Alright. Here I am, writing my first Gameinformer blog post. I've seen the other blogs, very impressive, so I'm led to believe the standards are unbelievably high. Yikes. It feels like singing a solo in front of an audience of 100 when I was a 12 year old. But, I've been thinking hard about something, and I think this is the best way to get it off my mind. I'll probably ease into it as I go.

Video games. As a kid, you've probably been picked on for your love of video games - kids have stereotyped the video games, and you, because of it. But it wasn't like their opinion mattered enough to you that you would stop. Adults have wondered why you were so interested in the very concept of sitting in front of the TV all day instead of doing other, much more "productive" things - like solving a crossword puzzle. Well, I finally took it upon myself to figure out what appeal they have to us.

First off, one reason we play video games is to get away from the world. Now, outside of playing the games people might think that the problem makes itself worse - the other people criticize you as you get more and more enthralled by them. But you can't resist being pulled into this magical world where you're in an air-conditioned environment, and no sentient being is around to make your life miserable, whereas at soccer (for example) the only option is quitting the soccer practice altogether if some d-bag that hates on you is in your group and you can't anything because the d-bag's parents basically own the practice. With video games, you're on a digital connection, and if you meet another d-bag online, all you have to do is push the mute button.

Just like that.

Second, you're not getting sweaty or anything. You don't get to be the indecent jerk who thinks people will give him mercy because he broke his arm jumping in front of his sweaty football teammate when someone else ended up tackling him instead of their quarry. You're in a room where temperature is regulated 24/7, so you won't die of heat stroke. No physical injury or anything, unless you suck at Wii/Kinect/Move.

Third, you're constantly enticed into continuing to play. You fling the sticks/whip the mouse around and hit the buttons/keys quickly and the game encourages you to do it some more. Successfully pop a Grunt in the head with your DMR in Halo: Reach, and some things will happen.

  • The head explodes into confetti, and you hear children cheering. Very satisfying.
  • A point bonus appears on screen, so you know you're closer to hitting that par score for the level.
  • A virtual money boost is displayed on the lower left side of the screen, so you know you're X credits closer to getting that MJOLNIR Mk. V helmet you've been saving up for.
  • After repeating this a few (hundred) times, a commendation is advanced to it's next level and you are given a notification as well as a few hundred/a few thousand credits added to your account via [see the third bullet point].
  • Doing this several times in succession has the annoucer acknowledging it with his trademark "DOUBLE KILL". Do this many times in quick succession and you get the famous "KILLIONARE".

All of these little things add up to the message your brain transmits throughout your body: MUST. DO. MORE. It hasn't turned into a vegetable good only for consumption by the TV, but it has developed a love affair for repeatedly doing this wonderful act of appeasing your body's feral hunger for feedback. Your brain wants to be ackowledged. It wants to feel like it's making progress. And top franchises are successful because your body feels like that. It feels like it's doing something special, that people that criticize you for it haven't joined in on the joyous fun.

Some of them haven't.

And... fourth.

Admit it. You saw this coming.

You've been on your computer all weekend.

Shouldn't you go out and socialize with your friends?

Most great games can be played with friends. On the couch or across the digital network via a headset/text chat, you can play games while simultaneously socializing. Great co-op experiences include Halo, Gears of War, Borderlands, and Left 4 Dead 2. These are all great if you have a buddy that's anxious to play a fully featured co-op experience.

Now, I won't guarantee that this blog will make sense to the dissenters of video games (particularly the violent ones, because, unfortunately, my opinion is that popping someone in the head is more satisying than seeing Mario pick up a star and go absolutely bananas about something that has a billion exact copies in outer space) but I hope it helps people understand why some gamers don't want to do what they (those that dislike the new gaming craze) consider "fun".

Leave constructive commments below, and trolling comments in your mind untyped.

If this blog post has, in any way, personally offended you, send me a private message.


*relieved sigh* So, GIO instructor - how did I do?