I’ve always traveled in gamer circles and never been a gamer. I don’t what it is about them, but I love the gamer types — they’re passionate, geeky, focused, funny, creative…. something. Or maybe it’s just that everyone in the world is a gamer except me, and that’s why I always feel surrounded. Regardless, for the last 15 years or so, I’ve always taken the emergence of a video game console or colorful set of 20-sided dice as my cue to leave a party and call it a night.
So I was rather surprised at myself when I bought a Nintendo Wii in January. Maybe it was my rebellion against feeling socially excluded for so long — this Wii is mine, all mine. Or maybe I just thought it would fit me.
I ditched Wii Sports immediately (I hate sports), bought a Wii Fit (which is a nice way to get myself to move when I don’t want to leave my house), picked up House of the Dead and some gun accessories for zombie-killing date nights (way more romantic than you might imagine), and splurged on Super Paper Mario Bros (which I love).
Here’s what my Wii has taught me so far…
#1) I get really excited when I can figure out a strategy on my own. I don’t want to be told how to do things — I want to be given information to work with and make my own decisions. Even if I’m going to come to the same conclusions everyone else did and, really, we could have just saved me an hour just by spelling it out up front… I won’t love it unless I came up with it myself.
#2) I pay attention to feedback when it can help me refine my strategies. Otherwise, I ignore it. Points, music, flashing colors, info bars, whatever… if I recognize that it can help me do something better, it’s on my radar. If I don’t, it may as well not exist.
#3) I want to be able to test and refine my strategies immediately, as soon as I come up with them. A game is addictive to me when there is minimal barrier between “Oh, I think I know what I should have done differently,” and trying that out.
#4) I like kid stuff. I don’t care how much I grow up, I think I’m always going to like something that’s simple, colorful, and pleasantly engaging… as long as I can connect with it without messing with my social reputation too much. And Wii is cool, so I’m okay.
#5) With my lifestyle, I’m probably going to get RSI. My Wii arm gently informed my mousing arm of this fact. And the RSI is probably going to be because of my mousing arm, not my Wii arm. And I should probably do something about that likelihood sooner rather than later. Argh.
Okay, so that last one was a downer. But the rest were really intriguing to me, and I want to apply them to web development and community management somehow.
What patterns have you noticed about your brain in gaming?