Sunday, September 25, 2005

Why we play games.

Sorry, sorry, it's been a long busy weekend but I've finally managed to catch up on my sleep. Work is a sad few hours away though so it will be the same thing again next week I'm afraid with hopefully more energy and time available towards the end of the week. Today I will be exploring a little the reasons why people game in the first place. We've all heard what I think is stuff and nonsense about violent games breeding violence in society when the reverse could actually be true providing as they do an outlet for repressed emotions and instincts more suited to hunting Neolithic gazelles or outrunning sabre tooth tigers than modern life. There is a payoff for playing games; firstly during the game itself there is an adrenaline rush that replaces the thrill of the hunt and then when the game is won or a challenge overcome there's a lovely endorphin high that satisfies the latent killer in all so called modern humans. It's worth noting that during the eighties in my wannabe yuppie days the arcade centre near the office was full every lunchtime with suited minor executives playing the most frantic games they could lay their hands on in the name of stress relief. It worked and while I couldn't compete with the fit of the suit, the size of the salary or the car that was being driven I could more than hold my own when it came to the arcade lunch break, a fact that was no end of satisfaction to me despite the shortfalls in the other areas. Socially I was at the higher end of the pecking order as a result of my games playing skills, thus negating the need to fight to establish my place in the hierarchy as I would have had to several thousand years ago. This is amongst grown men, the social building skills are vastly different to those used by our ancestors but the instincts that go behind it are the same, often replaced by banter in modern society. Those instincts are also satisfied within a gaming community based on skill and talent rather than physical or intellectual prowess. It really is a great leveler the trick being to play to your strengths and to strengthen areas you are weaker in - just as our ancestors would have had to do when competing with other predators for food in the wild. Teamwork is not neglected either with many many games requiring a team effort in order to achieve an effect advantageous to the group involved. Thus are clans and communities embarked on major hunting or foraging expeditions of yore. Games have it all when it comes to simulating things we no longer use and I believe it was a myth to claim that any human society is non-violent in the first place. The large scale lawlessness that was recently observed in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina surely shows what a thin veneer we paint over the cracks we hide behind. Society has always been violent but games may be able to help to reduce that violence by answering basic instinctive triggers that become frustrated and confused if left unchecked.

20 Comments:

At 10:38 pm, Blogger dena said...

I've never been into gaming, but know several who have. Seems as though there's more of an addictive factor involved, than one of prodocing violence.

visiting from michele's

 
At 10:46 pm, Blogger gekke mum said...

here from michele's. interesting viewpoint. i don't think i'm considered a "gamer" since i limit myself to online scrabble. :) but i know a few guys who do, and they are gentle & sensitive fathers - not violent guys.

 
At 10:48 pm, Anonymous lisa said...

michele sent me. I haven't been here before, so I'll peek around a bit now.

 
At 11:27 pm, Blogger utenzi said...

Michele sent me this way, Fuzzback.

Ahhhh, the sweetness of rationalizing. What taste can compete?

 
At 11:27 pm, Blogger Carmi said...

I like how you've made your point. It's too simplistic for some people to claim that games = violence. The issue is so much more complex than that, and to blame the genre is a complete cop out.

Still, I suspect this is an issue that is going to be argued for years - and then some. Fifty years on, rock and roll and its progeny are still causing major cultural battles. So I'm sure video games will likely do the same.

Visiting from Michele's tonight. I like your blog-style!

 
At 11:55 pm, Blogger sophie said...

I'd have to agree with Dena about the addiction factor. I don't consider myself a gamer, but I have had brief addictions to some. Michele says hello.

 
At 12:42 am, Blogger R. Edmondson said...

Well, I would say it can be addictive. For me, some games do for a brief period. I must agree with Carmi, the issue of "games = violence" is much more complex than that - you don't just play games and become a threat to society.

 
At 6:13 pm, Blogger Writing idiot said...

why we play games hey!
i play for one reason. you can do things that you cant in real life. secret agent! yep you got it. illegal street racer, there you go. you name it you can proberbly find some form of game. does it mean its going to over flow into real life? not at all. if you cant decern between the real and a vid game then you already have psychological problems. do you become emersed in a game that the very thought of dieing becomes a personal pain. yes for some. i hated playing doom because i would jump through the roof when a demon came after me as i went round a corner. the other pain is the agony of lost hours by a silly mistake. i cant stand these people whosay that it effects people in real life, especially the ones who wont even look at a comp game let alone ever have played one. when i play a fps the last thing i think about when i come off is getting a gun and going shoot someone. you could say that going playing paintball is as bad. or going karting encourages speeding. please give us a break we just wanna play and relax and have fun.

wow i feel better now. go on slate me im used to it.
before i go fuzz please take a look at this. and be kind http://thewarriorsforgotten.blogspot.com/

 
At 6:45 pm, Blogger simply not edible said...

I'd have to fully agree with ghostwolf on this one. It is an outlet, and any normal, rational human being knows the difference between a game/book.movie and real-life. Notice how I grouped those three together there.

Personally, my gaming is mainly escapism. Or, more specifically, a way to go places where I can't go for real, and do things I'm unable to. Unwinding in a good game helps calm me down, and, if anything, thus actually prevents my rage from hitting the streets.

Even if I don't use the same games most people do to obtain this effect.

 
At 10:05 pm, Blogger Crazy Dan said...

Gaming has just become part of the culture. Have you read about the guy that was addicated to RPG's and to get rid of his Social Anxiety he is using that style to go out and meet people. He rewards himself for talking to people and stuff. I wonder how he rewards himself if he gets a cheap feel?

 
At 11:13 pm, Anonymous Archane said...

Hi, im an avid player of games, whether it be networking the old racing games (toca) or mmorpg (massive multiplayer online role playing games) such as "Planetside". this is a first person shooter that is just a never ending battle for supremacy...to find out more goto

http://planetside.station.sony.com/

have a browse at the screen shots, theres even a trial period for you to see if you like the game....it works out to be about £8 a month to play. if you do decide to play, there are two voice communication programs which are used to make the game playing a much more enjoyable experience (teamspeak, ventrillo) there are stats pages to see just how well you have done:

http://planetsidestats.net/top_performers.php

but unfortunatley these stats are not complete, as they do not how the amount of time sent playing or how many times you have been killed. so if any of you bloggers out there can sort out a way to show these it will show just how good a layer really is....not just how many people he has managed to kill....

 
At 9:17 pm, Blogger Professor Peach said...

They made killing and violence illegal. Now Man has to do something else with that part of his brain.

Be thankful for the game

 
At 3:14 am, Blogger Lish said...

Hi, thanks for visiting my blog the other day. My brother plays several games and is quite addicted to it. BTW, I believe I did see you on Desperate Housewives the other night. Why were you in the waste basket? I hope you got out ok.

 
At 6:22 pm, Blogger puremood said...

I game because I can - it isn't often but I enjoy it when I do it!

Hey, why for the past couple of days was I not able to visit you? I kept getting a forbidden page... Yikes. Haven't saw you around much, hope you're well.

 
At 7:21 pm, Blogger Writing idiot said...

yeh i got the forbidden server message too on some of the other blogs i visit. i thought it was my comp and ran every system check program i have. lol. wasted a day and it must have been a blogger problem. never mind.
chin up fuzz.

 
At 5:52 pm, Blogger Professor Peach said...

You using Firefox?

 
At 8:35 pm, Blogger Writing idiot said...

yeh why should i run blog in explorer? nice to hear from you too mate ;)
ive been to your blog six strings. nice drums there ;)
fuzzy wuzzy must be working hard his blogs not been added to for awhile now lol.
either that or he's got normal problems. either way keep hanging in ther mate!
wes say hi to FB for us from time to time.

was going to say watch the fuzzies!

 
At 9:31 pm, Blogger FuzzBuck Fuzz said...

Dena: - True. Any self-respecting game head is far too busy playing games to actually go out and mug someone.
gekke mum: - Scrabble? Class game. Sounds like an article for the future ;)
Lisa: - Have a nice stay :D
Utenzi: - Compete with rationalisation? Can it hold a game controller?
Carmi: - very thought-provoking comment. Is gaming the new rock and roll? (btw - your own blogging style aint half-bad either ;). Loved the clown.)
Sophie: - It's not the game itself we get addicted to but the release of pleasure chemicals in our bodies when we play it. The same chemicals that in neolithic times were released during The Hunt. Or at least that's my theory.
r. edmonson: - Yes, a highly complex issue that I've merely scratched the surface of here.
GW: - wow. There's alot in those few sentences. This could run and run. For now I'll just say that warriors looks excellent. Keep it up!
SNE: - Yes, my point exactly. We have the glands that produce the chemicals that lead to violence. If we use gaming as an outlet for that then no violence. Ok, it's hardly a foolproof idea, or even a new one, but I think is very valid.
Crazy Dan: - I think there's actually a whole gaming culture in itself (several, in fact) that effects (at least western) society as a whole. I reckon that that guy getting a cheap feel is it's own reward :D
Archane: - Yes, I will make certain to have a look at planetside (thx for the links). Good point about the stats thing too. Many games don't give complete stats, feels like another article coming on...
Wes: - true. Be thankful.
Lish: - :D Thnx for dropping by. It may well have been me on DH in the bin. (still waiting for the checque for that too...)
JPM: - I'm fine. The forbidden thing IS a blogger problem. It's happened to me once (today). How it was explained to me was that not every blogger server has every blog so when you get the forbidden message it's directing you to a server that hasn't got my blog on it. "Just hit refresh until it gets it right." was what I was told to do.
WI: - see above ;)
Wes: - ditto
WI: - yes, i've been resting on my (not inconsiderable) laurals whilst I get through a particularly trying time at work and in my private life. Unfortunately this means several things have been on hold. They'll be moving along again nicely "soon" though. (still working on that master plan, mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha)

(keep watching the fuzzies)

:D :D :D

 
At 9:12 am, Blogger Writing idiot said...

i had a thought today that goes nicly here. dont ask though how i came by the thought. everyone is hyped up about violent games and the possible effects it has, namely the production of killers. what about cartoons! yes you can name afew. the worst however has to be tom and jerry. any household item becomes a death weapon and to make matters worse my kids have been watching it since the age of two. put that in contrast to games and we gamers have nothing to fear. hurray for tom and jerry.

btw this is the edited version. the full version took on a life of its own lol.
are the fuzzies still blinking?

 
At 10:44 pm, Anonymous pyewackett said...

Why we play video games?

Fuzzbuck Fuzz kindly commented on my blog, so I took a peek at an interesting post with numerous comments on why we play video games.

I will not claim to know the answers to why video gaming has become increasingly more and more popular.

I would only assume that television has got worse over the years with the games industry has target audience has increased as a result. This combined with films industries increasingly larger budgets, with the films seeming to get worse with each re-make of a since by gone classic.

Computer games technology has improved over the years shall you be old enough to remeber the Spectrum's of yesteryear then over an incredible short period of evoltion. Pipe dreams of games designers from yesteryear are now possible today.

 

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