About games and gaming thereof!

Game-Story-Art: A Gamer Survey for YOU

Heather Young, wife of web-personality-who-I-can’t-seem-to-stop-mentioning Shamus Young, has made a survey of sorts on her blog. She’s compiled a list of different reasons for why people play games, and she wants to know why YOU play games and what you think of her list.

She’s made the list in collaboration with her husband and with James Portnow of Extra Credits fame, and as people have commented she has edited and added extra entries to the list. So far it is as follows:

  • Escape
  • Story
  • Goal
  • God Complex
  • Aesthetics
  • Comfort
  • Achievement
  • Reflex
  • Explore
  • Compete
  • Social
  • Bonding
  • Risk
  • Zen
  • Self-expression
  • Craft
  • Optimization
  • Empowerment
  • Novelty
  • Fandom

Please, go read the post yourself to see what each one of those means.

I really like the list. It reminds me of that BrainHex thing I wrote about awhile back, but it’s considerably more subdivided.

I might as well copy and paste my own response:

I probably have enjoyed games for most of the reasons you’ve listed, but as for what makes me tick the most?

Well, my four general favorite genres are platformers, stealth games, shooters, and brawlers. I think the reason for all of these comes down to what some have called “kinesthetics” and others have called “game feel.”

I like platformers because I like the feeling of nimbly running and jumping across complex environments. I like stealth games because I like the feeling of quickly and cleverly backstabbing an unsuspecting guard. I like shooters because I like the feeling of running across the battlefield and blasting the enemies to smithereens, and I like brawlers because I like the feeling of bashing down (or slashing, or using whatever weapon the game gives me to down) a cavalcade of mooks. Above all, I love the feeling of being in fast, intense situations, and of being fast, smart, powerful and capable.

This is probably a combination of Aesthetics and Empowerment. Those two would probably be highest on the list for me, though Self-Expression would likely be third (I spend HOURS adjusting my characters’ cosmetics and sometimes make up backstories for them).

As for what I don’t like: Risk, as you’ve called it. I HATE when luck is deliberately made a deciding factor in what happens. When I lose, I want to know it was my fault so I can improve myself and do it right next time. If I die because the d20 landed on a 1, I’m going to feel cheated by the designers of the game.

Anyway, I’ve posted this here so that anybody who hasn’t already seen it can do so.I love these sorts of analysis and categorization systems. It’s not that I feel the need to classify myself; I just find it very fruitful to examine the inner workings of one’s own mind.

Post a comment over there and let her know what you think.

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