Why I play video games

I’ve already posted one game review but now I’m going to talk about why I love games so much. Can you guess? Yep it’s because they have a unique way of telling stories.

When you read a book you can almost imagine yourself in the world it’s describing, and when you watch a film you can visibly see the world and imagine yourself in it, but in a game you actually are in it. When you sit down to play that game you are interacting with it, influencing it and progressing it. Yes there are cutscenes etc, but for the majority of the time the story can’t progress unless you play the game.

Dara O’Brien once said that he loves video games because they have a unique mechanic, they deny you access to the rest of the content if you can’t finish the earlier content. Imagine if a book did that? You get to chapter two, it asks you, “What are the major themes in the book so far?” You hesitate and the book slams shut, only letting you start again from page one. This gating of content means that not only do you have to focus on what you are doing, but it adds a personal challenge to the experience, a way of making you feel more a part of the story.

I play a lot of games, and the ones that keep me coming back are the ones that tell a great story. World of Warcraft I’m looking at you. In fact, pretty much all of Blizzard’s games tell a great story! And on the other side of the coin are games which are entertaining to play occasionally but have no real story or are just short arcade style fights. These games are still good but they aren’t what I really look for.

One of the first computer games I played was C&C: Tiberian Sun, followed shortly by Warcraft 3. Both these games taught me that games can tell stories in ways I never thought possible. I was eager to find out more by completing missions, I was desperate to protect key characters because I had a connection with them, and in short I was addicted to them right from the off.

Other games I played were the Age of Empires games, and while these didn’t have as much of a story as the two others I mentioned, they created such an interesting world that you created your own stories. Wars were fought, alliances made, people betrayed and failures suffered. You could create whatever story you wanted.

Needless to say I often got in trouble for spending too much time on my computer. My parents were more accepting of a child with his head in a book rather than watching a computer screen, even if I was doing almost exactly the same thing. Luckily for them I was also a bookworm 🙂

So never let anyone tell you that games are stupid or childish, games are a modern storytelling media for a modern age. Through their unique method, with wildly varying game design, they can tell any story they want and make you feel all sorts of emotions.

More game reviews coming soon and other snippets of stories from my experiences playing games over the years, hope you enjoy!