Thursday, December 27, 2012

Being awesome while gaming

On my main blog I wrote a piece about being awesome.  This wasn't a call to be somebody else's idea of awesome, mind, but to be awesome in a way that you believe in.  I think it will normally be associated with the idea of flow, of total immersion in the activity at hand.  I have been awesome while gaming many times in my life but looking back at it with that in mind I see great swathes of time I really did waste on nothing at all.

Raiding in WOW has mostly been awesome.  It took a lot of time and resulting in no real world benefits but pushing to the limit of my abilities to down monsters and especially leading raids to do the same required me to be the best I could be.  I definitely found flow when working on the hardest things like the Alone in the Darkness, A Tribute to Dedicated Insanity, or Sartharion 3D achievements.  Doing things like that were amazing and awesome.  Grinding out terrible random achievements like The Diplomat or The Exalted titles on the other hand were not awesome.  I did not have to push myself nor did I ever get that feeling of flow - it was just something to do and I don't think I will ever do it again.

Civ V was mostly awesome, but especially so when I was building my mod.  Playing the game to test my innovations and constantly doing my best to find new ways to make the game better was tremendous fun, a good learning experience, and hard.  Although I built a mod that I was proud of and lots of people downloaded it I don't feel like it matters at all how many people used it.  The pursuit of awesome is not about download numbers or revenue or anything else of that sort - it is within the person doing the activity.

Building games has mostly been awesome.  Testing and physical construction both forced me to stretch myself and do better and I am really excited about where Heroes By Trade is going.  I want to make them the best they can be and I am passionate about what I do.  There isn't so much awesome in grinding out things I am less interested in like world design and flavour text and such but the overall project makes them worthwhile.

There are a few other games that were completely awesome like Portal or Plants vs. Zombies for the first few hours but most other games I have played end up seeming pretty lame from this perspective.  So many of them I just played with half attention, putting in the time but not pushing myself to the edge.  Sure, Mass Effect was fun, but did I gain anything by playing it?  Diablo 1, 2, and 3 looked at this way seem like a complete waste.  There are thousands and thousands of hours locked away there in things that I can't get back and I probably shouldn't have invested in the first place.

I am not one for making New Year's Resolutions (aside from my annual Achieve Total Self Mastery goal that is quite impossible) but I think I have a game resolution for the coming year:  More awesome time and less passing time while playing games.

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