Do You Have a Gaming Philosophy?
We all play games for different reasons. Some will argue that “fun” is the common factor that unites all gamers, but it’s an extremely subjective term. I would argue that we all experience fun in our own way and therefore it is not a universal experience for all. The things that I enjoy in a game and that motivate me may be the complete opposite of the things that you like. It is our individual personalities and personal tastes that shape our motivations, causing us to gravitate towards certain genres of games as well as types of game play.
Our relationship with games is also affected by other factors. Time, money and even our personal morality all play a part in the way we perceive games and how we approach them. The rise of multi-player and social gaming in recent years has added yet another layer to this complex system. I therefore thought it would interesting to see if I could try and quantify my personal relationship with gaming. So here is a summary of my personal gaming philosophy. It’s fairly straight forward and not profound. But it works for me.
I play for mainly for entertainment. I like a good story and the vicarious thrill of shooting stuff and blowing crap up. Gaming shouldn't be a chore. Therefore if you do not enjoy a particular game then don’t play it. It’s your leisure time, why waste it?
I am a lazy gamer. Although I like a modicum of a challenge, I don’t want to have to jump through too many hoops to get the job done. Nor do I want to read an immense tome of instructions or learn excessively complex skills. I have to do that already in real life but at least I get paid for that. I certainly do not want such activities in my leisure activities.
I like games that offer different skills levels. I don’t like it when the learning curve has some rogue peaks in it. Getting stuck at a specific point is lazy game design in my view. Choice is king as far as I’m concerned.
I see games as a simple business transaction. Games are a business transaction and as such should be subject to all the usual consumer legislation. Gamers should not be exploited by the publishers and vice versa. I don’t like a high degree of gated content in games. I have paid for an experience and therefore expect to be able to access all relevant content within the confines of the game mechanics.
I play for my own pleasure and do not consider my in-game achievements of any significance outside of their own context. Outputting 11K DPS in STO says nothing about me as a person or reflects any prestige or merit. I wouldn't big up my gaming on my resume and don’t buy into that theory that gamers are all misunderstood minor deities and geniuses.
Game developers are not social workers or rock stars. The guys and girls that work in the gaming industry are not trying to develop some utopian meritocracy. Some may have aspirations of art but this is often tempered by the fact that they are working in a competitive industry driven by financial imperatives. They are not your friend or your enemy.
I like to play both solo and with groups. There are times when I want to play socially and then there are times when I need to play socially (IE I cannot do something alone and therefore grouping is a tool). There are also times when I want everyone to fuck off.
Treat other players how you like to be treated yourself. Courtesy goes a long way in gaming. Conduct yourself with decorum. Remember that chat can be switched off and problem players can be put on ignore. It is also important to take a stand from time to time. Call people out if they cross the line and never feel bad for reporting someone if they have clearly broken the TOS.
Gaming is just one of the things I enjoy. I like games and facets of gaming culture. I like to interact with the gaming community. However it does not define me. There are times when I will happily ignore gaming and focus on some other leisure activity. Everything in moderation as the expression goes.
I'm sure there are gamers whose personal philosophies are at total odds with mine and my foibles are a complete anathema to them. However there is no right or wrong when it comes to gaming philosophies (with possibly the exception of the “don’t be a dick” rule) and it really comes down to doing what is right for you. It can also be beneficial to take the time out and to actually clarify your own personal approach to gaming. It may well allow you to make better decisions about how you spend your leisure time.