For me, it started way back when with Red Alert 2 and Age of Empires – still one of the best strategy games out there.
Actually, that might be inaccurate. The first game I tirelessly played was Frogger, when I was a wee tadpole myself, then it moved to Tetris and Super Mario. Red Alert and AOE came after that.
I was sucked into RPG’s when Jan introduced me to the LAN, and the two of us kicked butt in Dungeon Siege, Titan Quest and Sacred. I cannot even begin to guess how many hours of my life disappeared into Titan Quest. 😛
People still tell me this gaming thing is juvenile. My time can be better spent. It’s too violent (Dude. Gaming is no more violent than most stuff you watch on TV) and desensitises me to the things around me. Bah. If anything, my reflexes are quicker and I can dream lucidly because I game.
I loved gaming from the get-go. For me, it’s a way to relieve tension that TV, movies and books can’t even begin to contend with. Please don’t hurl things at me! Gaming isn’t better than books, it’s just a different way to unwind, and sometimes, in my personal experience, it’s more effective too. 😛 I might have unleashed the wrath of the writing community with that statement, please check in on me soon to make sure I’m OK.
The point is, gaming is like a pick your own adventure kind of thing, isn’t it? Especially with the new generation of games where your choices can actually impact the outcome of the story in games to come. This means that I’m in more control of a game than the other means of entertainment I mentioned above.
I sit and watch the Blacklist on TV. I have no say in whether this ABSURD notion that Red’s in love with Liz is true or not. *It better not be.* The same with books and movies. I can submerge into the story and follow it as it unfolds, but I can do no more than that.
Gaming allows me more. Even when the story is set in stone and can only have one outcome, I’m still involved in moving the plot. I have to kill the dragon, find the magic potion, save the princess, etc or the story doesn’t progress. And, when I’m lucky, I can do even more than that.
I can name and create my hero to my own specifications. I decide what their skills will be, how they’ll be dressed, what they’ll research next, which companions they’ll be friends/enemies with and in some games, even who the romantic interest will be. It’s up to me how they live, what they believe and if they’ll be violent, a joker or a peacekeeper. True neutral? Chaotic good? Lawful evil? It’s all up to me.
And all of that within the structure of a world with a compelling story, sometimes written with more intricacies and nuances than the movies we watch nowadays.
Of course, that’s the crux of it. The reason I so love being transported into the game. The story. More than with movies or books, I become the hero. I make the choices, choices that have consequences. There’s something thrilling in that.
Thinking of it now, it’s probably why I write too. I get to choose the characters and story, don’t I? 😛
Have a good one,