Gaming for fun is a subjective phrase. What I consider a fun game may be an excruciatingly dull experience for you and other people. The purpose of this blog is not to convince you that my style of gaming is better than yours. The purpose of the content is to give you some insight into how I’ve built a healthy relationship with gaming.
I learned, while writing this, that there are eight kinds of fun.
- Sensory: you love seeing beautiful graphics, music, and intense artwork
- Fantasy: you love getting lost in a world with plenty of characters and things to do
- Narrative: you love the story as long as it is well structured
- Challenge: you love a good challenge, will never back away from it, and you’re out to win
- Fellowship: you’re a socialite on a mission, a mission to bring everyone together to enjoy a game or two or a thousand
- Discovery: you love learning new things; you were the kid who flipped over rocks to see what would crawl out
- Expression: you love your style, and everyone else should too, how could they not?
- Submission: you like the grind; in fact, you eat it for breakfast, lunch, then dinner in that order
Upon reading, and now writing this list, I’ve realized that I enjoy all of these forms of fun. I’ve found joy in all of the above aesthetics in considerable quantities. I prefer games that combine all of the pleasurable experiences into one as many role-playing games do.
If you would like to do some light reading, download this file. The MDF in the file name stands for mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics.
The TL;DR; is what I wrote earlier, if you love all those things you’re having fun.
I try not to go down the rabbit hole too much, so feel free to read Gaming for Fun by another fine blogger on the Intertubes for a more in-depth look down the rabbit hole.
Balance is Good
Finding balance is good, whether balancing your preferred video game styles or balancing your budget is your goal. I find that being able to pay the bills comfortably is more important that reaching level 101. On the other hand, I understand the value of checking out into another world for a while. It gives me time to decompress some of the knowledge I’ve gained from working, writing, and learning new things. I return to my work with a sense of renewal when my focus doesn’t remain entirely on the daily grind.
Balance is an essential part of a high-quality video game. If you’re playing a fighting game like Street Fighter, you realize this. When one character entirely dominates another, it can be frustrating. That’s why Street Fighter II is still the most balanced fighting game ever created.
Having Enough is More
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, but so does overgaming.
Luckily there are signs when you have stepped on to the land of Overgaming.
- Your eyes are starting to bleed
- Where your back once remained a bowl of jello lives
- The fires of hell have engulfed the back of your neck
- Time has lost meaning, what era am I in again?
- You lost your job because you wanted to finish a level
Balance is everything in this life. Finding a middle ground between an occasional entertaining diversion from the doldrums of life and playing the game of life is the key. Remember, the game of life has the most complex leveling system, the best graphics, and an incredible soundtrack. It provides a large return on your investment with the right approach and will give you more time to play video games if you play it right.
Once upon a time, I ran a World of Warcraft guild in Europe. While running this guild, I learned some valuable lessons.
- I love organizing and enabling large groups of people
- Engagement is 9/10ths of the law of growth
- Time management is kind of a big deal
- Teamwork is critical if you want to do something larger than life
- Trust your people
- Ideas are more important than anyone realizes
I learned a lot more than that, but those are the highlights. My guild was named Altruitas, which is a play on the word altruism. The people that my guild attracted were a select group of people. If you ever needed someone at your back, you wanted the people in my guild to be there. We spent time helping newbies level by running them through The Deadmines for fun. We helped each other out as much as possible and expected nothing in return. It was a sad day when it all had to come to an end.
It was undoubtedly a time of growth for me, so it was a synergy between gaming and learning something practical. Today I’m a director of software development. I’m working with other directors to lead a digital transformation into the future. My experience in World Of Warcraft is being applied in real life, finally, and that time spent is paying off.
I went into my World of Warcraft sessions with an intent to learn from it. I wanted to learn how to manage a large group of people, and I succeeded. It’s that type of synergy I look for in my gaming experiences. Lately, I spend time in games with stories so I can learn how to write better and how to tell better stories.