Sunday, March 2, 2008

Emotions and Video Games

One of the readings a few weeks back, I think it was Gee again (can you tell how much I like that book?), discussed the idea of emotional satisfaction with regard to video games. Games like Halo or Alice seem to satisfy this need in people to be destructive, violent, or at the very least they provide an outlet for pent up energy and aggression. According to the reading, there is a certain type of person who is attracted to this type of game. Calmer games, like those in the Myst series, help players to relax and challenge them with puzzles and logic. A different type of person is attracted to this type of game.

Lately I find myself wondering where I fit into this idea or if I even buy into it. I've been playing and enjoying Age of Empires. The battle scenes certainly evoke aggression - I find myself striving to build the biggest army I can so that when I go into battle I will dwarf my opponent. I find it incredibly satisfying when I take over another team's trading post or knock down their town center.

On the other hand, I've just recently purchased Myst. To be completely honest, I bought the anniversary edition set of the first three Myst games. I've just started playing the first one. It's an interesting game. I find it a little slow and even frustrating at times, but when I get a step closer to solving a puzzle, it's very satisfying as well.

With this interest I've developed in two very different styles of game, I can't figure out where I fit within Gee(?)'s emotional satisfaction argument. My choice of one game over the other is not related to my emotional state at the time or a need to either relax or release aggression. It's merely just a choice made on a whim. I'll have to continue exploring this idea. I'm wondering if I misinterpreted his argument and I plan on going back to look it over again. The games certainly give me the emotional satisfaction he suggested, but I don't think I'm drawn to one over the other due to any particular need.

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