- Some people get insanely good at strategy games, mostly by identifying certain loopholes and exploiting them mercilessly;
- Other people like to play the game in a more immersive way by imagining game play as being something like an unfolding, un-planned story
- There is nothing wrong with either, because it is entirely a matter of taste, but...
- I was in the latter of these camps
Thursday, 5 March 2020
Video Games - Role Playing versus Just Playing
I have never been a huge video gamer, and I gave up, semi-deliberately, about three years ago to avoid time wasting. But I have played a lot of strategy games over the years - mostly the Civilization, Total War and Paradox Interactive ones - as well as quite a lot of roguelikes.
In my playing days, I used to watch the occasional YouTube video longplay or keep abreast of 'After Action Reports' at places like the Paradox Interactive forums. What I noticed after a time was:
For example, I am not a great master at any of the Civilization games. I can conquer the world on the lower difficulty settings, but usually get squashed at higher difficulty settings. This I attribute to being more interested in imagining that I am the demigod ruler of a race of minions than I am in getting 'good' at the game. It's more important to me to imagine that I am creating a pleasant city for people to live in than I am in figuring out the precise combination of buildings and resources I need to generate the optimal amount of research or military units (or whatever). I'm more interested in emotional connections to AI civilizations (loyalty, revenge, etc.) than I am in getting what I need from them. I value the experience of narrative more than winning, in other words.
Put another way, I am probably a romanticist rather than a classicist. I prefer Role Playing to Just Playing.
(And this extends to other types of game too. In a roguelike, for instance, I'm more interested in playing a halfling demonologist or whatever because it sounds weird and I like to imagine what the character is like, than I am in picking something optimal or working out how to make a certain configuration of race/class work.)
Is this due to me playing RPGs during my formative years and hence valuing that kind of play experience more than the one of getting good at the game? Or am I naturally attracted to RPGs because I am of a romantic sort of disposition? I'll leave that question to the philosophers.
Posted by noisms at 20:39