The next time you're playing a game, especially if you're playing online, i want you to ask yourself something.
What am I doing?
What's your answer?
No this is not meant to make you realize you should be doing something else besides playing video games, that would be a 'why' question.
Keep on playing.
But what are you doing?
I'm sure a good number of you might answer something like this:
"I'm getting XP."
"I'm leveling up."
"I'm pwning people."
"I'm showing these people my sick skills."
"I'm playing a game online. Duh."
Not that there's anything wrong with those things, but what if there was a different way to answer that question?
When we play online we lose a lot of the immersion in the game world that we feel when we play single player, or campaign modes in games. When we're playing online it becomes less about what's happening in the game world, less about the characters (the players), and their potential motivations, and more about racking up high score, gathering as much XP and points as possible, and climbing the leaderboards.
Here's a better way to answer the question of "What am I doing?" while playing games:
"I'm engaged in combat against the Russian army fighting for my life and my country."
"I'm a U.S. Marshall roaming the West looking for criminal scum to bring to justice."
"I'm holding off zombies with my friends in a desperate attempt at survival."
Which type of answer sounds more exciting? More immersive?
The other day I joined a match of Undead Overrun in Red Dead Redemption. The character I was playing as was one of the U.S. Marshall characters. The other 3 players in the lobby were John Marston, Jack Marston, and a crusty miner, Seth.
I didn't start thinking about how much XP I was going to get, what level everyone was at, or if they were noobs or not, but rather I came up with a scenario for what was about to happen.
A U.S. Marshal teaming up with a renegade father and son duo and a dirty miner who has never cared about another person in his life must band together. This unlikely team must cooperate out of necessity in order to survive in the face of the zombie Apocalypse.
Does that sound more exciting, more fun, more immersive, that just looking at it in terms of XP, online play, and winning?
If not, then carry on as you were. You can stop reading now and go back to playing CoD or whatever.
If it sounds more fun than what you're used to then you now have an exciting new way to get involved with your games and stimulate your imagination and creativity.
This is just what I do naturally when I get into a multiplayer game. I love to come up with tiny storylines to make sense of what's going on. I like to get into the character I'm controlling like I talked about in the post Every Game is an RPG.
You should be able to get as much excitement, fun, and happiness out of every day as you possibly can. Video games give you such great opportunities to get these things.
Don't miss out on the chances to enhance your play with your own imagination.
Enjoy your game.
Enjoy your life.
Don't get eaten.