I love gaming. Whether it’s playing video games, tabletop and board games, or just old fashioned RPGs, I love the freedom, creativity, and imagination that gaming requires.
I have always believed that playing games is important to the human experience. Just as singing, telling stories, and dancing are ways for humans to express emotion, so is gaming. For some reason when we grow older we think that playing games is childish and a waste of time, but I would argue that gaming is integral to developing compassion and empathy, and the need for those skills doesn’t disappear the moment we grow out of grade school. We learn to share, but we don’t necessarily learn how to communicate. We play tag or run races, but later in life our competition becomes destructive and no longer playful. We are never too old to practice cooperation and exercise our imagination in ways that bring us closer to understanding the human experience.
Of course there are terrible people on the internet, people who take “playing” too far. They don’t communicate effectively when playing co-ops, and they want their competitive spaces to be exclusive. There is still a lot of work to be done making the online gaming space inclusive and safe, which is why I tend to stay out of it, but there is still something to be said for sharing a gaming experience with other people. People can share accomplishments and triumphs gaming together, and people have formed deep and lasting friendships all over the world with those they have met online.
I also like gaming because it gives me an opportunity to spend time acting in ways I don’t in real life. In real life I am cautious. I take time to make decisions by gathering and analyzing information, and then act only after I understand all the possible consequences.
When I play video games, I am the exact opposite. I rush in, knowing there are no real consequences. I try something, and if it doesn’t work, and my character dies, it doesn’t matter, I can try again. I learn by doing, and I appreciate having the opportunity to make multiple attempts to succeed, something that isn’t always an option in the real world. I particularly enjoy puzzle games and open-world RPGs. I like creative puzzle games that flex my brain muscles, and I like games that allow me to choose my own adventure. Sometimes open-world games can be a little overwhelming, but the stories can be very engaging. It also can help relieve a little stress when you successfully defeat enemies or just wander around cutting grass to find treasure.
When I play tabletop games, I particularly love cooperative games, like Pandemic or Forbidden Island (which I have never once won). My favorite is Mysterium. I love having to communicate with my teammates within the constraints of the game rules. I don’t particularly enjoy competition, and so I like playing against the game and working with friends to strategize to victory. I also love discovering new games, learning new rules, and finding creative solutions to the game’s problems.
When I play Dungeons & Dragons, I get to create a character that can be as alike or as different from me as I want. I can be creative with my gender, age, body type. And I can enjoy skills I don’t have the capacity to learn in real life. I can wield magic or a greatsword. I can speak multiple languages with little effort. And I love the game of chance when rolling the dice. I could come up with a brilliant idea but if I roll poorly it may not work out, and I have to come up with something else. And I love playing with other people, people who make choices that can be completely unpredictable. Sometimes we work together to find solutions to problems, and sometimes we completely mess something up because we all have our own agenda.
Gaming allows me to explore new worlds, exercise my creativity, and blow off some steam. As VR becomes a greater part of how we experience new things, we can make gaming more accessible to those who are limited by their physical or mental states. I recognize that sometimes game play is a luxury, but I wish it was recognized as an important part of development. I don’t believe we ever grow out of the need to connect, to share stories, and I love the possibilities gaming opens up for me and the world.
I write for fun and to make sure my sister doesn't beat me in our blog challenge.