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finch’s GamePlay Blog: Week 2

GamePlay Blog – Week 2
September 18th – 24th 2017
finch

Gaming, to me, is about more than playing for the enjoyment of the game. It has always been a necessary distraction, a source of engaging stimulation, an outlet, and most importantly a means to socialize within my own element. With that said, this week I was mindful as to just how much I was actually enjoying the game, as opposed to playing purely for any other reason. This is an important distinction to make, given my consistent urge to multitask and the emphasis I tend to place on using games as means to spend time with friends. Though the multitasking remained largely the same, I did note some interesting shifts this week.

Overwatch

I was definitely looking to play beyond social interaction this week. With things in real life continuing to be stressful, demanding, overwhelming, and at times altogether too much for me to process, Overwatch (Overwatch) is a necessary break from reality. With the inclusion of my partner and my friends, that “pause” from the rest of the world becomes a very safe, very comforting space that is sometimes difficult to disengage from.

Just as last week, my gameplay time is largely consistent day-to-day. Overwatch continues to be my go-to hobby. The game itself is decidedly addictive, and it’s all too easy to commit to “just one more game” before bed, or homework, or other responsibilities (and needs—eating is important). With that being said, the strength of this spellbinding effect is altogether broken as soon as the group consensus begins to shift: if one person starts to get frustrated, we tend to continue playing, however if more than half of the group starts to feel aggravated, tired, etc, we almost always fold and contend to play more later, after taking a much-needed physical, emotional, and mental break from the game.

This week, I took notice of a few key things in regards to how playing Overwatch impacted me:

  • I was more aware of my own desire to play the game itself, as opposed to looking at it from the perspective of “something to do with friends” or, even simply “something to do.” I found that yes, I did have a strong urge to play with or without other people directly accompanying me. At least once during the week I found myself idly thinking about the game and how much I’d rather be playing it (for the enjoyment of the game itself) than whatever it was I was doing at the time.
  • Though I still found myself getting frustrated with the game from time to time, specifically during stressful moments or losses that could have resulted in victory had my team been better coordinated, I was definitely calmer this week during play. I was better at detaching myself from whatever was frustrating, rather than investing the emotional energy in feeling upset. I think that this is an important skill, especially with online games.
  • As a whole, I had more fun playing this week. In part I think that stems from having more of my friends to play with than last week, but I think that my mood was better to start off with as a whole. I was also able to play more characters that I don’t usually get the opportunity to play, and so parts of the game felt newer and more exciting than usual.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf

I found myself doing some really vague self-reflection this week in regards to how my village is coming along: I did this. How do I want to proceed? Am I happy with how things are going? Ultimately, the answer was “yes,” but I think it’s important to step back now and again and look at the bigger picture. Animal Crossing (Animal Crossing) is an extremely open-ended game in which the player has control over almost all aspects of their little town and its inhabitants. It’s very easy to feel overwhelmed by choice, and I often find myself combing posts on Tumblr (“Tumblr”) for inspiration—at which point it becomes difficult to detach my game (what I want) from pictures of another person’s game publicly posted on the Internet (what I should want). Just because something looks good doesn’t necessarily mean it aligns with my own sense of aesthetics, and with the amount of time and work I put into tailoring my in-game village to fit my needs, I need to be careful of mimicking others solely out of internalized peer pressure.

My gameplay time this week is definitely more in line with reality than it was before. I made a conscious effort to save and turn off the system when I was less than halfway engaged with it, rather than leaving it partially-idle on my desk. I left the game untouched while I was watching movies this week, and was not as quick to fiddle with it while playing or doing other things, with only a few exceptions.

This week, I took notice of a few key things in regards to how playing Animal Crossing impacted me:

  • At first, I was beginning to feel a detachment from the game, and less of a desire to play day-to-day. This was largely due to some frustration I had with my own inability to make up my mind over an in-game decision. I eventually decided not to worry about it for the time being, and to instead focus on other things I wanted to accomplish in the game. Largely this comes from wanting things to “look a certain way,” and I tend to feel overwhelmed as to what I want vs what I should want, as I discussed at the start of my analysis.
  • I had a lot of fun with the multiplayer this week. My partner and I have started to fall into a routine with the game: I find items I think he would like, or he finds items he thinks I would like, and we make a “date” out of visiting each other in-game and delivering the presents. It’s a very small gesture, but it’s a nice feeling to do something for someone else, and I think we both feel more engaged with the game when we help each other out in terms of items, in-game currency, etc.
  • I found myself taking the time to appreciate my in-game accomplishments more than I used to. Instead of focusing only on how I could progress, or improve on what I had already done, I enjoyed looking over what I had already done. It was a sense of pride and appreciation.
Conclusion

It is critical to note that the moment I began playing Overwatch more for myself this week (playing the character I want to play as opposed to filling the same roles I usually do), my enjoyment of the game improved drastically. I will continue this trend into next week, as I think variety and the act of setting goals in terms of self-improvement is key to having fun even if my team loses the match.

Socialization continues to be a driving force for me, to the point that my partner and I have been discussing using Overwatch to meet new people. Animal Crossing, too, is becoming more and more focused on multiplayer: I’ve set a daily routine that focuses largely on how my own experience with the game can include or benefit my partner. I find myself taking more pride in my progress when it means I can show it off to someone else, without necessarily posting it on the Internet, as I mentioned is not unusual for the game.

 

Works Cited

Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Nintendo. December 8, 2016. Video game.

Overwatch. 1.14.1.2B. Blizzard Entertainment. August 31, 2017. Video game.

“Tumblr.” Tumblr. Website.

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