Monday, August 20, 2012

Gaming and The Brain #2

I don’t know if I want someone following me while I play a video game and examine what it says about me. That might be creepy.

Having said that, I do believe that there are some parallels that we can draw from our reality with fantasy realms. I have also found that it’s a good way to determine whether or not a game sucks.

Example: I suck at making money in video games. Which apparently translates into the real world because I can’t seem to progress past a certain point in a job. Having a Masters degree is awesome! Now I’m fantastic at savings and finding good deals. I remember when people spazzed out in FF11 when they announced that changes would be made to the magical resist system. It caused all of the black mages to dump their high end gear, completely flooding the market. When all was said and done, I nabbed 5.8 million gil gear for under 30k. And then a week later the patch came out and people realized they were stupid, so they went and bought their gear back, drove prices back up, and now they were scrambling for gils.

You could look at that as exploiting the market. I see it as an opportunity to pre-pimp out my black mage before it reached 75.

But it’s also one hell of a game when it comes to making money. There is no easy route. You have to work your ass off just to get to and save a million gil.

Now flip over to World of Warcraft. I was making money half asleep. I didn’t have to put any effort into it and I was able to get everything I needed, wanted, and had plenty of funds left over. I lasted a month in the game before I left. It was too easy!

I guess someone analyzing me would say that I enjoy a challenge. Which is true. But I don’t like things being too simple. I like to have some complexity to a system. WoW didn’t give me that. Which is probably why I like Final Fantasy games as much as I do; they challenge me in ways I’m not use to experiencing in reality and it’s a nice break from the mundane world.

I mean let’s face it. A lot of us play to escape from reality. You’re lying to yourself if you’re saying otherwise. And there’s nothing wrong with it. We need to express ourselves and let our imaginations out once in a while, else we become lifeless souls…like almost everyone in the U.S. Senate, Congress, and hell most of D.C. We don’t want to be like them, right? :D

It’d be interesting to get more psychologists, psychiatrists, and neuroscientists to study people in their normal habitat playing video games and how they reflect their reality. Shooting zombies is deeper then what it appears.

I’ll use that as another example. Take a FPS group game like Team Fortress. Inevitably you have people falling into particular roles: medic, engineer, etc. etc. As you play through, you’ll find certain people do best when they are protecting others, or they are good at being decoy, or they like to sit from behind and act as the sniper. You could see how they relate to their real-world counterparts. The protective player is probably one of those people that helps others in need and has a ton of friends, nicest person in the world type. The decoy is always taking the fall for their friends and co-workers; something of this effect.

I’d be curious to see research on this. But I don’t want to be a test subject. I’ve analyzed myself enough to know that I’m crazy gamer in my own way.


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