My Poor Assumption About Fellow Gamers

I think I’ve started to come to terms with a false assumption I’ve held for some time now. That is: everybody plays games for the same reason that I do. I’ve always conceded that all people have different play-styles, but I think I’ve taken for granted that different people approach the hobby of gaming very differently. Participating in the NBI this year has really opened my eyes to some of the reasons gamers don’t see eye-to-eye on things such as game direction or importance of various systems and mechanics.

My own reasons for playing center mostly around having fun and decompressing after a long day. My reasons for blogging come more from a desire to create and converse, using one of the few forms of creativity with which I am gifted. What I’m seeing, however, is that others have far more serious reasons for participating in both of these activities. Having fun and creating are at the root of it, but why the need to have fun? Why the need to create? What is driving folks to these forms of coping and expression in the first place?

What I’m finding is that the reasons and motivations are as varied as the individuals. Though several NBIers have given public accounts of their backgrounds and struggles, I am not comfortable bringing up names or even providing links to those posts. Suffice it to say, the NBI is filled with a wonderfully diverse set of amazingly talented and courageous people. People who were raised dirt poor, and have persevered in life despite a disadvantaged upbringing. People who suffered at the hands of or were neglected by family members as children. People who were born with fewer than five physical senses. People with extreme anxiety, who struggle to even participate in a support group because of…well, anxiety. People who have recently experienced or are experiencing a grave illness in a close family member. People who’s lives could have taken a completely different path had it not been for one or two minor decisions.

As I step back and observe the cross-section of the NBI, I can’t help but be utterly in awe of both the courage and generosity that is on display. Also, my poor assumption becomes all the more clear. Where I see “just a game”, and perhaps a means to exercise my anti-social social needs, others see a true escape, or in the case of blogs, a form of therapy. It’s similar to my decompression and desire to create, but magnified by the intense life experiences of the individual. Those involved come to depend on games and blogging as a means to cope with things with which I have no experience. Thus, it truly does become more than “just a game” to them.

With this in mind, it’s easy to see how I might disagree with somebody about the importance of a game.  A large update that I may shrug off could be a major source of angst for somebody who depends on the game to get through the week. A change to the in-game social mechanics could be a minor annoyance to me, but a major problem for someone who needs to communicate with guild-mates for their own social well-being. These are things that I will keep in mind as I converse with fellow gamers in the future. Likewise, I hope my own situation will be taken into consideration, as well. I have a family that includes a wife and 4 children, a full-time job, a house, volunteer obligations, and a dog. My occasional flippancy towards the games that I enjoy is more a commentary on how much more important other things in my life are to me, and not a slight against somebody else’s passion.

We all enjoy these games, but to different degrees and for different reasons. In my mind, it’s pretty cool that we can come together as one community despite the differences.

#NBI #Coping #Community

Featured image by RocaSalvatella on Flickr Creative Commons

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21 thoughts on “My Poor Assumption About Fellow Gamers

  1. CrowingOne May 20, 2014 / 7:38 am

    NBI: come for the blagging, stay for the really awesome and interesting people 😀 I’m so glad to have found the NBI as it has put me in contact with other gamers and writers who are providing a lot of interesting perspective and downright enjoyable interactions.

    Like

  2. Miss Mojo May 20, 2014 / 7:56 am

    I just want to give you a big hug after reading this, i dont know why but i just want to! Post just made me glad 🙂

    Like

  3. Pasduil May 20, 2014 / 11:07 am

    Serious food for thought there Brax.

    I can well see how participating in games and online communities could be a lifeline for some people. And then the thought immediately occurs to me that such things can be pretty transient. It’s almost inevitable that over time your game of choice will undergo major changes or be shuttered, that people you liked hanging out with will move on, that the very nature of online communication will alter substantially as time passes and tech changes.

    Various online communities have been important to me over the years, but they’ve come and gone. Unlike RL communities they can disappear pretty quickly. Someone decides to move the thing to a new platform, and 90% of the people don’t come over in the transition. Or a new CEO comes in, a business model gets tweaked, and lots of people decide it’s not a place they want to be any more. Or Google changes an algorithm, and suddenly the site is not financially viable any more. Bang… it’s gone in a puff of smoke before you know it.

    Now I’ve always found new places I like hanging out, but they’ve never been the same as the old places that vanished. Each had a different crowd, a different culture, scratched different itches for socializing or expressing myself.

    So I guess I would caution everyone, myself included, against getting over reliant on any one online community or game.

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    • Braxwolf May 20, 2014 / 1:24 pm

      I certainly wouldn’t prescribe these forms of coping as permanent solutions to serious issues. In fact, I’m not qualified to prescribe anything 🙂 Offline communities wax and wane as well, just over a much longer period of time. I do agree that those with serious issues should seek out RL support systems, as well. There is potential danger in putting all your eggs in a single, liquid, online community basket.

      Thanks for stopping by, Pasduil. Always a pleasure 🙂

      Like

  4. Liore May 20, 2014 / 12:20 pm

    This is a good post and you should feel good about it!

    Like

  5. Izlain May 20, 2014 / 8:18 pm

    Games were always a way for me to have fun as a kid (and forget that we were pretty poor). As an adult, they were my way to decompress from a long day at work.

    As I’ve gotten older my social circles in real life have become almost non-existent. As a result, the NBI has brought me closer to a lot of bloggers that I didn’t know previously, and I have felt like I have a social circle again, despite not really seeing these people day to day. It’s made me feel less alone in the world, and less like I’m talking to myself on my blog.

    This movement had become larger than the sum of its parts.

    Like

  6. Doone May 20, 2014 / 9:05 pm

    Great words that should be shared 🙂 I think we’ve all come to things with our poor assumptions, but knowing that and trying to understand one another makes it better. I’ve been blogging with some of you for a while, but theres nothing like finding a new blog that you really get into because thats what keeps your own writing interesting.

    My mind is wandering. Time for a game 🙂

    Like

  7. Brigo Broadbelt May 21, 2014 / 12:03 am

    As I’ve read responses here and caught conversations on the Twitterverse I’ve appreciated and enjoyed observing what effects the joys & trials of our dear MMOs have on us, and the closest thing I can compare them to are restaurants: for me LOTRO is my near and dear meat & 3–dishing up the same solid home-cooked favorites while Landmark is the new exotic sushi bar that folks are excited about but is yet really unproven. Personally, I want both to be around a VERY long time.
    My gaming comes in 30 to 60 min chunks usually and irregularly. I pop in and out. I’m amazed at what folks accomplish in game but realize not only do I not have the time to build/skirm what they do – – I’m lucky to even get to watch the tutorials! But I still love it.

    And, you know what? I’ve also learned to apply what one of our heroes said that all of us – – especially fretful MMO lovers – – should heed: “Don’t let your happiness depend on something you might lose.” Thank you CSLewis. That is so spot on.

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  8. Joseph Skyrim May 25, 2014 / 10:17 pm

    Good post Braxwolf. 🙂 Speaking about your posts, you might want to consider having an easier way for people to reach your older ones. Just a suggestion! ^_^

    Like

    • Braxwolf May 25, 2014 / 10:32 pm

      Probably the biggest flaw with this particular theme. I’m somewhat limited by trying to use a free theme on WPA dot com. You wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to find one that’s both functional AND aesthetic!

      Like

      • Pasduil May 29, 2014 / 2:02 pm

        Yes, given the hundreds of free themes on WordPress.com, it’s surprising how few are a good fit. When I was starting my blog there can’t have been more than five I even considered decent options, and most of those had some niggling drawback.

        You may be able to hack something up for reaching older posts using the Display Posts shortcode somehow.

        That’s how I made the Featured Posts part of my sidebar. I have a category called Featured, and use the shortcode to pull in posts from that category.

        Like

  9. wallcat June 13, 2014 / 3:27 am

    It gets to me trying to play with people who are in it for competitive reasons only. I play games partly to relax and have fun, so then to have someone in turn shouting at me because I made a mistake can put a downer on my session (I really don’t think these two types of gamer mix well.) Sometimes I really look forward to playing a game waiting in eager anticipation throughout the day, so it can disappoint me in the case of an MMO when I can’t accomplish what I wanted due to a community issue or update. I also play for escapism. I do suffer from some anxiety and when everything gets on top of me putting a game on really helps. I also blog partly for that reason too, because it forces me to push through some of my barriers, as well as being fun and giving me an outlet for my over-active mind.

    I’ve realised as I’ve grown up that perspective can make a really big difference on how people experience something. Often it feels like your in the right and the other person is being naïve, but if you actually look at things in a different light you can see that both people are right in a way. I try to be open minded :p.

    Like

    • Braxwolf June 13, 2014 / 6:02 pm

      Yes, and I’ve also found that my perspective has shifted as I’ve entered different life phases. Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  10. Vlad Matejka (@thematejka) July 1, 2014 / 8:22 pm

    Very relevant article, Brax. Humans are so diverse and the minuscule, linear, and restricted capabilities in games (compared to real life) can really diminish who we really are as individuals. I like many identify as a gamer, but it is not all I am.

    This article related very well to your article on F2P and subscriptions, as they both tend to draw people with different objectives and are marketed to people in different life-stages.

    Like

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