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Blazing Man

The Reason We Play

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This is a very difficult topic and a proper answer would take me hours, so I’ll just write a little thought: “games” are not the same thing we get addicted to. Videogames are games, yes, but they’re also industrial products specifically manufactured to get us hooked. Daily quests, grinding, measurable progress, loot boxes: everything is in place for you to spend countless hours on it.

Also, while traditional games (hide and seek) are inherently social, altruistic, and without an endgame (there’s no “goal”, players switch roles every round, and winning is not important), videogames (League of Legends) are inherently antisocial, egoistic, win-driven. In the words of actor Carmelo Bene (the same words of the french psychologist and philosopher Jacques Lacan), there’s a sensible difference between “games” and “jokes”. In games, the players give up individuality to constitute a whole (the game is more important than the player). In “jokes” (the term is of course derogatory), jokers are focused on themselves, they don’t forget themselves, they just want to win, thus destroying the purpose of a game, which is, to be social in a creative, fun and primordial (dionysiac) way. Games are linked to the domains of animality, sex, theater, war, poetry, fun, folly. Jokes are linked to the domains of power, work, struggle, warfare. In short, we don’t play videogames for the same reasons we play games.

Of course this is just an unkempt opinion, and should be made object of further investigation and revision, but I think the core of what I wrote reflects what I think about this topic with a decent grade of accuracy.

Edited by info-gatherer
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5 hours ago, info-gatherer said:

This is a very difficult topic and a proper answer would take me hours, so I’ll just write a little thought: “games” are not the same thing we get addicted to. Videogames are games, yes, but they’re also industrial products specifically manufactured to get us hooked. Daily quests, grinding, measurable progress, loot boxes: everything is in place for you to spend countless hours on it.

Also, while traditional games (hide and seek) are inherently social, altruistic, and without an endgame (there’s no “goal”, players switch roles every round, and winning is not important), videogames (League of Legends) are inherently antisocial, egoistic, win-driven. In the words of actor Carmelo Bene (the same words of the french psychologist and philosopher Jacques Lacan), there’s a sensible difference between “games” and “jokes”. In games, the players give up individuality to constitute a whole (the game is more important than the player). In “jokes” (the term is of course derogatory), jokers are focused on themselves, they don’t forget themselves, they just want to win, thus destroying the purpose of a game, which is, to be social in a creative, fun and primordial (dionysiac) way. Games are linked to the domains of animality, sex, theater, war, poetry, fun, folly. Jokes are linked to the domains of power, work, struggle, warfare. In short, we don’t play videogames for the same reasons we play games.

Of course this is just an unkempt opinion, and should be made object of further investigation and revision, but I think the core of what I wrote reflects what I think about this topic with a decent grade of accuracy.

All that information really helped me, thank you so much ! But there's also games (that are not video-games) that are competitive like chess, throwing darts, billards, bowling and so on.Sports are also competitive.And there's solo/non-online video games where you obviously don't compete.

Edited by Blazing Man

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5 hours ago, Blazing Man said:

All that information really helped me, thank you so much ! But there's also games (that are not video-games) that are competitive like chess, throwing darts, billards, bowling and so on.Sports are also competitive.And there's solo/non-online video games where you obviously don't compete.

Hey!

Yes, sports are similar to videogames. The “jokers” category was in fact invented to describe the difference between games and sports. I extended it to videogames, I find them more similar to sports than games (guess what? They’re called e-sports now).

And yes, there are non-competitive games, but discussing that would take us far away from the current topic. I made the example of LoL because it’s the most addictive game out there and it can serve as a paragon.

Also, I need to add that I didn’t mean to convey the idea that normal games (hide and seek) are not competitive. They are very competitive, and that’s why they are fun. But the difference, both in my personal experience and from a theoric standpoint, is that they stop to be competitive the second the game finishes. They are cathartic, like greek drama, they reconcile the players, the winner and the loser. Videogames, instead, aren’t cathartic. I’ve seen a friend of mine smash his mouse on the ground and screaming after losing a LoL game. They keep the competition alive even after the match has ended. They don’t reconcile souls, and they’re specifically designed to work like this, so that you want to play more and more.

Again, just my two cents. This is my personal opinion on a topic I thought a lot about in the last months (since when I quit). But the real, complete answers keep eluding me and would take a lot of dedication to be found.

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19 hours ago, info-gatherer said:

Hey!

Yes, sports are similar to videogames. The “jokers” category was in fact invented to describe the difference between games and sports. I extended it to videogames, I find them more similar to sports than games (guess what? They’re called e-sports now).

And yes, there are non-competitive games, but discussing that would take us far away from the current topic. I made the example of LoL because it’s the most addictive game out there and it can serve as a paragon.

Also, I need to add that I didn’t mean to convey the idea that normal games (hide and seek) are not competitive. They are very competitive, and that’s why they are fun. But the difference, both in my personal experience and from a theoric standpoint, is that they stop to be competitive the second the game finishes. They are cathartic, like greek drama, they reconcile the players, the winner and the loser. Videogames, instead, aren’t cathartic. I’ve seen a friend of mine smash his mouse on the ground and screaming after losing a LoL game. They keep the competition alive even after the match has ended. They don’t reconcile souls, and they’re specifically designed to work like this, so that you want to play more and more.

Again, just my two cents. This is my personal opinion on a topic I thought a lot about in the last months (since when I quit). But the real, complete answers keep eluding me and would take a lot of dedication to be found.

I understand what you say but at the same time I still don't fully see video games as dangerous/harmful and  I don't know why.I know that there's something fishy about video games but for me it's more a grey issue than a black and white issue.

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8 hours ago, Blazing Man said:

I understand what you say but at the same time I still don't fully see video games as dangerous/harmful and  I don't know why.I know that there's something fishy about video games but for me it's more a grey issue than a black and white issue.

Except for very few exceptions, I personally see games as a harmful/wasteful activity in general, even if you're not addicted. If I think of any time of my life that I would consider gaming to be 'okay', I can always find another activity that I would rather do, given that I am in full emotional/state control of myself. Is gaming the best form of relaxation? No. Is gaming the best form of adrenaline-pumping fun? No. Is gaming the best social channel? No. Is gaming the best way to learn something? No. And so on. For me, gaming is always inferior to real life activities in any regard. This is really just my inner view though.

 

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