golden jew

Am I working or playing?

This is a common favorite topic of mine, but goddamn is it relevant to my gaming life right now. Currently I am playing four games: Rock Band (with roommates and friends), Eve Online (as usual), Etrian Odyssey (when commuting), and DOTA (with real friends, as always).

Right now, Rock Band and Eve seem an awful lot like work. Rock Band I’m being forced to play practice mode to learn some of the harder song’s drum lines so that my virtual band might succeed (also, I’d like to get better at the drums). This experience has made me want to murder anyone who thinks that Rock Band and Guitar Hero are toys and not like real musical instruments. I feel like I’m taking drum lessons as I play the song at 50% to learn the muscle memory, then slowly speed it up to full. It’s a process that honestly isn’t fun, but it is rewarding.

In Eve-Online, my fantastic alliance recently made a land grab and is in the process of moving. As a result, I’m in an administrative nightmare of moving all of my assets, which is a bit rote, but well worth it. Still, it feels like work.

The result is that when I play DOTA, I feel like I’m skimping on the “real” video games I’m playing. I should be sorting through starships or practicing the drums or something. This is the strangest feeling, since I’m pretty sure I already have a real job.

I’d say I should just go play an old Nintendo game for fun, but those were even freaking harder than today’s game. Kids these day’s don’t realize what agony Alex Kidd in Miracle World was or the original Metal Gear.

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15 years ago

Regardless of what I think of the DOTA community, I would say that there is a reason why you’re going back to it; it is a challenging, competitive game that fulfills your deepest urges as a gamer, the same urges that kept you going as a child who kept playing games even if you couldn’t beat them on the first try. You’re having fun rising against the challenge, in experimenting in tactics (at least I did in DOTA – pissed off a lot of folks).

These days so many games are meant to be “completed” that we can often feel like we aren’t “doing it right” unless we’re getting unlockables, achievements or ending cutscenes. However, the idea of playing for scores and wins and simply to have fun are not outdated because of this evolution of the medium. Just because the rewards are even less of an intangible doesn’t mean they aren’t worth it. Currently this is one of the biggest hurdles I have with my gaming habits – aside from KOF XI, I feel guilty not playing something with a story. After beating Call of Duty 4 single player, I told myself “I have no games to play”, even though I had saves to progress through in Outrun 2006, Gungrave, Metal Gear Acid and R-Type Final.

Damn kids changing my hobby. I don’t know what to do with myself.

As for GH/Rock Band being “work”, I agree with what you say. I may, however, have a better followup post to that train of thought in the near future.

15 years ago

I have the exact same feeling every time I play Team Fortress 2 or ToB (a DOTA-alike). While I’m playing it, it’s really fun, but afterwards I feel like I should’ve been “making progress” on my current RPG/Strategy/etc.

I get a deeper satisfaction from the storied games, but I have to admit they do feel more work-like.

15 years ago

What about Etrian Odyssey? Where does that fit in?

15 years ago

The time that I Etrian is time I can’t be playing other games–I almost exclusively play it when I’m on my way to work, on the crapper, or sometimes now when I’m guarding space and nothing is happening in Eve. So it’s a pure time filler, and a wonderful one at that.