GamerSushi Asks: Why Do You Game?

MGS 3 We’ve talked an awful lot on GamerSushi about our gaming preferences before, but I don’t know if we’ve ever asked you guys why you continue to play games, and what got you started on this beloved hobby of ours. I started thinking about this over the weekend while playing through the Mass Effect 2 Arrival DLC, and finding myself missing the Mass Effect universe all over again. It’s like putting on a favorite sweater once winter starts up again. It’s comfortable, warm and familiar all at once.

I’m at the point now where playing video games is as natural as the process of taking off my shoes and khakis after being in the office all day. Just as normal as getting up and preparing breakfast. It’s a part of my routine, inseparable from who I am as a person. If I didn’t have games, I simply wouldn’t be me.

When I consider why it is that I game, it ultimately comes down to escape. Not that I have anything about my life that I’m particularly disdainful of, mind you. I think I just love that feeling of total absorption, where I forget I’m sitting on the couch and playing Metal Gear Solid 3 for several hours straight. I enjoy the momentary flight to some place far away, whether it be a sci-fi world where I shoot aliens or something closer to home where I chase outlaws down on horseback. There’s something about that transportation that sinks its hooks into me and has never let go since I was a kid.

So what about you guys? What is it about games that you love, and that keeps you gaming? When did you first start? Go!

Written by

I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

9 thoughts on “GamerSushi Asks: Why Do You Game?”

  1. I grew up in the gaming culture – I learned to play games on an NES and SNES, and when my brother bought an N64 it was like heaven on earth for me. As games grew, so did I and I never gave them up because all my friends liked games too. Now I play partly as the reason you outlined, Eddy: Escape. I too am hooked in to a game that takes me away from this world, much like a good book or movie does, and I think that games should be respected more for that kind of power. One reason I love RPGs is that I’m given the opportunity to show off just how much of a badass I can be if I were only given the powers of a Biotic, or, you know, whatever powers are in the game I’m playing.

    I also like that feeling of victory you get when you beat a difficult game, and I like the challenge of more difficult games. But sometimes, I also play to relax.

  2. I game as a form of escapism (I too don’t have a disdainful life thankfully).
    I do enjoy the feeling of total immersion, both in the character and the game’s universe. It’s also just a fantastic way to relieve stress. BFBC2 with my friends never gets old, or any game with them probably due to that sense of unity we get. Great times. Also, when a story is good (RDR, ME2, Dragon Age, etc.) it feels so rewarding to have LIVED through it.
    Part of it may also be, as Adam Sesslar puts it, that you are the important one. You are the guy (or girl!) whom everyone (ie. the bad guys) want to stop from saving the world or even on a galactic scale or making the decisions that affect everyone. There’s that moment in ME2 where my decisions affect both my allies and galactic citizens or as Cole in inFamous my decisions could make me more powerful but would it be at the cost of innocent lives?
    Yea, so that’s why I guess. : )

  3. Great responses, here. I realize I forgot to put how I got started playing video games. It was a couple years after the Nintendo came out, and my parents bought it for me and my brother for Christmas. I remember my dad cussing over the instructions to get it hooked up, and once he did, we played all day with him. Over the years, it gradually sucked me into the mode it has now.

    El Kibblez mentioned playing games to relax, and that’s part of it for me, too. It’s crazy how relaxed I can be if I just get to play games for an hour or so each night. It really takes away a lot of stress for me.

  4. My first system was a N64, I was way late to the pack in terms of gaming. I had a gameboy before that (still got it, the old grey brick) and thats what I had as a kid. I played games with my cousin on the N64 and enjoyed games like 1080 snowboarding and LEGO Racers. Then came a PS2 which I got probably a year and a half after it first came out. The system that changed it all was the xbox with its online multiplayer. My gaming habits evolved with each system too. I played casually as a kid not really completing much on the N64. I tried to beat things like anyone did but it was never something I would consider hardcore. I moved on the playing bigger titles on the PS2 and would spend hours playing single player games on there just keeping myself entertained. Xbox brought about online gaming and I think shaped how I am as a gamer today. I love multiplayer, thats probably my biggest aspect about gaming.

    I think for anyone with an xbox there is one way to tell how you game and it sits on your gamercard. Mine says “recreation” on it. Now while most of my friends put “pro” on their cards I decided to put down why I game, for fun. I game, much like Eddy, for an escape;even though my life isnt one were I need to do such. I love to emerse myself in a game and become part of the story. They are games, fiction, fantasy, its great to get away in those worlds, much like reading a book. I love playing games where I get involved or ones that get me to zone out in their world (a-la Oblivion). But the other side to my reasoning is definitely a social one. I play with my friends who are spread out all over Texas and the US. Its a great way to get to have some fun with friends. I think if games didnt cary multiplayer aspects, I dont know how big into games I would be. Multiplayer for me is a very important par of why I game. I feel like its a great place to showcase my talents at titles and just have some competitive fun. Gaming is definitely one of my favorite pastimes and I think it will continue to be so for a long time in my life. I hope one day I can sit down with my kids and play games with them.

  5. For me, it’s a bit of a two-fold answer. I game because my dad taught me to. He brought home an IBM PC when I was 5, and while he did some word processing and other boring stuff with it, it was clear from the get-go that it was for playing games and generally tinkering around with. Over the years, we worked our way through text adventures and monochrome ascii platformers, to the early Sierra graphical adventures, to Civilization, Fate of Atlantis, and isometric RPGs. If he had lived to see Myst, he would have been completely over the moon. I do game for the escapism as well, for the rush of exploring alien or ancient environments, for the absorbing challenge of mind-bending puzzles and the unfolding joys of a tale well told. But when it comes right down to it, I game because he weaned me on it, because it was our thing, because in the midst of the truly great games, a little bit of him comes alive again for me.

  6. It definitely started back on the NES with my dad, playing sports games. Blades Of Steel! But my first real memories of gaming were playing Super Mario World and Aladin on Super Nintendo. They were the first games I ever beat all by myself without the help of a friend or my dad. (Side note: remember saying “beat” the game, instead of “finished”? lol awesome…)

    From there, we got a PlayStation and eventually PlayStation 2. I am the oldest in the family and my parents never had any use for a computer, so we didn’t have an adequate PC or an internet connection until I was 14, which is when I discovered CS at a LAN party. Since then, I’ve been strictly PC gaming. Don’t get me wrong, I had a HALO phase with a few high school friends when we would hang out. There were really only 2 or 3 other dudes who were PC gamers.

    If it wasn’t for the server I play in today, I wouldn’t play CS any more. I’ve met hoards of great people (including my girlfriend, believe it or not) through that server. Business contacts, people who live in my city, people willing to help you, people who bought my music and supported me, and even the guy who runs my websites and emails. The last 8 or 9 years of CS have been good to me. And that’s why I still cling to that game, and love gaming in general

  7. “…or something closer to home where I chase outlaws down on horseback.”

    I game because I love gaming. I’ve grown up with games since I was 4 and I’ve always enjoyed it. Like Eddy, I like to get absorbed into a world, not because I can’t deal with my real-life issues (which aren’t horrible but aren’t pleasant neither), but because I like exploring new worlds and getting lost and having awesome fun. Life is boring and games let me have experiences that range from space operas to Westerns to modern day warfighters to magical creature cockfighting.

    Gaming is my art form and I want to enjoy and learn from new and old titles. I think the reason I enjoy heavily-story-driven RPG’s as much as adrenaline-pumping shooters is because I grew up with a lot of different genres from a young age. My first two Gameboy games were Super Mario Deluxe and Pokemon Blue, so I got a taste of both fast and slow gameplay. I witnessed very different styles, features, and stories, so I was accustomed to games being able to tell many different stories, provide different kinds of fun, and that games were the better than plastic craptastic toys.

    Now that I’m older (well, in high school), I enjoy the video games more profoundly; moreover I want to understand what makes the game good. Why do I enjoy CoD4 more than MW2? Why am I engrossed in Fallout 3 more than New Vegas? Is it just nostalgia? Why do Halo CE’s maps feel bigger than Halo Reach’s? Why can I still play Pokemon and have fun while I can’t bear to finish another game? I have questions and video games tell me the answers while I’m having fun – or not. I want to go into the video game industry and make some awesome games while improving the industry as a whole.

    Video games are a part of who I am and what I enjoy, and I want to make my career in the video game industry because I love video games and want to make great games.

  8. Gaming for me started on the Sega Genesis and my old Mac Performa. I would play Sonic 2, Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure, Rocket Knight Adventures, Saturday Night Slam Masters, Wolfenstein 3D, Duke Nukem 3D, Doom, Mortal Kombat… all that stuff. The two things that really drew me in were that videogames had the interactive side to them that movies didn’t, and that on my Performa there was a lot of games that I could make levels for, which made them infinitely entertaining and made them into something I could use as a creative outlet. The interactive side was great because if I was bad at a game, then every time I play I would get a little further and discover new things in the game and it was like an adventure.

    Of course, with the internet becoming as huge as it is, it’s become hard to feel like there’s any adventure in anything at all now, especially with people putting up as many walkthroughs and spoilers on the internet as possible as fast as they can. For the most part nowadays, I stick with games either just as a quick distraction (things like Super Meat Boy, Minecraft, Bit Trip, Audiosurf, Garry’s Mod), because I’m generally interested in what content it has in store (Arkham Asylum, Call of Duty, Mass Effect, Deus Ex, anything by Valve), or because they allow me to have fun with my friends (New Super Mario Bros Wii, Little Big Planet 2, Counter-Strike, Sven Coop, Mortal Kombat). Also I think that the culture is great (where people are mature- the little kids playing online games is the ruthlessly annoying dark side of the gaming culture that shrouds everything in shame and high pitched, profanity riddled taunts) and I still love games as an art.

    I still make games as a creative outlet and find that there’s so much more room to make a deep experience with an interactive medium than is possible with film, picture, music, or anything else. The only thing is that it takes much more time, since instead of putting in the work for a 2 hour, linear movie with no possible side branching areas that the viewer can peer into, it’s making an 8 hour or so experience that is able to be fully explored by the player. I think that how much love and creativity it takes to build the full, explorable universe and set up for all those possibilities that letting the audience interact introduces makes for something really great.

Comments are closed.