Video Games: What do I get from them?

I know that my audience is currently very minimal and I largely write this for by own benefit but regardless I must apologise. It has been a bit of while (what an understatement) since I have posted as I have been very busy with my final year of studies. I thought I would make the first post of 2017 something a little bit lighter to try and get back into the swing of things: my love of video games and what each genre provides for me.

Obviously, videogames provide a few general benefits that most forms of media do: escapism, entertainment, a means of passing the time etc as well as some of the currently researched benefits such as their effect on logic processing and reaction time.  However, I thought I would discuss it in terms of what each genre does for me and the reasons I enjoy the medium so much. Obviously, there is often crossover between genres and I won’t talk about every sub-genre of games but I will do my best to outline why I enjoy some of the different aspects of each of those mentioned. This piece may be slightly rattled out and thus a lower quality than others but hopefully, it’s entertaining or insightful enough to read.

Turn-based Games (TB)

Turn-based games have always been a weak spot of mine and those I play generally fall into two broad categories: Turn-based strategy games such as the total war games (which also combine real-time strategy) or grand strategy games; and turn-based combat games such as XCOM or Shadowrun. The latter of these is probably my favourite despite playing them a little less. This is because I feel they require more patience and concentration. My enjoyment of turn-based combat probably stems from playing Warhammer 40,000 as a teenager. And the tactical thinking combined with the sense of loss at losing a key member of your squad leads for a very intellectually stimulating and exciting experience, where a single mistake can cost you dearly. Turn-based combat games can also integrate RPG elements for the members of your squad, further heightening the value you place upon each of them, treating them like valuable individuals rather than meat for the machine (especially when you name them after friends and family).

Real-time Strategy Games (RTS)

I am not sure where exactly my enjoyment of real-time strategy games comes from but I think it is a combination of nostalgia (games such as age of empires and empire earth were a large part of my childhood) but also the power fantasy of being a general leading often an inferior force to victory through superior tactics. Obviously, this varies for each type of RTS but much like TB games, I find them somewhat mentally stimulating and certainly not something I play when I feel less mentally engaged.

First Person Shooter Games (FPS)

For me, FPS games have always been first and foremost about the excitement but I find that story is something that needs to be compelling for me to really enjoy an FPS, assuming it is a single player game. FPS games are a somewhat saturated part of the games market and I feel for every good shooter there are quite a few terrible ones. I also find that multiplayer shooters appeal to me less with some exceptions due to the communities that play them. I play games to be entertained and to relax, not to be abused over the internet by a twelve-year-old. Often first-person shooters serve as the basis for RPG’s which I enjoy such as Fallout: New Vegas or EYE Divine Cybermancy.

Horror Games

Horror games are an interesting one. I have not been playing them for nearly as long as the other genres on this list although all of the games on this list can contain horror elements. We like to be scared when we can control the source of the fear, in a way it provides a productive outlet for us to vent stresses. This is because we know the source of our tension and fear is something that is fictional and can end whenever we choose it. Some horror games also have some pretty compelling stories as well which can leave you somewhat immersed, sitting on the edge of your seat for hours at a time while the need to visit the toilet slowly builds within you.

Role-playing games (RPG)

For me a role-playing game is all about the immersion in a form of escapism, to envelope you fully in the world of another character. In ways, it can be a power fantasy: to save some world or universe from powers of untold evil or conversely destroy it with your godly might.  There is also a huge sense of satisfaction involved in the character progression, choosing how to better your character, watching them become more crucial to the story, watching them make decisions that will shape this fictional universe. It is a story, where you are the protagonist and you decide where it goes.

There are a lot of other different types of games I could talk about but this gives some insight into the way I view the entertainment value of games. There are lots of further discussions to be had about games in the future should it be something that interests people.

Some future topic ideas in the works are as follows:

  • The modern culture surrounding mental health
  • Islamism and the regressive left
  • The Catholic Church: a net positive or negative impact on the world?
  • Misinformation about food
  • Climate change and meat eating?

If anyone who stumbles across this cares enough they can let me know which of these they would particularly like to hear about or any further topics that they might like to suggest.

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