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