Terminal Gamer Feature: Escapism Versus Playing Games for Deeper Meaning

Many of us lead very hectic lives. Be it physically (jobs, running from your neighbor’s dog etc.) emotionally (breaking up with your girlfriend/boyfriend) or mentally (cramming for a final). Every day seems to feel like a military boot camp…so having an escape from reality does come in handy for most of us. This is where video games come in.

The pressures of daily life seem to melt away when you’re shooting a zombie/alien/human in the face. Your neighbor’s monster dog doesn’t seem as important as unearthing a magical sword that can tremendously level you up in an epic quest. Heck, you can get a girlfriend (who is better than the real one) if you really wanted to.

But are video games just tools for escapists of all ages across the globe? Or can they be something more? A friend pointed out to me once that I only play games to escape real life (which was true) and he wasn’t afraid to tell me that I was pathetic. Apparently he used games as a tool to beef up his writing ability and to advance the other creative aspects of his mind.

Do we play games just for visceral thrills, or for the story as well?

Do we play games just for visceral thrills, or for the story as well?

Being a writer myself, I couldn’t help but consider his notion (even though he told me I was pathetic). Later that day I played Time splitters 3 on my PS2. But instead of playing arcade mode, I decided to play the entire story mode (again). After that I went out and bought Final Fantasy 7: Dirge of Cerberus because I hungered for it’s story.

So, in totally being engrossed in the story (and not just getting happy over all the gunplay) I found out that I enjoyed the game better. Soon after my first play though of the game, I was creating stories in my head. Also because of the story, I became much more aware of the music score. I became thrilled whenever the music was used to set the mood of my favorite scenes and story arcs.

I do not hate the escapists of the gaming world. I still play fighters just for the thrill of kicking some guy in the face after a stressful day. What I am saying is that games aren’t just about spraying bullets and feet that fly into some guy’s crotch. The wonderful medium of gaming offers us so much more, with its deep storylines and compelling musical scores.

Blasting a dude’s face open with a 12-guage is wicked fun!
Epic storylines are just as awesome.