On a side note, I’ve just realised I should probably put a little more thought into my titles.
A lot of people don’t understand gaming as a hobby. So often, my parents, friends, relatives and even just assorted people express disbelief at how my Waste-of-Time hobby is helping me. One particular event comes to mind: I was playing Call of Duty 4 on my trusty Playstation 3. It’s the flash-back sniper mission; basically, the very end of the level sees you holding off a massive force of assorted Soviet “terrorists”. Simply put, it was not a good night for me. It’s probably about the time I wandered (rather casually; or perhaps obliviously) into a nest of the buggers, and was promptly turned into an attractive display case for Soviet-made bullets. I did the gamer’s flail (you know, the one where your limbs go limp and your face becomes enraged/saddened) and not-so-silently seethed at this stupid game. Upon selecting “Restart” for the umpteenth time, my father asked me, “If you keep dying, why do you bother playing?”. It was probably more his way of an insult (Good old Dad) than an actual philosophical question, but it still made me think. And as I once again got shot twelve hundred times with a semi-automatic, I had to ask myself. In my entire life of gaming, there’s one game I’m yet to do well in. I’ve been trying it recently, and if I ever get to a reasonably successful state of gameplay, the internet will be the first to know. Anyway, the game’s Simcity 4.
Although the damn game is 5, almost 6 years old, I can’t quit it. It calls to me late at night, when I’m trying to sleep. “Beeenn,” it sings; “Come play with me. Come make a city in your image. Name it Healeyville…” And even though I resist, saying “It’s too difficult”, I always end up building a crappy railway system in a crappy industrial zone hoping to get my crappy city’s population over 1000. I played it last night, you know. For a minute, I was confident. My rail system was working, for Sim’s sake. I was balancing the books just right.. And then it happened. I got greedy. I tried to build an education system. Within minutes, all my money was gone. “I hate this game” I said to myself, before trying the damn thing again. Why, then, do I play this game; or indeed, any game? Easy.
I know, I know, it sounds immature. But why else would I do it? Storyline, maybe. Characters, not a chance. In every game I’ve played, despite how drawn in I am by graphics, plot, or…. physics, the need to win keeps me in. Maybe that’s where a lot of the criticism of the internet culture was born. I have one friend (Who will remain pretty nameless) who is obsessed with online FPS playing. I must admit, I was the one who first told him about COD4 (a relative favorite of his), so maybe this monster is my creation. Still, I’ve seen the change it had on him. He’s become obsessed with winning in his games. I didn’t actually believe in the stereotype, but now I’ve seen it bloom. In my short stint of playing Counterstrike: Source, I encountered the stereotypical online competitive gamer. “Fag” to them is a noun, pronoun, adjective and verb. That’s probably just one indication of their bloodthirstiness. In short, they (which now includes my friend) are the dark side of winning. Though the definition of “Hardcore” is probably for another study session, so I think I’ll wrap it up. Winning is often what brings gamers together. Though once in a while it’s important to remember the desire to win is often what breaks gamers apart.
Anyway, back onto my point (Which I was informed I sort of missed). Let’s get back to that Simcity 4 game. SimCity 4 is a good example of my answer as to why I love gaming. Despite the fact SimCity 4 breaks my morale at every chance, I keep going back to it. As I said, I want to win. Though (and here’s the crux) if a game isn’t fun, I won’t be playing. Yeah, I love gaming because its fun. Who’d've seen that coming? And maybe (Like so many people) I love a challenge. If a find a game fun, I’ll keep playing until it destroys me. Thus, you could probably simplify this concept to a formula of some sort. So I guess what I’m saying (In so many bloody words) is that so long as a game is enjoyable I’ll play, no matter how much I hate it. Here’s something I’ll admit: Despite the fact I own Crysis, I have never actually completed it. Why? It wasn’t that fun for me. Even though the challenge gave me something to reach for, the gameplay itself gave me no motivation. So here it is.
I play games to win them. I won’t play a game unless it’s fun, though. Ask anyone I’ve ever played Buzz with. Well, that’s that. Stay tuned for less majorly philosophical topics on gaming, and maybe I’ll call someone a n00b.