Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Goal of Games

 I was talking to someone on Twitter last night, and some of the fundamental differences we had in our perception of video games brought up a question in my mind:

Why do you play games? I ask this in all seriousness. Have you ever thought about it? What is it about video games that you enjoy?

This is an interesting question to me because I think video games are more versatile as a medium than almost anything else. We have everything from Skyrim to Call of Duty to Mario, and everything in between. We have games that focus on telling an interesting story, to seeing how many fantastic ways you can kill things, to just making the path to the right end of the level as entertaining as possible.

All these different forms of games are designed to be worthwhile in different ways. Some people play because they enjoy the progression from weak to powerful, from nothing to everything. Some people play because video games offer ways to tell a story unlike any other. Some people play video games because they enjoy the actual act of playing the game in and of itself. Others play video games for reasons that would never even occur to me (not that I can't think of plenty more).

Most people enjoy some mix of the above, and that mix is different for everyone. This is why the quality of a game is so subjective. It is perfectly reasonable for one person to enjoy a game and another not, even if the game is technically "good", because different people like different things.

So next time you're thinking about writing a game off as pointless trash, remember that not everyone is looking for the same things you are.

As a conclusion, I'll repeat the questions I started this off with: Why do you play games? What is it about them that you enjoy?