I am back!

I wake up. I want to play.

I go to sleep. Can’t wait to play again tomorrow.

The addiction to this game got me back. It just took a few ingredients: A roomate bringing in his Xbox. He bought Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered (Infinity Ward, 2017). And we have an online connection. That was it. And every single guy in my dorm was down to play the game!

So this week, we have played a lot. Like really a lot. But I can’t say, that it is the same addiction that happened to me a few years ago, when my life nearly was all about Call of Duty. This time, it does not feel like a compensation of real life. Moreover, it is a competitive, joyful experience. My roomates challenge themselves, while challenging all of these anonymous players around the world. Who is going to get the best highscore?

From an outer perspective, it is quite confusing. I am in Canada, in the country I ever wanted to live in, mostly because of the nature and the way of life. I could do thousand things in a day, but right now I rather go back to my dorm and play Call of Duty with my friends. Is it more fulfilling than experiencing nature? I would not say so. But why then do I spend more time playing this game instead of going out?

In a simple way, the addiction to a video game is different from the addiction to nature. I feel free when I’m walking through a forest with big trees and white mountains at the horizon, but right now I ask myself, how does nature reward me with this sense for mothers earth beauty? I feel free. A good feeling. But I am also asking myself, how this brings me further in life? The game instead creates a feeling of being proud of myself, because I have proved to be better than my friends and mostly better than the online competitors, and in addition, I leveled up. But at the end, this is temporary. It also does not brings me further in life. To conclude, nature and video games cause different emotions and feelings inside me, but the game rewards me quite more for spending time with it.

But wait. Doesn’t nature reward me too for spending time in it? Oh yes, it does! Just climb up this mountain and you see, what I see: Namely that there is nothing in this world that can haunt our consciousness more than nature. This is real, and although the emotions caused by video games are real too, they get created from something digitally, from something virtual, maybe even unreal.

So what am I going to do next after my class today? Go out for a walk? Or play Call of Duty with my roomates? The answer is easy and I think, that I don’t understand it fully yet. But yes, I am going to play. It is a nice Monday to play video games with your friends.

See you next week,

iNoReply

 

My soul just got dark

I try again. And again. And again. This bossfight freaks me out. Dark Souls III (From Software, 2016) is not fair. Noo, this game is just not fair. This stupid boss isn’t going to die! Whyyyy… argh! Again. And again. THIS GAME IS…

amazing! Finally I have beaten him. I feel overwhelmed. Pure joy is throwing its particles of happiness into my mind. Wow, that was a fight. Took me hours.

When I rethink the situation, I feel ashamed. I won this virtual bossfight, but the bossfight in real life, that one exam in the middle of the semester, was too hard for me to pass. I lost the game! And not only a few hours later I was sitting in front of the console, playing Dark Souls 3, smashing my emotions towards the screen and feeling… good afterwards. Yeah, I needed this good feeling.

I tried so hard, and in the end, I defeated the boss in the game. How hard have I tried to get a good grade in the exam in university? I feel like not having tried too hard. The grotesque thing is, that there is no restart button for my exam. I have to give my best to defeat the bossfight in real life with my first try. Otherwise I won’t get the points I need to be a successful student. So why did I not try as hard as I tried to defeat the Boss in the game? Wasn’t I aware of the consequences? Or did I just thought I can try again and again in my subconscious?

Friends trying hard on Dark Souls 3

Sometimes it is easy to loose track on the important things. Sometimes the world is so full of serious things to keep always in mind, the underlying need is to escape of that and just play games. The characteristic of a game is a non-serious level, I can try how often I want, and I can shake away all my thoughts of serious real life. Maybe this time, I forgot to catch them back. I maybe was still thinking of real life as a video game, and this is not only because I have been playing video games recently, but I enjoyed having fun in general. Serious stuff is not as much fun as the fun that is possible with friends around you.

Yeah, I feel ashamed. And this shame is going to make it different for my next exam. Shame is a factor of seriousness. And although the ecstatic joy I got overwhelmed with after defeating the boss in the video game was what I needed after so much frustration, the serious frustration of not getting the mark I wanted to achieve will not be replaced.

Until next time,

iNoReply

 

Infinite anger

It’s time for Call of Duty again. But not for the game, I used to be one of the best players in. I wanted to try something new. Something more modern, something progressed, something, that’s still related to the “Warfare” – Series by Infinity Ward, but is completely…

Shit. Sorry to say that. But if you ever played “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare” or “Modern Warfare 2”, you might understand me. In the years after the best two games of all time (according to my total multiplayer playtime), “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare” (2014), followed by “Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare” (2016) created a boundary of frustration around the Call of Duty – Series. When I now really tried to get into the multiplayer battle of Infinite Warfare, I had the same repetitive thought all over again: WHY DID YOU DO THIS, Infinity Ward?

Me personally, I changed too over the years. What I want to say is, that I learned from mistakes. I erased them through the years, and kept focusing on something that worked well. I am now like an improved version of the kid that was addicted to video games in his early puberty. But the game of my addiction, Call of Duty, did the opposite. They tried to improve a game by making it more complex. Instead of just erasing mistakes and focusing on the things that worked well, they added an infinite number of in-game things, that threw the players into the future of battle. But the future of the Warfare РSeries, also called progress according to the developers, is just a future setting, which steps back from a simplistic, addictive game.

The addiction of playing the first Modern Warfare was based on a simple mechanic, just like Counterstrike (Valve, 2000). A first person multiplayer shooter focused on the most addictive thing possible: Who is the better player when it comes to 1on1 ?

1on1 happens a hundred times during a single game. And the two old Modern Warfare – Games made it possible to realize in each 1on1-situation, who the better player was. Advanced Warfare and Infinite Warfare destroyed that addiction by adding numerous possibilities to leave a 1on1-situation as a winner, although it wasn’t a matter of skill. Players were flying around with their jetpacks, using advantages of getting killed a few times in a row, and I had no clue what was going on when I saw the Respawn-screen again and again.

So in these 3 1/2 hours that I played the multiplayer mode of Infinite Warfare, I just faced anger about all of the stuff the developers added to my beloved game. Anger about jetpacks, anger about the lack of simplistic level design, but yeah, anger about the millions of things to unlock which even made the bad players become successful. This is not what I was used to face in a Call of Duty – game. The previous addiction came from anger about my lack of skill, so I wanted to become the best player. Now it was just anger about the game itself.

Here and then it was fun, yeah, I got some really creative kills in the game. But there wasn’t a single moment, in which I forgot the world around me, in which my body and soul were so abandoned in the virtual world, that I did not care about food, friends, and real life in general anymore.

So after discovering that those new, “progressed” games can’t create addiction to myself, I still ask myself, whether the old ones are still able to pull me into the circle of a second life.

Until next week! Cheers,

iNoReply

More than just a game

Shortly after my frustrating re-start of Call of Duty, I got asked to play FIFA 17 (EA Sports, 2016) with a friend. So I just went to his apartment for a match or two, but we ended up playing it for three hours.

While I am writing this, I wonder about a thought I just had, a couple of hours later after I got back from my friends apartment:

Playing FIFA with a friend doesn’t feel like a video game.

Maybe the reason for that feeling is, that playing a sports video game together (especially FIFA), while both players actually sit next to each other in one room, became a totally normal and natural activity to me over the years. I started playing FIFA with real life friends at the young age of eight or nine, and it never stopped. We have played it together at the age of 14 and at the age of 22 and even on the last days before I went on the journey of my semester abroad in Canada. If I look back, this is actually the one and only activity I did with my friends in a continuous way, independently from time and age.

Although it is still a video game from a logical point of view, it became kind of a social activity. It was a reason to walk to each others house, grab a drink, and enjoy being together. And that social flair within a match of FIFA with a friend sitting next to you distinguishes it from many other games. Singleplayer games are created to be played alone. Even the most popular online games have little to zero social flair attached. But that match of FIFA, ohh, I could be excited the whole day when I knew I’ll be challenging a friend again; it’s like going out, but with the use of a game console.

True friendship.

In addition, the feelings and emotions are distinctly higher and more intensive while challenging a friend side by side. Every reaction of your friend, if verbal or nonverbal, and every single action in the game makes one totally happy or ludicrously frustrated. It is this up and down of feelings and emotions and the immediate possibility of reaction to each other, that makes us forget time, that deepens a friendship, and to get back to my opening thought, it makes us forget that we actually are playing a video game.

Yeah, it is much more than that. It is a social event for two players. Every single match is intimate, it is an intimate adventure of two friends.

A Sense of Duty

Week 2 Data

When I switch into the multiplayer mode, I feel an underlying duty rushing towards me like a wave of things, that I need to do, or moreover, that I want to do in order to reach the next level. The duty itself consists of playing hours by hours a specific game mode, not because I want my team, which always changes from round to round (my Clan times are over), to win, it is more likely an egocentric way of becoming better than the other players. I guess that’s it, I want to be the best player and you don’t have any chance against me.

For the first time ever, I thought about the gaming situation from an outer perspective. Young guy is sitting in the middle of the living room, gaming laptop in front him, he plays the multiplayer mode of the first person shooter Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. And while playing, he recaps, what he is doing.

The start is messed up. Haven’t played this game in ages. Although back then I had 20 days of playtime in CoD 4, it feels like I am a total newbie. I don’t have a single chance. Maybe it is because I am using the gaming laptop instead of my beloved Playstation, but this can’t be it. I still know the multiplayer map, I still know every single weapon, I still know where to go and how to behave. But my movement has changed, I am super slow, I don’t see an enemy at all.

But wait, there is one! Argh! Respawn.

My lack of reaction is frustrating. I get overwhelmed by the feeling, that it could take ages, until I am back into the game with all of my abilities to be the best player within a round of Team-Deathmatch. Shortly after it, I feel a little bit dizzy, the frustration seems to have a physical effect too. I stop playing the game for today.

iNoReply tries to step back into the game

While playing just for one hour, I have felt ambivalent about being back into the game. Back in 2011, I have spent nearly every day on the game, and when I had to chose the first weapon I want to use, it reminded me of that time. Back then, there didn’t exist any problems. Everything was second-rate. School didn’t matter, sports didn’t matter, going out with friends didn’t matter. Just the game mattered.

Now, after this one hour, I switch off the laptop and do some of my homework. After that I go out with friends. I takes three days, after I will switch on the game again.

What happened with me?

While frustration might be an important factor of how much I can get addicted to a level, in both ways, the fact that I was an actual good player some years ago made me quit the game quite fast again. Patience is required, and right now, I don’t have the patience. My life consists of so many things every single day, and gaming is just a little part of it. Why did I have so much patience back then? What made me actually getting addicted to an online game? And is there any chance I can get addicted again? I need to find out…

Until next week! Cheers,

iNoReply

Methodology

My academic methodology of this course is not only to record basic data of me playing video games, furthermore I want to find out more about myself and the game itself. To accomplish that, I will record data of the following things:

  • Game, duration
  • Interaction with other players
  • Addiction level (how much I am into this game)
    • 1 to 10. One is “I just played without any addiction to it”. Ten is “I forgot everything around me”.
  • Personal emotions while playing
  • Thoughts & Feelings before and after playing
Breaking down the data within a visual graphic

For now, these are the things I will record every week about the video game I played. I might add additional data here throughout the process.

I really want to understand the effects and consequences of playing a video game, and I really want to get a deeper sense of the relationship of me and the game.

Cheers,

iNoReply