Time has passed since my first part in this “series” of posts and my perspective on why do we play games has changed somewhat, so forgive me if you were expecting to see direct a follow up that continued on the same tangent. Making a list of the most common reasons for why we game was the original plan, but I no longer desire to invest my time in that thought process. Simply because I don’t think it’s what I should be focusing on when I design a game, not for now at least.
Anyways, let’s move on to the subject at hand:
Why do we play games? Well, to have fun, to forget about our boring lives, to relax, to test our skills, to frustrate ourselves on purpose, to compete with others, to get our hearts pumping, to get frightened, to feel like you are on top of the world, to learn how a system works, to play, to think, to experiment, to enjoy the feedback, to be a child again, to express ourselves, to create.
And I bet there are a lot of other reasons that escape me at this moment. There is no answer to the question, or rather, there’s no finite answer. We all play for different reasons. We all play for millions of reasons. Then, wasn’t the question pointless? Of course not. It’s an excercise in self-discovery and analysis. Some of us are better at it, some are worse, and I’m not too sure I’m any good at it.
There is no shocking truth here and there is no obvious answer. Well, of course if you go asking around, then probably “to have fun” will come out as the most popular answer and “to escape from this horrible reality” a close second, but those are popular for a reason: They are the first things that come to mind. They are as generic as they can get. They don’t require any kind of deep thought process.
Ask anybody why they watch movies, read fiction or go to the theatre and you are probably going to get the same answers. What does that tell us? That we don’t think about these subjects for too long. Maybe it’s because it makes us uncomfortable, maybe we think we already know the answer or maybe we just don’t care.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and smell the flowers.