Is It Gaming or Working?

While reading Games Without Play by David Golumbia, you may feel intrigued to carry on with reading his work, or perhaps feel like the concepts are dragging on and that he should just get to the point. Whatever the case may be, you cannot deny the fact that Golumbia invokes all types of ideas into your mind. Throughout his writing, Golumbia provides great information to back up his reasoning and expands your mind of what video games actually have to offer.

The section that sparked the most interest in me was Gaming as Work. He compared the game World of Warcraft (WOW) to repetitive everyday task that many individuals face during employment in the “real world.’

“Professions are subject to a similar experience point/leveling model as is the rest of WoW so that extensive work in a given profession allows one to work on, search for, or craft ever more valuable items.’


From my interpretation, Golumbia gives his readers the thought that work and play do not fall far from one another. In WOW, for you to be able to earn more points and to proceed up to new levels, you must work to earn these rewards and destinations. This applies to real life professions as well. In order for you to become higher ranked in your department, field, etc., you must work to get there. This now brings me to the point that games are not pleasure, but are actually a lot of work. If you have seen an individual playing a multitude of games, you may notice that at times they show signs of anger, confusion, and stress which are many feelings that one experiences during their actual job. He also informs his readers that the overall game portion does not bring pleasure to you, but what does is when you complete the game. If you, as a gamer, feel as though finishing a game provokes an empty feeling inside yourself, then it can also make you feel as if you have accomplished a task. Think of it as completing an extremely difficult research paper that you had to write. Although it was about a topic that you are very interested in, you felt pleasure once completing the paper. All of these ideas are what Golumbia was trying to portray through his concepts about games portraying work.

A game that I have recently gone deeper into was Gone Home. In this particular game, a college student travels back home only to be surprised by an empty house not knowing where her family members were. Right away, this game requires you to look through the entire house to search for more and more clues as to where her family are and to get a better idea of what was going on. You had to search through a great number of rooms, book shelves, cabinets, and not-so-easy areas that held a lot if information. While “playing’ Gone Home, I caught myself feeling like I was having to do more work than anything else. As Golumbia stated, you feel pleasure once completing the game and that is exactly the feeling that I felt after the hours I spent my time on it.

Pry, a novella is an interactive digital story that gave me similar feelings as Gone Home did. You had to work your way through the given chapters (1, 2, 3, and 6), which would confuse the reader, considering we are used to chronological chapters. This interactiveness required me to use my time and attention in order to complete certain parts of the reading.

All of this information brings me back to Golumbia’s concept that states although something could be labeled as a game, it takes time and work in order for you to accomplish it.

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