Ask yourself one simple question.
Why do you like gaming?
Forget reviews and which company is doing what, for now, let’s just talk about games.
Why do I love gaming?
There are so many great things about being a gamer. You can be an action hero, saving the world like a boss, you can be the fastest, the strongest you can be the best, and you can be the worst. Striding through a battlefield like a god of war is a hell of a feeling, figuring out complex puzzles can be so rewarding and seeing a creation you have made can fill you with pride. It is easy to be entertained by thrilling action sequences and high-speed chases.
They are all great aspects of what it is to be a gamer but for me, above all else, it’s the emotion, the feeling of a masterly crafted story, believable characters and heart-breaking moments that make me want more.
When I was around ten years old my brother came home with the PlayStation magazine, every month it came with a new demo disc and this particular week the demo came with the first section of Metal Gear Solid. Until this point, I had only really played computer games to kill time, something to do when it was raining and I couldn’t go outside and play. I had spent more time watching my big brother play Resident Evil than I had playing games myself, I considered myself an advisor, someone to notice something if he didn’t, I certainly wasn’t a gamer. This all changed when I first got to play the MGS demo. For the first time I wasn’t just an extra set of eyes scanning a screen, I was right there with Snake as he infiltrated (and occasionally shot) his way to the DARPA Chief. It was the first time I pestered my mother to get me a game and after a few promises to do housework she succumbed. I loved Metal Gear Solid, it was the immersion and the touching moments of the game that got me hooked on gaming. The hard choices that had to be made, the deep insights (for the time, remember I was ten) it had to offer.
That was the moment I decided this was for me. I liked computer games.
As the years have gone by I have grown older and (arguably) wiser but that desire remains. I’ll dominate in Titanfall and blow things up in CoD, I will take to the high seas in Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag and I will fight against unwinnable odds in countless games, all of these things feed my desire to “feel” something. The one thing that I chase most of all is the story, I love the moments in gaming that make me gasp, laugh and the ones where the controller slips from my hands as I sit there stunned.
As technology has progressed we have seen a bigger focus on making characters and stories that are as believable as possible. Hollywood stars are voice acting in games, motion capture and spectacular game engines provide an experience that is as engrossing as a bestselling novel or an A-list film.
Game developers have spent years getting to grips with the technical aspects of gaming and have reached a stage, in my eyes, where the focus has begun to shift. It’s safe to say that newly released games have never looked better in terms of graphical fidelity but I think that over the last few years there have been some truly amazing moments in games (I won’t go into specifics as to avoid spoilers). The freedom that we have as gamers to make our own stories in RPG’s and the decisions that we can now make are bringing a very personal element to gaming. I for one love it.
I think Dustan Hoffman put it more elegantly than I ever could.
“Stories. We all spend our lives telling them. About this, about that, about people, but some stories are so good we wish they would never end. They are so gripping that we will go without sleep just to see a little bit more. Some stories bring us laughter and sometimes they bring us tears. But isn’t that what a great story does? It makes you feel. Stories are so powerful, they really are with us forever“.
We live in a golden age for gaming, there is something for everyone. If you want to blow stuff up, drive fast cars, explore stunning open worlds, experience futuristic environments or ancient civilisations, command armies, create entire worlds or simply have a cyber-pet then there is something out there for you.
That is why I love gaming.