Today I’ll shed light on one of my favorite reasons to play games: to learn new things. I was introduced to the concept of hostess clubs via the Yakuza games. I experienced some of the traditions involved with Golden Week through the Persona games. And how can I not give credit to the plethora of World War II games for familiarizing me with all those historic battles?
There are easier routes to learn about other cultures and history. Documentary films and paperbacks by subject matter experts are far more effective. But games and other entertainment mediums draw people in and invite them to learn more about these subjects.
I don’t trust games to deliver their subject matter unscathed; embellishments and liberties will be made for the sake of fun. With that in mind, I often check Wikipedia for anything that piques my interest. I didn’t think hostess clubs were actually a thing so I looked it up. I found the narrative of the Olympians overthrowing Titans fascinating and was impressed to discover it was as God of War portrayed. Those are just a couple of examples of games sending me down rabbit holes to enlighten myself.
Then there are those titles out there which strive to simulate real life. Driving and military simulators attempt to immerse players with the realistic visuals, physics and sounds. With the help of racing chairs, force feedback wheels and other accessories, some of these gaming experiences are just a small step away from the real thing.
As a consumer of music and film, you may be inspired to find out how to enhance your experience with better speakers, displays or playback devices. From a high level, games are no different; the audio video research for music and film is also applicable with games.
Music and film are commodity items these days. Consumers purchase the media, purchase the playback device and away they go. Buying the best playback device often means you’ll get the best experience without the need to crack open the manual and tinker.
PC games, on the other hand, are not commodity items. The need to tinker is still prevalent thanks to the fact that there are so many hardware and software configurations at play. Developers continue to make strides in the auto detection and configuration of games but we’re still far from the days of just loading up a game and receiving the best possible experience for the playback configuration of choice.
This was where I entered the fray all those years ago. I wanted the best gaming experience possible for my PC and thus dove into the rabbit hole of PC hardware overclocking, operating system tweaking and troubleshooting. Years later, I made a career out of all that tinkering and it’s all thanks to fickle nature of games.
I was inspired to learn the technology for a better player experience but there are many other aspects of the medium to inspire people. A love of programming and designing can grow from the creation of a mod. A writing career can begin through the analysis and review of games. I wonder how many musicians made names for themselves through remixing of classic soundtracks alone.
We all know games are an entertainment medium but it’s also important to remember that it can also be an inspiration for great things as well.
I’ve been playing Outlast on the PlayStation 4. If you were to ask me if it was scary, I will still lean towards yes but it does suffer from illusion breaking issues. Once you see behind the curtain, it’s tough to fall under its spell again.
Then again, maybe I’m just spewing bullshit because I still only play that game at 40 minute chunks.