Hello, ladies and gents, I’ve got an extra special question for you today. Why do people love video games? In particular, why have games like League of Legends and Counter Strike: Global Offensive started to gain so much popularity? Well, there is an answer for that, so strap in, because this is going to be a big one.
First of all, let me go back to my first post from, “What is a Game?” Remember how games, just like movies, music, and even books, have their own genres? Well, as this is certainly true, games aren’t just limited to that. Rather, a very well made video created by the fellows over at Extra Credit states that well,, games don’t really have limits. How would you really define a game? What makes something a game or not a game? Just like the folks over at Extra Credits, I believe that the question “What is a Game?” is the wrong question to be asking. As long as it creates progress, goes somewhere interesting, and allows me to have fun, then it’s a videogame.
League of Counter Strike: Legend Offensive?
Are you a fan of League of Legends? Did you know that its release date was on October 27, 2009? At the time of this post, League of Legends will officially be 6 years old. Did you know that the predecessor to CS:GO – CS:S, was released on August 11, 2004? That’s almost 4 years older than League is. Did you know that League averages about 27 million players per day? Compared to it’s average of seventeen million in October 2012, they made a jump of about 15 million players per day in just one day. Now, imagine all the other players playing a game in general. With so many people in love with this form of entertainment, I just can’t help but wonder- why these games are so popular?
Games are like portals, as they occupy a different realm. Just like Summoner’s Rift, or the CT or T spawn area, games feature places, locations, and situations in which you’ll pretty much never be in. Here on Earth, it’s a little less than likely you’ll see a zombie walking around with horrible AI, or some Italian plumber hitting bricks with his head. You can’t really find an exact rhyme or reason, as the locations and characters of games jump vary between people, cultures, and sometimes even countries. But, there are certain aspects that are shared between every character and location, game and soundtrack. Every game has that certain feel to it, and this is completely done on purpose. The basic explanation for the popularity of video games feeds on this feeling, and is has been best explained by The Game Theorists’ reference to C.A.R., which stands for the three following things – Competence, Autonomy, and Relatedness. Aside from literally spelling car, there are some other neat things that come with this.
“The lamer version of the Triforce is C.A.R.” – The Game Theorists
The C in our tiny, but mighty acronym represents Competence. Competence is the feeling of mastering something, the feeling that you are learning new skills or growing your mastery, or achieving something you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to without the skills you learned previously. People like achievement hunters and completionists experience this fully, which also relates to the art of speedrunning,which is basically the literal culmination of all of the above – except mastered to the point of perfection. Remember that game that took you hours upon hours to complete? Well, thanks to the art of speedrunning,that game that you’re thinking about has been done in less than not even half a day’s time. Speedrunning is the art of doing games quickly – finding the quickest and turbocharged method of hitting endgame, which takes some crazy skill and luck. However, I’ll get into this in depth through a later post.
Literally, this game is all about choices. You even get to choose which way to turn the knob for the shower.
Autonomy, for those who don’t know, means freedom from external control or influence – or independence. Games are about having choices and making choices. (To Q or not to Q, to B or not to B, or whatever other hilarious line you can come up with.) However, these choices aren’t just limited to the player – but also to the world around them. Games that incorporate choice beyond that of the player have lots of customization. Others allow you to create your own adventure; these games usually begin with the line, “Well met, traveler.”
Some ask me why I have over 1500+ hours logged onto TF2. I just ask them, “Why Not?”
Last, but not least, lies Relatedness. As weird as it sounds, this relies on the feeling of wanting to belong, or participate in an environment where you feel as if you’re contributing to something. In this category, you’ll find lots of multiplayer or team-based games, like League, TF2, COD and Destiny. Just like the world relatedness, you want to be able to relate to people- to feel like you’re one part of the whole that works together to cap a point, defuse a bomb, kill a raid boss, or capture a nexus. Many games nowadays feel like this function is needed for it’s survival and success, however that isn’t very true. But we’ll get into that on a later post.
How you act when you’re panicked – The Game.
To sum it all up, games appeal to the type of person you are. Games appeal to so many different emotions, and are such a great outlet for both learning and immersive enjoyment, that they can often be used to describe what type of personality you have. And thanks to just this simple feeling and self intrigue, you can find yourself suddenly so much more interested then you ever thought you can be. But, it just doesn’t mean that you play games to to watch things go boom. For example, people can find playing multiplayer games alone, or “solo queue” to be fun, while others use it to play with friends, which converts it into a social experience. In short, can’t really fully judge a game based solely on first impressions. Pick something up and try it – you might like what you find.
Words and Pictures by John Paul Apolinar