The media likes to demonize games, citing some mass murder that was committed by someone who plays games? Well, I don’t agree that It makes me more violent, but it does change how one thinks. After playing dark souls, I’ve noticed that my whole disposition has shifted. I walk methodically, scanning my surroundings, assessing, judging. my eyes looking for danger. I walk with purpose, power. like a knight clad in steel. There is a name for it: the Tetris effect.
That’s just one example. I’m sure just about all of you have Heard of World of Warcraft? It’s practically gaming’s scapegoat, along with Call of duty. Because everyone knows that the only kind that exist are First person shooters.
Admittedly, I have never played either. I have, however, played many WOW clones, such the Star Wars: the Old Republic. Now, these games are all built around character progression. you start at level 1, with a stick and rags. and you grind your way to the top. do quests, fetch stuff, kill dragons, collect 20 boar tusks, what have you. and they give you rewards. Maybe a new weapon, a spell. It doesn’t really matter. but everything you do has a reward. And to get to the max level will probably take you weeks, if not months. and you want to do that as fast as possible, right? get those rewards.
So say a quest only gives gold and you have plenty of gold, and want gear so you skip it. But what is gear for anyway? What are we going to use gold for? Why did we seek that power in the first place? Do we really need another +100 attack damage? or a .49 attack speed buff?
Raiding in MMO’s is probably the worst example of this mentality. you get to the max level and finally you can participate in raid dungeons with groups of other players. In the raid zones is raid gear which you will never need unless you do the dungeon. So you raid in order to get gear to raid with. It’s baffling, right? circular logic. So if that is all the case, why bother with the notion of levels at all? it is really stupid. I like games that have that element of the now (a rare breed those are…) in them. Not the carrot on the proverbial stick waved in front of you. And that mindset affects you in real life as well.
And suddenly, I find myself looking at the most blatant perversions of our culture, made into a game. The now is sacrificed. they tell you: “oh, If you work hard now, think of what you can do when you get to the end“! What’s the point? many gamers end up asking. why do this, I’m not getting any new loot. but what is the loot for?
What happened to doing things for their own sake? Maybe the dialogue of the quest was funny and witty, or the storyline gripping. Maybe some of the abilities are super cool or Just wandering around a virtual world sightseeing for the heck of it. But once we get into this Reward-orientated mindset the world just starts feeling… Empty.
I really hate that feeling. That lack of contentment. I miss that magical feeling of walking the streets of another world. Seeing the farmers go about their days, or the hubbub of corusant’s cantina. All I can think about is Numbers. The magic is gone. I think the idea that Video games making people more violent or aggressive is a little bit silly, But I can’t deny that they affect the way we think.