GamePlay Blog – Week 1
September 11th – 17th 2017
To me, the act of gaming holds importance outside of the game itself. The time that I set aside to play my favorite games is also the time I set aside to spend with my partner and my friends. With this in mind, I paid special attention to whether or not I was multitasking during gameplay: whether the game was my primary focus, or if it acted as more of a “social backdrop” to other things.
My academic methodology can be accessed here.
Overwatch is a team-based first person shooter in which players can choose from a variety of characters with unique skills and gameplay styles (Overwatch). It’s one of my favorite games, and one that I routinely spend time playing day-to-day. To me, it’s become an integral part of my leisure time. It’s almost guaranteed that if I feel like playing Overwatch, I’ll have someone to play it with me: be it my partner or some of our mutual gamer friends.
Looking at the data collected, it’s clear that playing Overwatch is a daily habit. Where some people might watch their favourite show to unwind after class, my go-to activity is playing video games. Beyond that, the consistency in which I was multitasking while playing (browsing the internet, communicating with friends) indicates to me that I value time management and may have trouble completely surrendering myself to a single task, no matter how absorbing it might be.
This week, I took notice of a few key things in regards to how playing Overwatch impacted me:
- Having recently come back from a summer-long vacation devoid of PC games, I was feeling a mix of elation and frustration at being able to play again. I was enjoying the game and the company of my friends, but I was also feeling annoyed at myself for being out of practice. This definitely impacted how I felt at the end of the session, which varied throughout the week but tended to center around “needing a break” from the game and the annoyance I felt because of it.
- Besides looking forward to the game itself, I was noticeably excited to be able to re-connect with people I had missed while away for the summer. In this way, the act of playing Overwatch became less about the game, and more about the way it established a connection between my friends and I.
- My mood was drastically improved when my partner and I were joined by our mutual friends, partially in that we were able to spend time with them, and partially because it allowed for better success in game.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Animal Crossing is a series I’ve enjoyed for many years, and due to the portable nature of the Nintendo 3DS (“Features”), is something I’m able to enjoy while performing other tasks. It’s a very casual simulation/role-playing game, in which the player is the mayor of a quiet village filled with adorable animal characters (Animal Crossing: New Leaf). To me, it’s a combination of calming and stimulating—I play to relax, but I also do my best to achieve the vision I have for my village.
My gameplay time, while ridiculously inflated at first glance, comes largely from my habit of fiddling with my 3DS while doing anything at my desk: browsing or watching things on the computer, talking with friends, eating meals, and even sometimes playing other games at the same time! It’s interesting to note that while the 3DS is entirely portable and I tend to bring it with me when I leave the house, I never actually seem to play it anywhere but home. This, as well as other data, indicates to me that I regard my desk as a space for efficiency. I try to perform multiple tasks in the same amount of time.
This week, I took notice of a few key things in regards to how playing Animal Crossing impacted me:
- I felt consistently excited to play the game day-to-day, accomplish tasks, make progress, and spend time doing menial tasks in the game. Never did I exit the game with a feeling of frustration, finality, or dissatisfaction.
- I engaged in the multiplayer aspect of the game more than I have previously. This is largely due to my partner also owning and playing his own copy of the game. However, I did not spend anywhere near as much time playing with him as I did playing on my own.
- I did not necessarily treat the game as something with goals or objectives. A good portion of my playtime was spent just enjoying the atmosphere and the “feel” of being in the game world.
Where Overwatch acts as not only a game, but also a means of interacting and connecting with friends, Animal Crossing is largely an experience I engage in for myself. I enjoy the gameplay, the strategy, and the aesthetics of Overwatch alongside its ability to act as a social backdrop. Conversely, the time I spent in the Animal Crossing game world was almost entirely for my own private enjoyment. In this way, the consistency in which I play Overwatch versus Animal Crossing’s chaotic playtime makes more sense: the first game is played habitually to meet social needs as well as entertainment needs, whereas the latter is played largely for private enjoyment.
Overwatch. 126.96.36.199B. Blizzard Entertainment. 31 August 2017. Video game.
“Features.” Nintendo 3DS. Nintendo. Web. 18 September 2017 Accessed.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Nintendo. 8 December 2016. Video game.