For me, the success of a game is measured by how it makes me feel. Most times, I play to get away from the real world for a bit. I want to have FUN, just like many other gamers. And what is the point of a game that you don’t find amusing, reaffirming, challenging or worthwhile? I haven’t run into many games that make me feel terrible, though some that are releasing soon are sure to disappoint (speaking of Tera here), however for the most part, I’ve been lucky to experience games that keep me coming back and yearning for that release from the real world that allows me to challenge my point of view. Sometimes, that draw to bring a player back is a marketing ploy. Take WoW for instance. By never allowing the player to win, to gain complete fulfillment, they assure that the players will continue to come back. It’s like dangling a carrot in front of a horse, and in the end it benefits both parties provided self-control is present.
Since we’re speaking of self-control, I’ll admit that over the past month I’ve spent more money on video games than I did at all last school year. A lot of them were on sale so I don’t feel so bad, however I made a promise to myself that before I played any new games (this was about 3 game purchases before the most recent one) I’d have to beat 3 of the ones that I currently owned. Of course, this clearly didn’t work. I’m convinced it’s because of my desire to thoroughly enjoy a game. Most of the games I purchased had sentimental value to my past. They were sequels to games that I loved dearly when I was younger and I knew that they would deliver a good experience. Why though, does a game have to provide a good experience?
Take, for example, a horror/suspense game like F.E.A.R. That game scared the crap out of me and I did NOT feel good when I was playing it. However, I liked it. I suspect that this occurrence exists as a form of living your past through a virtual world. Some people have experienced horrifying things in their past and can’t deal with the problems that stemmed from that event. Having a virtual world that simulates a similar situation, while hopefully not triggering a flashback, can allow a person to experience and work out what screwed them up so badly, and feel a sense of catharsis. It feels safe because it’s locked into your computer in the virtual world that the developers have created. Those with overactive imaginations meet the exception here, however for most cases that I’ve seen or experienced myself, this is the case.
Most doctors recommend that you deal with past life trauma with a therapist, through a strict regimen of medicine, meetings and crying. I’d say that alternative therapy can sometimes be the best course of action – playing games, virtual or otherwise, that allow the person to slip past their comfort boundary, safely, into an enclosed and protected, imagined world to deal with whatever is messing around with their minds. I’m no doctor, and I don’t suggest that you try these suggestions without consulting a relevant doctor like a therapist or a psychologist, but I would love to see this sort of therapy put into the realm of “acceptable” and “commonly used” therapeutic practices.
I myself am not a fan of medicine in general, and only go to the doctor or the hospital when I really need to. As a result, alternative forms of care are very important and fascinating to me.
What do you think?