Games can be artful. That is something I have already written an article about and have preached in numerous posts over on my own blog before. So to some extent I feel like I’m going to be beating a metaphorical dead horse with this post. However, after working on my own narrative that I hope to use as a backdrop for a D&D and Dread campaign it made me think that a lot of work goes into creating a game world and a decent amount of it barely gets noticed by players.
Now, I can’t sit here and say you’re playing the game wrong because that would be wrong and very hypocritical of me (see episode 76 of the podcast). However, I can and always will, encourage you as a player to slow down at some point when you are playing a game and admire the world that was created for us to explore. While I started to work on my own narrative and world to use in the aforementioned RPG’s, I quickly realized two things. Those being that creatively, I was creating part of my own game, and the second being that it is not an easy task to do so.
Granted, I do chalk the latter part of that statement up to the fact I certainly do not have a creative mind a good chunk of the time. Even with that in mind, creating a story line, characters that fit in with said story, and thinking of very minor details that could work for an idea you may never use is still not all that easy for one person. Of course, that’s why many games we play today have creative teams that consist of numerous people and obviously that helps with this. What does all of this have to do with enjoying a game though?
Let me explain a bit, at times when I’m playing a game I find myself or the people I’m playing with simply running from point A to point B to get the objective done. Personally, when I find myself doing this I try and slow my own pace down and really notice the things around me in the mission, strike, or whatever it is. After putting in some work for my own tabletop RPG, it made me fully realize the statement that creating game worlds is not easy. So when I run by all of these things that have been created and placed into a level of a game I start thinking to myself, “Man, someone could have spent hours creating this and getting it to work right and I just ignore it. That’s a jerk thing to do, Grunt.”
Thus, enters the main point behind this post. Obviously I can’t tell you “UR PLAYING TEH GAME WRONGZ!” because something, something being a hypocrite, something, something. I can encourage you though, to take a minute and admire the work that has gone into the game you are currently playing. Whether it be something as simple as the moss that was meticulously placed on a wall, or the backdrop scenery in a location; to maybe something a bit more complex like the soundtrack that accompanies a particular level or lore behind an enemy. Real artists and designers put many hours in the creation and perfect placement of that moss, musical score, and creating that lore. Think of it this way, how would you feel to put countless hours into creating something and be really excited to show it off for the world to see, for it only to be ignored by the majority of people who saw it?
Yes, I know that these artists, and designers, and everyone else that has their hands in creating a game typically get their names placed in the credits; and for many of them, that is probably more than enough. However, we also don’t really watch the credits to notice these people that have put in all of this time and effort. Am I saying you should start watching the credits? Well, no, but if you want to go right ahead…some games even net you an achievement for watching them. To put it bluntly, the point I am trying to make here is this: pay attention to the game.
Over the past several years, I have come to the realization that games can be more than just time wasters for when we have some free time or when we’re bored. They can be an experience, whether that be using them as a social platform to meet new people and friends, to simply enjoying the story that is being told through the game. If we want to fully experience a game, we have to stop wanting to be the first to finish it or the first to hit max rank. We have to be willing to slow things down, and let the game speak for itself.
To close things out, I shall briefly reiterate my point. Games can be an experience in their own and it can range from a video game to maybe the story your DM is trying to tell. In order to enjoy this experience to its fullest potential though, we have to be willing to slow down and enjoy what is being presented to us. When we do, we can notice all kinds of things that we usually just ignore and don’t see. There are real people who have put a bunch of time into creating the game world you are currently in; and while they do get credited for their time and effort, do we truly appreciate that time and effort if we just run by it and ignore it? In my mind, I don’t feel like we do. Oh, and #MossMatters.