Fun and Games

Monday, July 16, 2007
Gaming, for me, is a form of recreation and escape. I hardly believe I would be classified as a "hardcore" gamer, nor do I think I really fall into the "casual" category, but in some strange nether land in-between. I know I will never be as good or skilled as many of the more experienced players, not because I don't want to be, but chiefly because I don't take it as seriously. I do want to be a good and skillful player, but there are limits to how much energy I am willing to devote to something I consider a recreational activity.

I'm in it for the fun. I'm in it for the stories. I'm in it for the characters. For me, now, the game provides a framework, a setting, a context in which other stories can occur.

I play to associate and spend time with people that I come to consider friends. I play to be someone other than I am. (Okay, we can argue that one at a later time. Yeah, yeah, I know how characters often mirror ourselves. Shush! I'm trying to make a point here.) I suspect if it weren't for role-playing, I would have left the game for something else a long time ago. If I wanted to just run around and shoot things and blow things up, I can go back to XBox Live and take out the Covenant on Halo night after night.

Mostly, I want to have a good time. I want to laugh, tell stories, crack (usually bad) jokes, and gain some XP and gameplay wisdom along the way. I think I'm a better player today than I was a year ago, six months ago, or even three months ago. Will I ever be as good as the best among you? Doubtful. Do I care? No. Because that's not my primary goal. Will I also ever be able to put in the hours that a lot of players do? Also doubtful. (This part used to bother me—a lot. People who I would team with would out-level me night after night until my character was no longer really a viable teammate. My solution: I try to keep a slate of characters of various ranges available so there's a high likelihood that I'll have one in the right level range. While this can play havoc with storyline RP, it seems to generally work.)

Why is all this important? Because I believe that how a player views their goals for the game colors how they play, who they play with, and how long they stay interested and active. For me, if I'm not having fun, then why the heck am I doing it?