticking to the background and keeping everyone alive. And in games like Skyrim where there isn’t really a healer, it’s all up for grabs. Sometimes I’m a mage, because that’s what I think I’d actually be in a world like Tamriel. Sometimes a thief, because that’s what I think I’d want to be. Sometimes a warrior, because it’s fun to pretend. I enjoy all of these characters and playstyles, and in fact, my main in WoW for many years was a druid, conveniently combining all of these into one. Plus, I got to be a shapeshifter, which is most definitely my Harry Potter power of choice. Go Tonks.
Sometimes you need to take a step back. Games are my main hobby, but they aren’t my life. Nor do I want them to be. For me, games are games for games’ sake. Got that? I’m here to have fun and play with my friends. I’m done looking at my life through a screen. I’m done connecting every little thing I do in-game to who I am as a person. I’ll figure that out out here. In there, it’s just me, my boys, and my girls. And Kajhiit, who resents you save him for last.