Why I love video games

Now, I’ve been gaming for nigh on 15 years, but I’ve never really sat down and pondered why I love it so much. What draws me to pick up that controller, or pull out that keyboard?

To be perfectly honest, it’s any number of reasons. But I think the greatest appeal for me, however, is a fantastic story. When I was a lad, I loved reading. I would read at any opportunity, there was something so transformative about picking up a book and turning the pages. I’d be immersed in a story for hours, following every twist and turn of the character’s journey in a make believe world. But one day, I decided to go to university and, in the process of racking up thousands of pounds worth of debt to a government that’s in millions of pounds worth of debt, I somehow grew to loath reading. Over the course of three years, it very quickly became a chore rather than a pass-time, because of the hundreds of dry academic texts that I had to force down my eye gullet. So, I had to get my story fix somewhere else and, in that search for the perfect story, I immersed myself in video games. These games brought back those wonderful feelings of escapism, into a world that I could easily imagine myself in, but only ever dream of visiting.

That’s the main appeal of video games to me – being able to escape. Now, I would never say that I’m trying to escape from anything in particular, perhaps the mundanities of everyday life? (I know mundanities isn’t a word, but it really should be). But it’s that transformative, immersive state that I crave. The ability to jet off somewhere new, from the comfort of my own home. To fight dragons, dictators or just ‘the man’, the possibilities that video games bring, just like books, are endless.

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But that’s just one reason in a sea of others … well, maybe not a sea, a fair sized pond. The sort that’s big enough for carp and a quaint little water feature. That’s not to say that a video game has to have a story for me to play it. I think that you can be transported to another world without the need for a story. I love the FIFA series, for example. It’s mainly because I really enjoy playing and watching football, or soccer to those across the pond. But it’s also because, through game modes such as Be a Pro, Pro Clubs and the Career mode, I’m able to imagine myself as a footballer or a football manager. I can picture myself on the greatest stage, in front of thousands of fans, like a gladiator in awe of the coliseum. Though instead of fighting to the death I’m diving to the ground from the slightest brush of an opponent … or blade of grass in Ashley Young’s case. Again, it’s the imaginative streak that I crave, the ability to experience ‘life’ in ways that I otherwise couldn’t. I’d love to be a football star, or a super spy, or a knight in shining armour. But I can’t, because I have two left feet (and I’m right footed), I’m far too clumsy and I’d never want to get blood on my Armani tux, and, as you probably know, it isn’t the 1300s. So I guess living these lives through a video game will have to do, for now.

That’s my reason for loving gaming, and now you can probably tell why one of my favourite games is Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. But what are your reasons?

  • Michael Scoates

    Immersion for me. I started in the arcades with Space Invaders in the 70s, I was not only defending Earth but trying to beat that ruddy Hi-Score that AZA had left in my absence. So when consoles arrived my first thought was: “Wait, I can play these for FREE? Forever?? No more 10p pieces???”

    For a kid my age what was fantastic as I could now buy The Beano AND Hook Jaw every week AND carry on playing games. Then Buck Rogers in the 25th Century arrived on the Sega Megadrive and that got me into RPGs because it fueled my love for travelling, exploration and throwing grenades at aliens.

    Ever since then, the art of immersion has become much more effective, and classic gaming moments like opening the Vault door in Fallout 3 for the first time, climbing up the ramp out of the underground city of Neriak in EverQuest, or taking over my first outpost in FarCry 3, all of these leave imprints on my mind as if I’d actually been there and done those things.

    And with the advent of big widescreen TVs, surround sound, life-like graphics (I think we’ve gone passed photo-realism now), the immersion gets better and better, and this allows go anywhere, do anything.

    You know you’ve been playing too much, though, when you jump on the bus and ask the driver for a return to Stormwind.

    • Alecs Pilik

      A great story is key to most games for me. It was one of the only reasons that I kept buying the COD games after World at War, say what you will, they know their way around a story.

      That scene from Fallout is one of my favourites too, that entire game was fantastic. Was a bit disappointed with New Vegas, but apparently they’re working on Fallout 4, so I’m very excited for that!

      I want to get my hands on some of the old text based RPGs, but I’ve still not got around to it!

      Thanks for reading.

    • Thinkbad Monkey

      Immersion is a massive part of gaming, though do you think that Achievements popping up while you play remind you that you are playing a game?

  • Michael Scoates

    Immersion for me. I started in the arcades with Space Invaders in the 70s, I was not only defending Earth but trying to beat that ruddy Hi-Score that AZA had left in my absence. So when consoles arrived my first thought was: “Wait, I can play these for FREE? Forever?? No more 10p pieces???”

    For a kid my age what was fantastic as I could now buy The Beano AND Hook Jaw every week AND carry on playing games. Then Buck Rogers in the 25th Century arrived on the Sega Megadrive and that got me into RPGs because it fueled my love for travelling, exploration and throwing grenades at aliens.

    Ever since then, the art of immersion has become much more effective, and classic gaming moments like opening the Vault door in Fallout 3 for the first time, climbing up the ramp out of the underground city of Neriak in EverQuest, or taking over my first outpost in FarCry 3, all of these leave imprints on my mind as if I’d actually been there and done those things.

    And with the advent of big widescreen TVs, surround sound, life-like graphics (I think we’ve gone passed photo-realism now), the immersion gets better and better, and this allows go anywhere, do anything.

    You know you’ve been playing too much, though, when you jump on the bus and ask the driver for a return to Stormwind.

    • Alecs Pilik

      A great story is key to most games for me. It was one of the only reasons that I kept buying the COD games after World at War, say what you will, they know their way around a story.

      That scene from Fallout is one of my favourites too, that entire game was fantastic. Was a bit disappointed with New Vegas, but apparently they’re working on Fallout 4, so I’m very excited for that!

      I want to get my hands on some of the old text based RPGs, but I’ve still not got around to it!

      Thanks for reading.

    • Thinkbad Monkey

      Immersion is a massive part of gaming, though do you think that Achievements popping up while you play remind you that you are playing a game?