The lights are on
Power Member - Level 6
There's definitely something about video games that draws us in. What is it? Is it the sense of accomplishment we get after we beat a game? Or is it because it can put us in the shoes (Or space-boots) of a character that we can only dream of being like? Whatever it is, we all have our reasons for gaming.
I recently read an article in a paper that my grandma mailed to me (Shes so sweet). It stated that people were becoming addicted to video games because of a little chemical called dopamine. When we're doing something normal, like getting dressed, our dopamine levels are released at 100%. When we do something like eating, it's released at 150%. When we... Erm... Do the nasty, it can be released at more than 200%. HOWEVER, studies have shown that when we play video games, our dopamine levels can be raised even more than when we have sex. So, what is it about video games that makes all this dopamine release?
Apparently, our bodies use dopamine as a tool for reward based learning. When we accomplish something, we feel good about ourselves, right? Our bodies want that feeling again, which leads us to try to accomplish something of equal difficulty, or something even more difficult. That's why when you finish your college courses, or get a pay raise, you get a feeling of well-being. It's the same thing when you get an achievement or level up while playing games. Whether you realize it or not, your body is making you feel good about yourself when you play video games.
Does this make video games addicting? Maybe, maybe not. However, one thing is for sure; When you accomplish anything, you get a rush of dopamine. It matters not the genre, from sports to RPG's, every genre has a system of achievements. This may be while the Halo commentator is so loved amongst fans of the game. Every time you hear "Gained the lead", or "Double Kill", you get a visit from your good buddy dopamine.
Think back to the era of the N64. Did they have achievements or trophies? No. Gamers were content with spending long amounts of time working on a game before experiencing the dopamine rush. Today, you can get an achievement for taking a certain amount of steps. Yes, bravo brave adventurer, you have now taken 1,000 steps! Little dopamine rush? Yes, whether you're aware of it or not.
So what does this mean for the future of video games? I think that developers will continue to award gamers with these achievements until they become so many that you're earning an achievement for putting the disc in the tray. Is this necessarily bad? Maybe not. The industry is constantly evolving, this is just one way that it has changed over the year. This may be the reason, however, that video games are relying less heavily on in-depth story lines. That's not what the majority of gamers want anymore, we want quick actions and rewards.
Disagree? Look at CoD for instance. No, I'm not a CoD hater, I actually love the series. It's buckets of fun. However, the story line? Who gives a rip. It's short. It's not engaging. Why do we buy it? Mainly, for the fast paced multiplayer. Quick action, quick reward. There are games that are more story based, like the Witcher 2 for example. I'm in love with this game. The story is engaging, the choices are numerous, and all have a huge impact on the world.
Well, this ends my rant. So are you playing the games for the story, or for that new accessory you need to unlock? I'll be honest, sometimes I just want that attachment. I just wanted to give my two cents and hear what you guys have to think about this. Oh and... Thanks grandma for the blogging idea. (;Cheers,PMD