20 January, 2008
Let’s go a bit more meta this week. Take a deep look inside you and figure out what gaming really means to you, both as a player and a designer.
Some thoughts after the jump.
This challenge is inspired by an article I read recently entitled, “Abstinence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder”. The author tried give up gaming for a week and it gave her time to realize what gaming truly means to her.
I thought about what gaming means to me. It’s more than just one thing to me, though. Sometimes I play a game to keep my mind occupied. Sometimes I play to spend time with my friends. Other times my gaming is work-related, something required to help me become a better developer. Sometimes I do find myself gaming out of habit, and sometimes I go with the flow since my work can sometimes really restrict my gaming time. It’s sometimes nice to slip into a few minutes of playing the DS or waving around with the Wii after a serious session of programming.
Sometimes games get a bad rap. Some might point to the author of that article and wonder, “Is she so addicted she can’t go without gaming?” I don’t think it’s merely addiction, however. A friend of mine thought it could apply to any media; my friend gets antsy if she doesn’t read a book for a few days, for example, but few people would consider that being “addicted to books.” (Most people probably wouldn’t consider that a bad thing, even if it were what they’d call it.)
I think understanding what gaming means to you helps you as a designer. It helps reveal some of your own biases. For example, since gaming is part of my lifestyle and because I use gaming as a social medium, I don’t mind things that other people might find excessively time-consuming. I like digging into algorithms and data, evaluating the “how” a game works behind the scenes. For these reasons, I tend to like more hardcore type games. On the other hand, my limited time means that I do have some motivation for playing more “casual” type games as well in small bites. These two motivations influence a lot of my work.
So, take a look at what gaming means to you. If you feel the need, feel free to post up a bit here in a comment. It might be interesting to see how designer types view gaming on a personal level.