Why We Play

I’ve had a whole bunch of ideas floating around to write about for a while now. One thing that really interests me is how certain game mechanics operate on the mind of the player to keep them playing the game. It tickles the pop psychologist inside me. Understanding what makes people do certain things and act certain ways fascinates me and video games do an excellent job at moulding and directing our behavior. That’s not what this article is about though.

I play a lot of video games in my spare time (shit really?!) so I’d often find myself thinking about this topic while in the middle of a game. The more I thought about it the more it started to bum me out. Is the only reason why I’m sending Geralt off to end another Griffon just the manipulative machinations of a bunch of coders tuned in to the psyche of their target audience?

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That heartwarming feeling was in the back of my mind when e3 rolled around last week. Now I’m a bit of a cynic when it comes to these big games conferences. Big flashy presentations filled with unbelievably high fidelity cutscenes and similarly unbelievable promises, so I try not to get too excited [read:”try”. I see you over there Square Enix getting all up in my childhood]. Well I was skimming through my youtube feed when one innocuous little 5 minute video unraveled everything.

Sorry about the pun (I’m totally not). Watching Martin on stage and following the goings on around him and his game have reminded me why I dig this medium. Here is a man who loves, absolutely loves what he’s created and getting to share it with people like us: people who will play it and write about it is one of the high points of his career, if not his life.

To me Martin embodies something great about this industry: passion  Martin’s passion is the same passion we share when engrossed in our favourite games. The moment to moment excitement of being in the middle of an unfolding epic or the exhilarating rush of that final frag is a feat that no other media can come close to attaining. That’s why we play. Not because the lights flashed at the right time and we got the right amount of gil but because people like Martin and his team have poured their hearts and souls into something for us to enjoy and I for one don’t plan on letting them down. Get out there and enjoy yourselves. Do it for Yarny!

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