Posted by: steveonfilm | August 29, 2012

Are You Gaming For the Right Reasons?

Came across an interesting summary on Slahshdot today that discusses the question “why are you actually playing that video game for hours on end.” A lot of people think gaming for hours at a time is a huge waste of time, and they can’t comprehend why some people do it. I think one of hte main reasons is because people think all games are the same, but they’re not. Playing Final Fantasy is drastically different than playing Modern Warfare, and the “enjoyment” you get out of both games is similarly different.

The article that the Slashdot summary mentions is an editorial on IGN.

“Games, especially modern ones, revolve around the principle that if you put the time in, you will be rewarded. Many gamers claim to not understand how anyone could put up with grinding in a video game. But grinding is comforting. Grinding tells us that, no matter what, if you keep playing you’ll become more powerful. … The real world does not operate this way. You can ‘grind’ at a job for 10 years and still be laid off. You can ‘grind’ at your physical health your whole life but if you switch to an unhealthy lifestyle you will immediately begin losing this progress. … It’s important for gamers to have mastery of their own mind. Are you grinding out a level in World of Warcraft because you’re truly enjoying the experience, or are you doing it to replace missing feelings of self-worth that you don’t want to confront? Do you revel in your virtual successes to avoid the uncomfortable internal dialogue regarding of your abandoned gym routine? Are you playing games because you’re having fun, or because you have an unconfronted fear of failure?

I can attest to this “grinding” thing first hand. I’ve spent hours and hours at a time killing random monsters just to get that next level up in a plethora of games. Maybe it’s to get to a high enough level that I can unlock some new power or attain some rare weapon. But for me, eventually, I get tired of the experience since it never changes. THat’s one of the reasons I’ve avoided playing games like World of Warcraft or other MMOs. I have the personality trait mentioned above. I will grind. If only for the positive feedback loop and escape from any real stress.

Anyway, if you’re a gamer and you know you’ve done anything even remotely like grinding the article is worth a read. It does a god job of explaining how different games have different impacts on the “reward system” of our brain.

Keep writing,



  1. Very insightful. Thx. I wish there were a positive feedback loop built-in to writing!

    • Me too Bob… me too.

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