It gets me

The same procedure than every year. It’s November, a new Call of Duty gets released, I buy it. It’s like having a favorite game, and in each year a new version is produced of it. Because that is it, a new Version. Everything is the same, the gameplay, the rules, the controls, even the graphics, just the setting changes. Is a changed setting worth sixty bucks?

I wouldn’t say so. It’s just, I mean, I have been addicted to this game in earlier years. Although I don’t even have time anymore to play it that often, I want to have it. It has done something with me, or in my head, that repeats the habit to buy it every single year. My real life setting is independent from this habit, if I have time or not, it doesn’t matter. I still want it. And my friends? They already have it.

So I came back from Alaska, stepping in my dorm, and my roomates were playing Call of Duty: WWII (Activision, 2017), the newest version of the franchise. I would lie if I would say that I wouldn’t have hoped for that. Actually, I wanted to see this. I was excited for this game. Alaska? Far away in my head. What a shame.

I came back and had no time to realize, what I just did. Walking into the nature, purely and vast, and nothing else. I was just on me, alone, thinking about me and life. And then I came back and jumped into my normal day to day life during my semester abroad like nothing special happened. And a new Call of Duty confirmed this, it confirmed a habit, that I have been used to, for many years. Again, what a shame.

Argh. I want to do more out of this situation, I want to achieve more with the thoughts I gained through my Alaskan adventure. But at the same time I want to play this games with my friends. Well, maybe this is a discovery. I don’t want to play it alone. I would not sit down for myself and play it for myself with anyone around. What a difference to my previous adventure, completely alone in the wilderness! And what a confusing discovery…

Lets find out more about this 🙂

iNoReply

 

A real game

This week I did not a play a real video game. Some sort of, the game I played this week was too real to be a video game, it was a game in real life. A traveled to Alaska. I was dreaming about Alaska for ten years, and now the challenge in that sort of game was to find out, whether Alaska fulfills me the way I expected. Moreover, other challenges were completing different tasks like various flights I had to take, buses and rental cars, hiking mountains, hiking through the snow, staying alive in the wilderness. Being at the airport right now to get the last flight back to university, I have to say, that I completed all challenges. Yet the question of personal fulfillment in Alaska cannot be answered.

While I was staying in a rustic lodge in Northern Alaska, being the only tourist over there, I was thinking of life right now. Do I complete the challenges, life gives me each day? Do I not only complete,  but rather be good at completing all those tasks in everyday’s life? I was thinking, and thinking, and thinking. The life game was very hard to answer.

I do my best. That’s for sure. But giving my best does not mean I never fail. There is no respawn in real life, so I have to stay alive, no matter what. But staying alive can be seen from different angles. Either to just stay alive, going through life by accepting all given circumstances. Or to stay alive the best possible way, enhancing the experience of life every single day and trying to not only complete all required tasks, but also all optional fun tasks, that enriches life.

Such like traveling to Alaska. This travel game enriches my life, and I had to do it. Otherwise I never could have find out, if Alaska is the same as it is in my dreams. Its the same like a playing a video game. You only can find out if the game is as you expected it to be by playing it. Some things in life can just be conquered by going or playing through it.

Now, every game has it’s positive and negative aspects. For example in a game, that gives you options instead of being linear, forcing you to weigh up options and then to decide for a certain path, you might choose a path, which makes you wonder, if the other path probably would have been the better choice. But at the end both, real life and a video game, give you the freedom to also explore the other path afterwards. So what I am thinking of is, that going alone, just by myself, to Alaska, into this vast infinite beauty of wilderness, might been the path, that I should not have gone alone. Maybe I should have selected the multiplayer mode for that real life game, so I could have said afterwards, that Alaska was better than expected. But for now, the vast beauty of Alaska amazed me in a way, that I have expected. But not more.

Isn’t that always the case? The multiplayer mode is much more addictive. I’ll keep that in mind for my next travels.

Until next time,

iNoRepLy

Fake attention

My roomates don’t do anything else. They just wake up, eat, go to university and play video games. What the hell? There is so much to do here in and around Nanaimo. It’s Canada!

These thoughts just appeared, when I came back from a hiking trip and I saw my roomates playing video games together. And right after I had these thoughts I was asking myself, what would they think if they visit my home country Germany for the first time and seeing me playing video games in my room all day long. Probably something quite similar to my thoughts, right?

The funny thing is, that I immediately sat down to play with them. The second before I judged them, the second after I play with them. This truly is determined by the attraction of the game they play, and the game we have been playing together the last two weeks.

But today, nothing works. I die over and over again, I can’t keep up with the hundreds of other online players. It’s frustrating. So I’ll pass the controller along and now its his turn to give his best. It works for him! But why! I am a much better player than he is. I don’t want to look at this anymore.

I got out of the room and the first thought appeared again. They should not play all day long. They should go out and do something. But to be honest, I knew, that I would have had a totally different feeling if I actually were successful at the game, while my roomates where watching me playing. Its weird. To be more honest, I am not interested at all in watching them play. I just want them to watch me playing, watch me being successful, being the best.

Do they have similar thoughts? According to their reactions when I play, no. They react in a way that supports the idea of me playing Call of Duty in front of them. So why do I have these thoughts? Is my attention to them playing this game in front of me really fake?

The euphoria I had the weeks before is now on a low level. I still want to go back to the game, but situations like this make me feel uncomfortable. Especially because they saw me loosing at the game. Argh!

It might be part of my personality, that I react in this way with my inner thoughts and feelings. In my opinion, I should set myself the challenge, to gain a better perspective in these situations, creating real attention to my roomates, supporting them in their play as much as they do when I play. That is what I should try to do, instead of being frustrated about my lack of success in the game. Why can’t I be just happy about Alex reaching new highscores? I feel like I have to analyze this question again in upcoming GamePlay blogs.

Until next time,

iNoReply

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

 

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 – Series, 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