Why do we game?

April 18, 2010

Gaming; a part of the lives of just about everyone in some way, shape or form. Whether it be playing MMORPGs for years, or Farmville on Facebook; gaming takes up a huge portion of the world’s time. But what is our obsession with the virtual world? With billions of dollars being funneled into this form of entertainment, it would pay to understand just why we play.

The gaming craze has swept the world; more so in the last decade. It has affected everybody in someway. Myself; I have played video games since around the time I could walk and played MMORPGs for roughly half my life (Ultima Online, Everquest and World of Warcraft). But why do we immerse ourselves in these make believe worlds?

I have gone through many stages during this time, using different reasons to try and find purpose to the hours and hours per week that have been devoted to pixels in a virtual world. A release from the real world, a way to de-stress (although this doesn’t always work out), a way to socialise with people around the globe and even just something to kill time. Yet it all boils down to the main reason I see behind it all. You can be whoever, whatever you want to be. No longer held back by the constraints of the ‘real you’; it becomes possible to take up any persona you wish. Want to feel powerful and important?  Start a guild, clan or whatever it may be called in the specific game you’re playing. Take a position of power and flex those pixel muscles of yours. Always wanted to be female? Well instead of getting a sex change you can just play a female character online, no one will ever know!

The ability to be as anonymous as you wish to be whilst playing brings in people from all walks of life. Who cares if in real life you are 32 and living with your Mother? In-game you’re the main tank who is never late for a raid! Think of that next time you invite someone into your group, try and see if you can pick who they really are.