Why Games?

The cover image, Yo Videogames by Ry-Spirt was sourced from his DeviantArt page. Be sure to check out his awesome artwork! 

A question that often comes up in general conversation, about myself is why I play games? Not games in the sense of mind games, not board games but video games. While there are many philosophical reasons behind the escapist pursuit; my obsession with the interactive, visually magnificent time filler as a medium for entertainment stems from what I suppose is enjoyment.

Throughout my time spent on this big blue planet, I’ve been fortunate enough to own a variety of consoles; Sega Mega Drive, Nintendo 64, Playstation, Playstation 2, Gamecube, Wii, Playstation 3 and finally the Wii U as well as having owned every Nintendo handheld console since the yellow Gameboy colour. And now as an adult contented with such a diverse gaming history I find myself throwing my loyalty in with Nintendo (more on this later).

Mario Galaxy photocredit pixelkin.org
Mario Galaxy had players flying around the galaxy on the Wii. Photo credit: pixelkin.org

There are words spread far wide that break down the success of the Wii on its ability to bring non-gamers into the world of video games. However, I find myself a gamer obsessed with the slimline minimalist white box, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Bro’s, Mario Kart, Zelda Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword all deserve an honourable mention. So pondering over possibly my favourite console and the words dispersed about it; I can’t help consider how the games listed above appealed to these new and casual gamers. Those who support Nintendo in the hardcore sense, usually own the home and portable device and find the franchises listed hit the pinnacle of what they expect from Nintendo and are considered hardcore games.

Game Theory, a fantastic Youtube channel with in-depth theorising about video games and game culture!

One of the issues people usually take with my love of games; the fact that they a generally considered anti-social by the non-gaming community, many of whom I somehow befriended. Yet I find playing video games; especially Nintendo games to be the most social experience, at my disposal (unless you enjoy watching people read). Pour me a tall glass of red wine, sit back, relax and play an intense game of WiiPartyU with some friends… something I’ve actually done on a few occasions. And while, like most, I’m concerned that my Villager in Animal Crossing may have a better social life than me (that isn’t due to lack of trying). The world and the media are very dark, often playing games is easily the best distraction; which more and more people are discovering daily.

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Animal Crossing: New Leaf, the 3DS instalment of Nintendo’s life simulator. Photo credit: animal-crossing.com

Since the mobile revolution, games have become the quintessential mode of distraction with only the most hardcore of gamers and a horde of teenagers owning handheld consoles. All around us games are being played: whether its Clash of Clans, Pokemon, Super Smash Bro’s Wii U or Destiny. However, the bone of contention still remains: Why are you playing video games? and the stale arguments stick. Apparently there anti-social, geeky and my favourite meant for children. My personal favourite argument is the last; as if gaining maturity on a yearly basis somehow means forgetting your youth and disowning whatever pastime you feel in love with… because playing games aren’t as mature as watching soaps, watching movies or going out on Friday night and getting so drunk that you don’t wake up until Monday.

To answer the question with a question: Why not Games? This a medium which is taking over the world; videos games have become literature, art, music and education as well as a great way to escape… So why not?

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