Games Without Play Response

Golumbia’s writing was very interesting and most definitely thought provoking.  I would like to focus on one of the sections called “Gaming as Work” and the idea that games are work,  and the pleasure we get out of it, is the pleasure of completion. Throughout his writing Golumbia presents a fair argument, and broadens the ideas of a regular person’s mindset of video games. I have never before heard someone describe it like Golumbia, and I completely agree.

Golumbia  describes a game called World of Warcraft or WOW,  and said that “Working in WoW is as repetitive as the most mechanized sorts of employment in the ‘real world.'”  He described how  in the game a “player who spends hours mining copper, for example, will eventually gain the skill necessary to mine tin, and after that, silver, and after that, iron, and so on; ” I used that quote because  similarly   a person that has a job can be promoted because of their time with the corporation or their ability to consistently preform tasks that are asked of them. With games being relatively related to the real world, Golumbia defends the argument that playing a game doesn’t bring pleasure, but finishing the game is what does. Of course the average person isn’t happy about their game ending, but are happy with their completion or  work within the game.

I’d like to talk about my experience in a game called Gone Home that really sets this theory into perspective for myself. Gone Home is considered a video game to the general audience. However, the game in it’s entirety makes you work. In the game you know  that you’re a college student coming back home from Europe to visit your family, but the house is deserted. So from the very beginning  you are put on a path to start looking through objects and pieces of furniture  that will reveal clues and unlock doors that will bring you farther into the game.  I had  to look through everything in this mansion. That included tons  bookshelves, at least 20 rooms, and even behind loose wall panels. I was in the game, but I wasn’t exactly playing, I was working. I was working to find clues that would eventually tell me everything I was trying to figure out, which in the end brought me pleasure because everything finally made sense.

Another example I could incorporate with this idea is an e-literature/interactive book called Pry.  The  first time  working my  way through its only “chapters”  that consists of 1,2,3, and 6, I was completely confused. I  could  honestly start from any chapter I wanted, but I had to work and spend time with it to be able to fully understand what it was about.

I believe that Golumbia is trying to separate the idea that play and pleasure are related. When you are playing a game, the word pleasure isn’t exactly the correct term, how many times do we see a person become overwhelmed because they cannot achieve a certain level or object in a game? You have to work in any game, that is how you achieve goals or even finish the game entirely. From my own experience, and from what I believe Golumbia is trying to say, it is when you accomplish something because of your time and efforts that makes a game pleasurable.


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