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Checkpoint: Why I Play Games Edition (Pt. 1)


I never had to explain to people why I play and enjoy video games. There’s a multitude of reasons and anytime I try to flesh them out, I stumble. So I decided to sit down and deep dive into the many reasons why I grew so attached to this burgeoning and controversial medium.

I don’t have just one reason to play games because like movies, books and other medium in existence, games come in all shapes and sizes. Today, I’m going to shed light on the competitive allure of games.

Competitive Fun

Whether it’s the one on one slugfest in Street Fighter or a 64 player military campaign across Shanghai’s coastline, games have always given me the opportunity to get in on harmless competition.

No other entertainment medium offers the ability to participate in competition; you can watch a war movie or an MMA fight but you cannot participate in one on a whim. Only games offer opportunities to match ability, wits and will. We cannot all hit game winning shots on a real life basketball court but competitive games allow us all to experience the elation of a last second victory in the comforts of home and with friends.

Like sports, competitive matches range from friendly skirmishes on the proverbial internet playground to high stakes head-to-head bouts streamed live from Las Vegas. I prefer the low stakes match ups from the comforts of my own home. I enjoy competing against strangers alongside friends from across the continent and my city.

No other medium enables its participants to discuss a piece and then allows them to directly affect that piece. It is the inherent benefit of games of all shapes and sizes. Like boardgames or sports, every competitive video game has its own set of rules and parameters. But unlike games of the past, the malleability of video games gives developers the ability to tweak and refine the rules of competition and shift meta games at a moment’s notice.

Competition at my fingertips. It’s a desirable thing that’s tough to replicate outside the realm of video games.

Next week: Players and narratives

I finished God of War: Ghost of Sparta and will be summing up my thoughts with a small piece this week. It will likely be a glowing review.

My patience for Battlefield 4’s issues wore thin over the past week. One crash or one lag filled match was all it took for me to call it quits for the night — this happened several times throughout the week. When is that next patch, DICE? How can you go ahead and announce a new map pack when your base game is still riddled with issues?

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