My relationship with video games is, in my mind, unconventional. There have been very few games over the years that has really captured my imagination. Off the top of my head, these include Dragon Quest (DQ) 8, 11, FIFA 12, Call of Duty: Black Ops (CoD), and World of Warcraft (WoW). For every other game I can think of playing, I don’t have much care for in terms of a nostalgia perspective.

One interesting thing is that 4 of those games were played during my adolescence, so perhaps time plays a part. Maybe in 10 years, I will laud over games that I play now, but somehow I highly doubt it. I remember playing those games in a time where my only concern was keeping up with school and anything extra I was doing. There were no other responsibilities to my name. Every weekend I would look forward to playing, and that was my sole pre-occupation, fueled by an pure sense of adventure.

A common element that binds them also is a clear sense of achievement embedded within the game design. Each time I moved up a division on FIFA, completed a quest on WoW, or dominated a match of CoD was associated with a quick-hit of dopamine. Winning, or at least progressing, was made so satisfying in these three games and I am confident that was a big part of what kept me around.

The same, however, can’t be said about DQ: that was not an online game. My adoration for it came for a purer source. I just loved world in which it built, the story, the art style, and most of all the characters. With any RPG, there is also a sense of progression built into the game design with the accumulation of new skills and items for your character. But the fact it was a single-player game mean’t that the dopamine it, at least for me, was not as high. Challenging as it was, DQ is the most engrossed I have ever been in a video game world. With the others, it’s easy to treat the games as a competition almost, but with DQ, it almost felt like reading a book.


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