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Are You Gaming For the Right Reasons? 220

An editorial at IGN discusses healthy (and unhealthy) ways to play video games. The author says that while gaming is a perfectly legitimate hobby, it needs to be approached with moderation and an understanding of what you get out of playing. Without understanding your motivations and compulsions, it's quite possible to play video games in a way that's detrimental. From the article: "Games, especially modern ones, revolve around the principle that if you put the time in, you will be rewarded. Many gamers claim to not understand how anyone could put up with grinding in a video game. But grinding is comforting. Grinding tells us that, no matter what, if you keep playing you'll become more powerful. ... The real world does not operate this way. You can 'grind' at a job for 10 years and still be laid off. You can 'grind' at your physical health your whole life but if you switch to an unhealthy lifestyle you will immediately begin losing this progress. ... It's important for gamers to have mastery of their own mind. Are you grinding out a level in World of Warcraft because you're truly enjoying the experience, or are you doing it to replace missing feelings of self-worth that you don't want to confront? Do you revel in your virtual successes to avoid the uncomfortable internal dialogue regarding of your abandoned gym routine? Are you playing games because you're having fun, or because you have an unconfronted fear of failure?
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Are You Gaming For the Right Reasons?

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  • WHOA !! DUDE !! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @06:45AM (#41164005)

    If you are GAMING and think you need any sort of reason, you are one messed up dude !!

  • Re:Pffft... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @06:48AM (#41164015)

    I used to think that's what I was doing. Then I realized that, more times than not, the night ends with my blood pressure being higher than when I started and I'm inches from throwing the xbox remote through my TV.

    Maybe I should pick games I'm better at. That or we euthanize known campers and snipers as a public health measure.

  • by Neil_Brown ( 1568845 ) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @06:48AM (#41164017) Homepage
    Or because it is a better means of escapism than reading cod-psychology online?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @06:51AM (#41164041)

    all they have to do is play it 100 hours a week and they're gods. that's why i don't play multiplayer rpgs, i don't want to be in a "no life contest" with some unemployed fat guy in kentucky.

  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @06:56AM (#41164075) Homepage

    Good idea: Playing a game to have a good time, challenge your mind, and reduce your stress.
    Bad idea: Playing a game instead of having a good time, boring your mind, and causing stress.

    In other words, the moment a game starts interfering with your friends, family, work, marriage, etc, stop now! The game will be there for you if and when you come back to it.

  • by realityimpaired ( 1668397 ) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @06:57AM (#41164081)

    To be fair, it is one of the more creative trolls I've seen, though... certainly more entertaining than the usual goatse or racist crap. I especially love the part where he says he gets angry if he hasn't had his daily subway, like he's as addicted to it as he is to video games... :P

    Healthy eating is part of the equation. You can eat as healthy as you want to, if you're not getting enough of the right exercise you'll still have health problems. Humans evolved to move, and the sedentary lifestyle we live today is bad for our health.

  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:12AM (#41164161) Journal

    Is it just me who reads TFA and things "this guy's just taken a basic intro-to-psychology course and is all excited thinking he can now explain the whole world"?

    If you like gaming, are able to financially support yourself and your gaming and can do so without ruining the rest of your life, then play whatever the hell you like.

    Also, the guy doesn't understand modern (Western) MMOs. These are MUCH less about grinding than is commonly considered to be the case. The level "grind" in World of Warcraft is so short as to barely merit the term. Going from 1-85 is best thought of as an extended tutorial where you learn how to play your class ahead of the real game, which begins at level 85.

    And once you're at level 85, the game is fundamentally skill based. On the PvP side, that's so obvious that I don't even need to explain it. On the PvE side, it perhaps deserves a slightly longer explanation of what the commonly perceived "gear grind" actually is.

    WoW's end-game PvE content is, over the course of each expansion, a series of co-operative challenges of increasing difficulty. The series starts with relatively short 5-man dungeons, which require fairly simple tactics. What then follows - released gradually via patches - is a series of challenges for larger groups (10 or 25 people) which require better reactions, better planning and more complicated tactics.

    It's a common misconception that the only difference between the bottom end raids in a WoW expansion and the top end raids is the gear requirement. Yes, you will need better gear to tackle the top-end raids, but this can essentially be thought of as a skill-check system. Before you can progress to the top end raid, you need to prove that you have the skill to defeat the easier, lower-end ones. If you don't have that, then you'll end up banging your head against a brick wall, no matter your gear level.

    So back when I was most deeply into the game, in the Burning Crusade era (1st expansion), the bottom end raid was Karazhan and the top end raid was Sunwell Plateau. Karazhan's bosses required fairly simple tactics, with generally just one or two mechanics that players needed to respond to during each fight. The difficulty increased substantially throughout the raid, culminating in a fairly tricky final boss. Said boss was, however, massively simpler than even the first boss in Sunwell Plateau, which required each player to keep track of a large number of factors at once, with any failure resulting in more or less instant death. Also, as you are level capped for this, the fights are not magically getting easier just because you put more time and effort in.

    So the attraction in modern, Western MMOs isn't the grind at all - it's about team-work and overcoming challenges co-operatively. Indeed, Western gaming in general has been remarkably successful in eliminating "the grind" - you don't tend to spend much time running in circles doing random encounters in a Bioware game, or one of the Witcher games.

    The grind does still live on in some Japanese gaming and in some Eastern MMOs - but that's likely just due to the conservatism of Japanese and Korean developers. It would be great if at some point during the next few years, a high profile Japanese RPG developer (perhaps Square) could take the step of eliminating grinding from its games.

  • Game to pass time. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:12AM (#41164165) Journal

    I game to pass time. It helps winds down the time till I die. One of the games I play is Everquest II. You end up doing a lot of grinding in the game. But grinding for purpose, not because it makes my mind numb. I grind to level up toons, for a quest, or probably to get a rare item to drop. But grind because I think that is what life is about? No.

    Life is the grind. Does it make sense? No. Do you always get rewarded? No. Is it going to change? No. So is it so weird that we grind in a game for rewards? No, I don't think so.

    And who is to judge why people play games? Does it really matter? The games are for escape, we all find our own way to escape reality. So what if someone is making up for whatever from their day job in a game? As long as they aren't being abusive towards others, I think whatever they want to do is fine.

    The article? Stupid. I'm not even sure what the problem is. Apparently, if we play games where we do good, and in real life we are doing bad, the video games are bad for us. Because we are trying to get over are real life failures online.

    Here's my take. Dude is a gamer that is hitting middle age. He's think back on all his wasted time in life and what he's missed out on, and want to blame it on video games. yes, another person blaming Real Life on video games.

  • by Exitar ( 809068 ) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:44AM (#41164345)

    Raiding Ice Crown or Dragon Soul for one year isn't considered grinding? Expecially in WotLK, when you could find yourself doing the same raid FOUR time a week (normal 10/25, heroic 10/25)? Kill Marrowgar 208 times in a year?
    "Hardcore" players try to justify themselves saying that raiding isn't grinding, but actually it is.

  • by rodrigoandrade ( 713371 ) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @07:45AM (#41164357)

    Slow news day, it seems, both at IGN and Slashdot.

    Gaming can be a fun past time, but if abused, it'll consume your life, much like drug or alcohol abuse.

    Nothing to see here.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:07AM (#41164513)

    Are you grinding out a [paycheck] in [employment] because you're truly enjoying the experience, or are you doing it to replace missing feelings of self-worth that you don't want to confront? Do you revel in your [monetary] successes to avoid the uncomfortable internal dialogue regarding of your abandoned [other factor]? Are you [working] because you're having fun, or because you have an unconfronted fear of failure?

  • Re:Pffft... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @08:39AM (#41164825)

    Maybe you shouldn't play a FPS with a fucking controller.

  • Re:Pffft... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Skarecrow77 ( 1714214 ) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @09:07AM (#41165125)

    Modded down for truth?

    Every FPS game I've played on both Console and PC (when available for both, obviously), I enjoyed immensely more on PC, simply because I didn't feel like I was fighting both the damn physical and virtual interfaces just to play the game.

  • Re:grind it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @09:27AM (#41165465) Journal

    Are they claiming IRL, working hard is meaningless?

    Largely, yes. Look at the hardest workers around. Construction workers, nurses, loggers, wind turbine technicians. These people work fucking hard, and are lucky if they make it to the middle class.

    Now look at the most successful people in the country. Lawyers, bankers, CEOs. They all sit around wearing pressed suits and charge tens if not hundreds of times the hourly rate of our hard working friends above. And they produce little or nothing of value for that time.

    That's the world we live in. The more successful you are, the less hard work you actually do.

  • Re:grind it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @10:13AM (#41166211) Homepage Journal

    You seem to be equating "hard work" with labor intensive work.

    Are you telling me a chemist can't work hard unless he's hauling containers back and forth? Are you telling me an administrator can't bust their ass with the only physical work being that of going to the file cabinet and back?

  • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @11:12AM (#41167245)

    Since when is finding and securing an advantageous position "dirty"?

    When it pisses me off, mainly.

    I'm not saying it's not a valid tactic. I'm not saying you shouldn't use it in competition, or even in a regular match. But it messes up my stress-vent "shoot everyone in the face" matches, so I just play against bots.

"Say yur prayers, yuh flea-pickin' varmint!" -- Yosemite Sam