Talking about video games as a thriving industry, which is on track to spend the benefits of music and film, which generates multi-million dollar profits at great risk or has always been a turning point in terms of new technologies – the first Average DVD player was a PlayStation 2-, all this, would be falling into topics.
It is well known that the audiovisual media of the 21st century is very rich in creations and collections, which is varied and not cut with any genre, but that has not stopped many players from obsessing with a single title or franchise, something that it’s barely seen.
In other forms of leisure, this is much less likely. There are no people who constantly read the same book every week or watch the same movie loop every day. And if they do, it is not possible to compare their compulsiveness with that of the constant player of Call of Duty, Minecraft or other video games.
This is due to a unique aspect of certain video games: they can be almost infinite. Certain titles use programming and design schemes that allow to be in the same scenarios, with the same number and type of characters and with identical or similar powers, but always obtain different resolutions to the challenge that lies ahead. Either kill the entire opposing team, master a position on the level, kidnap / rescue some prisoners or end up with a very, very powerful final boss; Certain videogames are managed not to repeat themselves at all.
It is what is identified as the ’emergency’ of the video game, the capacity that characterizes it and differentiates it above the controls and graphics in high definition, and that comes to explain how a situation has many, many solutions despite having always With the same elements. It is as if you were putting pieces of a puzzle and you could solve it each time in a slightly different way. No wonder, then, that a single video game can keep a player hooked for 100, 1,000 or 10,000 hours.
No fixed destination
My own experience can serve as an example: I have played more than 400 hours to a video game called Destiny, and I am not far from the most played.
It is a title created by Bungie, the video game studio that previously gave the world a well-known saga called Halo. Destiny is a translation into the Star Trek, Battlestar Galatica and Star Wars ideas game, but with an obsession for exclusive weapons and armor with unique qualities. And in the background a story about the struggle between light and dark that no one cares about at this point.
In this game, there are several daily missions, weekly events, weekend events, events that happen only a day or two a week, and everything is connected online , so you can collaborate with friends, whether on missions Normal, in other more special or in large collaborative missions that require 6 players, which are called raids and that extend for hours and hours.
I’ve spent 400 hours doing this without practically playing other video games even though the missions were repeated and the rewards they gave me were hardly ever satisfactory, no matter how difficult the challenge I had overcome.
Programmers and designers have been advised by behavioral psychologists to find the reward percentages, and the designs of scenarios and enemies, which have us like Pavlov’s dog in front of the screen
That ‘almost never’ is the key to this game, because it works like a slot machine: just when you’re tired and you’ve invested all your money, in this case, all your time, you get an object that encourages you to keep playing despite Which is not what you wanted, but it is something. And since you are not alone in this, because there are always other players and friends at your side in your situation, you never finish leaving that loop of “come, the next yes”.
This is no coincidence, since its programmers and designers have been advised by behavioral psychologists to find the reward percentages and the designs of scenarios and enemies that have us like Pavlov’s dog in front of the screen, waiting for the next reward, which It’s almost never the one you’re after. It is the randomness of the reward that engages, ironic as it may seem, for the hope of the grand prize is always there.
Destiny has a serious problem now in hand, as a result of the constant kicks his players require: they can not produce enough content and players are getting angry and tired, but not without constantly protesting constantly because there are no new payment expansions. Server left the game not out of anger, but to see that he actually repeated the same thing over and over again. If there were new content, then there would be. When I have it, I’m sure I’ll be back.
Be that as it may, the psychology of addictive behavior has been applied very often in the development of video games, and Destiny is not the only case. Perhaps it is one where it has been used more shamelessly, but Blizzard has long been playing with random obtention of important objects in games like Diablo II and reached a high point in World of Warcraft , the great representative of online multiplayer role.
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Adrian is a 3D artist in a video game studio and was a very hooked player to World of Warcraft. “In my time of greater engagement I got to play about 8-12 hours a day. Basically, it was playing all day. ” To anyone who surprises such a figure, the average game of World of Warcraft was in 2013 about 3 or 4 hours a day and in 2012, had played about 6 million years to the game. The modern human being carries on the face of the Earth 200,000 years, by comparing it with something.
For Adrian, playing so much was not a problem … until he was: “In his day, I did not think I was leaving any activity aside to play it, but over the years I have realized that yes. My social life in person was one of them. Although being an MMO, my social life was on the Internet and I have met many people with whom I am still in contact; I regret not having met other people in my own environment. Sports and physical activities were other activities I set aside. “
As the first major RPG to be played online and requiring collaboration with many people to get the best teams and overcome the toughest missions, World of Warcraft was a huge success, and played at its best, around the year 2010, 12 Millions of people. Ten years later, the figure has dropped to around 5.5 million.
And why did not he play other things? “You had to play every day, get your items for that night’s raid, get ready. If you did not do it, you were not competitive and you were left behind because someone else came in who gave him more time and it was he who was going to go in your place.”
World of Warcraft was quite a phenomenon and was always accused of creating addicts. Although the studies do not entirely agree on whether there is such an addiction or not, there is a collective idea among many players that there are addicts to video games just as there are alcoholics or drug addicts.
“You had to play every day, get your items for the raid that night, get ready. If you did not, you were not competitive and you were behind”
“Addict seems to me a very strong word and I do not know if I have become addicted. What I understand by addiction is that you cannot leave something, and after being able to leave it overnight, or not play for days and feel nothing, I do not consider myself an addict. Yes an addict, but I do not know if both things have something to do. “Adrian does not see it like that, exactly.
He was able to leave ‘WoW’ without problems and without missing it when it was no longer a challenge. “I still do not know why I did not miss it even though I had spent a lot of my life playing it. I imagine it was facilitated by the arrival of more online games and to be able to enjoy more challenges, but this is just a thought of mine and I think I will never find the reason why I did not miss it.”
When we saw that the background challenge of the video game disappeared, we were able to abandon it. But we are both games, there are other people who play without more and who are not considered within any group of passionate about the environment.
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Surely more than a perverse mind has associated the case of Adrian to the image that sell the prejudices that still exist on players who spend many hours in front of a computer or console. Nobody has shown the WoW player in a more crude and perverse way than South Park, but people who play a lot in one game have very different profiles.
Carmen does not want me to use her real name out of embarrassment that her children, who seem to read what’s published in this house often, know that she’s talked to me about what she thinks is a problem: she plays Candy Crush Saga a lot.
I do not think it’s necessary to introduce Candy Crush Saga, the game of linking brightly colored fruit over hundreds of levels and that has long been one of the most common names in the most downloaded mobile lists around the world. It has a lot of spin-offs.
Carmen works in a relatively large company, has a position of responsibility and about 10 people at her command, but does not dare to play in public during breaks. “It is not well seen that a woman of my age plays, but as I like and entertains a lot, I do it in secret, sometimes even my children.”
“I played a lot and it seems to me a lovely and beautiful game, there are not many that way, so I did not play practically other things”
Every day is more common to play in the subway or in the dead times waiting for someone, this is much on the street. “Yes, it’s true that I get more equal in public. They look good or bad, they do not know what I do because it is the phone. I see a lot of people every day playing it, so I guess it’s more accepted.”
Why hide then who plays it? “Because I play it too much. I know that using every dead time I have in Candy Crush or the other similar games out there cannot be good. The same thing with Animal Crossing, if my colleagues knew that the console in my bag was not my son’s, they would be ashamed to work with me and they would not take me seriously.”
Carmen played quite a lot of Animal Crossing on Nintendo DS, but she does not want to talk about it because she has already left it. “I played a lot and it seems to me a lovely and beautiful game, there are usually not many, so I did not play practically other things.” He knows there are two new Animal Crossing games on Nintendo 3DS, but decided not to buy the console or the games.
The prejudices around women and video games, which some groups try to eradicate and others to strengthen, do not seem to have a basis today. Women are 52% of the world’s total players, according to some studies. Others reduce the number of women who say they have a console at home to 42%, compared to 37% of US men.
Commenting on this, Carmen responds that “I do not care, I feel this as something individual and I do not want to share it with other people. Although my kids know I play this game, and I do not care, the problem is how much I do and need.” Do you consider her addicted? “I’ve been smoking for years and I’ve left it with many sacrifices. A few months ago, my cell phone broke and nothing happened to me because I did not play. I missed it, but I did not have a dependency or anything like that.”
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Playing video games to hang out is the most normal thing in the world, regardless of how much time is spent or if you only play one thing. Some players have been able to take an extra match to their inexhaustible passion, as is the case of Melkor, the founder of Pokéxperto. In his DNI, he says that his name is Jorge Puyol, but Internet is his domain and there he is known for his motto and for his work organizing card tournaments – Pokémon is a video game, but there is a very popular card adaptation.
“Pokéxperto was born when Rubí and Sapphire games had not yet come out in Europe. [The third generation of Pokémon games, there are already six]. I was just starting to use the Internet and […] to see that there was more to discover in Pokémon, which people did not know at the time, was what encouraged me to take it back as a challenge of discovery. [..] So I learned a lot of things hidden from the games and that made me gradually know more about the games, until I started to dump all that in what is now Pokéexperto.”
“My main motivation is competitive. No longer within the game, which also to a certain extent, but in everything surrounding the community of players, etc … “
Although Melkor acknowledges that for a time he left Pokémon “as childish,” his opinion changed with his findings on the Internet. His approach as a fan of one of the most profitable and popular video game franchises of all time, with 277 million games sold in 20 years, is quite particular. “My concept of” getting “a Pokémon is something I do by covering it on my website as best I can. If I then get it really in the game is not a priority. I know if I get to it I would get it quickly, but I do not always find that time.”
Pokémon has always been characterized by catching creatures. Becoming with everyone now involves capturing 721 creatures, and this year there will be more; But many players are more interested in the combative aspect of the game, in putting creatures specially bred to fight, which requires enough time and patience : the intelligent design of Pikachus involves mathematics and genetics. It is not a joke.
Although this is very fond of him, especially when it comes to letter fighting, what most engages Melkor is to cover everything and keep his community informed. “My main motivation is competitive. No longer within the game, which also to a certain extent, but in everything surrounding the community of players, etc. I seek to cover the games in the best way possible, to make good guides, to be fast with the news, to organize events, etc. I’ve turned the internal competition of games into a real-life challenge, I suppose.”
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Each is a case
Adrian is not considered an addict, but someone ‘addicted’ who plays video games a lot, in part because it is important for his work, but also for his leisure. It continues to play effusively online video games where the community is very active, as in the case of DOTA 2. “I’ve been playing DOTA 2 for more than 4,000 hours, but I cannot play DOTA for days and nothing has happened.”
Melkor does acknowledge being a Pokémon addict, but he does not have a problem with it: “Yes I am addicted to Pokémon. No longer as a video game, but in a broader sense. As simple as confessing that I cannot go on vacation to a site without Internet, because it generates too much anxiety not being “up to date” with what happens with Pokémon.
Carmen does not pose these things: “I just like Candy Crush and the other similar games; I do not think I have an addiction as much as it is a digital pastime, a kind of puzzle that occupies my time and my head when I have no other Thing to do. I do not think I ever took off doing anything else, although I could do other types of leisure instead of playing, of course.”
It is not clear that the habits of this type of player is related to the ‘pathological addiction’ to video games, there are no clear studies on that idea itself
It could be argued whether it would be better to play many games to gain a wider baggage on the medium, whether those hours in front of DOTA 2 would not be better spent reading literary classics or watching movies, which some consider superior arts; Or if this habit leads to sedentariness; But they would be all related only indirectly to the fact of playing a single video game: you can do all that and play.
Nor is it clear that the habits of this type of player is related to the ‘pathological addiction’ to video games, that there are no clear studies on that idea itself and still need to investigate further.
As there is no diagnosis, the idea of the video game addict is a prejudice and perhaps there is nothing wrong with a player spending many hours in a game, as long as he himself considers that what he does not hurt otherwise. In the end, it seems just one-way to enjoy this form of leisure intensely.Tags: video game