Why do we play videogames? (An Article)

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Why do we play them?
The Archanist

A question was posed to me recently, by no one else but my girlfriend. She asked me a simple question, and the question was, “Why do you waste your life playing videogames?” See, it's no mystery to anyone who I know that I like to play videogames, fuck it, the majority of my friends have seen this first hand, witnessing the wrath that is me playing Super Smash Bros. But, even though I play videogames so often, I couldn't give her a proper answer at the time...
I started with just the usual, “They're fun, and a way to pass the time.” But, it's more than just that, videogames can't just be slated off as a 'pass-time', considering that I review them, they're more of a hobby, a passion, than they are a 'pass-time'. I could spend hours, days even, talking about experiences that I've had in videogames, whether it being killing the arch-dragon in Dragon Age: Origins, or planning and executing a grand-master plan in Medieval 2: Total War. Sure, a pass-time would give you something to talk about, like the last episode of one of those HBO series everyone seems to love (personally, they don't do it for me), but a pass-time shouldn't give you a bible's worth of content to prater on about like you haven't spoken to anyone in years.
Videogames give you a sense of achievement, letting you do the improbable, and often, the impossible with relative ease, from the comfort of your own house. You'd think me mad if I talked about stuff I've done in videogames like I did them in real life. “Wait, you're telling me that you went to rural Italy, to defeat the Templar threat against the world, by reforming the Assassin's Order?!” Someone saying, “Videogames are unrealistic, and that's why I don't play them.” would be laughed at. Of fucking course they're unrealistic, even ones that claim to be “historically accurate”. I mean, Jesus, I routed an army of 6,000 with only 300 men in the Total War series, but mainly because the AI in that game is horribly broken. An assassin from Jerusalem in the 1100s was able to develop the world's first pistol? Bollocks! The heroes of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms had the strength of 10,000 men? Bullshit! MY point here is, videogames give you that sense of achievement, by doing the impossible with your unrealistic upper-hand.
Videogames are art, they're beautiful, stunning, atmospheric, and, in certain cases, terrifying. Videogames are an artform, and people who say they're not are kidding themselves. Film is considered an artform, yet films can bet just as violent, grotesque and disturbing as videogames are. Just because it's a interactive media, doesn't mean that it's for kids and the older generation who play videogames are all just “nerds”.
All in all, to answer the original question, “Why do I play videogames?”. Well, my answer is, because videogames are something that goes much deeper than just entertainment. Videogames are a learning experience, I often find myself looking at buildings and thinking about how I could scale them, looking for hand-holds and areas I could jump to. They're engrossing, there's no better way to engage with a character when, the character is YOU. And, despite what I've previously stated, ultimately, videogames are entertainment, they're fun, you really don't need to say more.

Despite what having been said, Hywel “The Archanist” Griffiths would rather spend time with his girlfriend than play videogames.
Hywel "The Archanist" Griffiths
News Editor & Reviewer
I play games mainly to experience environments. For instance, I haven't played Red Dead Redemption yet, However after watching some videos on youtube of gameplay, I can tell you it is not long before I do. Or exploring the wasteland and vaults in Fallout can really be alot of fun, In my opinion, Due to all of the work that went into creating that particular atmosphere. If a game has an unrealistic feeling world, I usually will tolerate it if the game has acheivements worth unlocking. Which brings me to the second reason I play, And that is unlocking stuff. Sinking several hours a day into a game in order to obtain more points is really fun for me. They're like crack man, What should I do...Anyway, I totally understand you when you can go on about your in-game experiences...You have a passion for this, And you should be proud of that.
Last edited 03-04-2011 at 03:37 PM by JackCell.
i'd have to agree, i enjoy the immersion of a well-crafted game. it's always interesting to see the imagination of individuals translated into playable form.
i also enjoy the social aspect, though. when you sift through all the trash out there, playing all of these games with other people is a lot of fun, and it seems like we take it for granted now.
I play games cuz it helps me escape from the normal day to day life with working, paying bills etc, cant beat getting sum beers out and playing sum games.
I have burden of free times these days. I used play the video games in my childhood, its also the reason due to which i am playing the game.
I play games cuz it helps me escape from the normal day to day life with working, paying bills etc, cant beat getting sum beers out and playing sum games.
Originally Posted by Eaglet
I 2nd this. Since the introduction of gamerscore though, gaming had entered a whole other addicting level for me!

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