We’re back with our “thinking about thinking” series! If you’re interested in our previous deep thoughts, check out the Metacognition series. Join us for some deep thoughts (and maybe the occasional not-so-deep thought) about gaming. If you find one you’d like to answer, you can either comment below or write a post and share the link so we can all read your fantastic thoughts!
Have you ever had an emotional reaction to not playing a video game?
What a strange thing to think about, isn’t it? After all, there are so many great video games, if one collects a little dust it shouldn’t matter, should it? Except familiar things hold lot of power, especially when those familiar things are enjoyable to us.
Nostalgia is something that we will be talking about in the coming weeks, but in a nutshell, nostalgia isn’t bad. It gives our consciousness a break from stressful new things (good stress or bad stress) that require processing and thinking and our brains to work a little harder. It can remind us of times that were happier, easier, or more fun than the situation we are in now. It makes us forget the bad things, and gives us a pure and happy experience to remember and feel good about.
These are all important things for our mental health. But like I said, a full discussion is for another day. Today, we’re talking about missing playing games.
And I do. I’ve noticed over the past few years I’ve played more games per year than I ever have. I’m the type of person who likes what she likes, and will rotate through the things I like like clockwork, with occasionally trying something new, that will either be added to the rotation or filed away as “fun, but I’m done with it for now/forever.”
So this idea of playing six new games in a year was practically unheard of. And it was fun, and I’m loving being exposed to new stories and new characters and new things to talk about.
But I miss my friends. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t have friends growing up that I attached myself so strongly to book characters and, later, video game characters, but even though their actions never change, I miss the time I spent with them. And recently, as my job becomes less stable and other hobbies seem to demand more of my time and energy than I really want to give them, I miss having something that is stable and familiar.
I’ve been playing through Pillars of Eternity and having a great time, and it’s been so much fun uncovering the mystery surrounding the main storyline and some of the more eccentric companion characters. But the other day, I was looking through my games for the #LoveYourBacklog post and my eyes fell onto my Dragon Age and Mass Effect games, my Metal Gear Solid games, and my Zelda games.
I picked up Dragon Age: Origins and actually thought, “Wow, I miss popping you into my console to play before I go to bed, but…” Or Twilight Princess, “Man, I could play you with my eyes closed right now, but…”
And I can hear the comments now: play what you want, games are there for your entertainment and your fun.
But that’s hardly the point.
The point is, just like we might miss watching a movie, or be sad a favorite book series is over and want to dive back in, so too is it for games. These are our stories. These are our experiences, and our fond memories. I think back to EA’s question, so long ago, about whether or not a computer can make you cry.
It seems we’ve reached that point. A computer can make us miss it. A video game can make us pine for it, the way we might pine for time to go out and play outside like we once did, not because we are addicted, but because they’ve made us care.
And sometimes I wonder if anyone else sees the profundity of the threshold that we’ve crossed.
Do you? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you soon!
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