Why do I play?

Hi I’m Ian and I play videogames a lot. I’ve done so for a long time, since before I was six years old and we got an Amiga (Christmas 1989, BOOM). It came with Night Breed and that gave me nightmares, and I remember a demo of Champion of the Raj that my mum played a lot even though I’m pretty sure it was just one level on repeat.

Anyway: I like games. But they’re my job and, naturally, when something becomes a job you lose some of the spark that made you love them in the first place.

But in the last month or so this spark has been rekindled. In fact, it’s got a bit out of control and is now a decades-old family-run furniture store type of inferno.

Too soon?

Because all of a sudden they’ve gone and brought out some fucking brilliant games, and it’s reminded me what I love about them. It’s something that’s summed up so excellently in the book This Gaming Life, by someone far better at the games writing thing than I am Jim Rossignol.

Basically the point is put thusly: games are made purely to kill boredom. That is their purpose and their function. Boredom is a horrible thing that every single conscious living creature has to contend with. Boredom can seriously damage your brain – or at least lead to things that damage it. Games keep it active – stop it from, well, being bored.

Note I’m not saying they’re intellectually stimulating, because in the (mainstream) most part, they’re not. But boredom is a disease that needs to be eliminated. Why do we do anything? There’s the basics: eating, surviving, crapping, that sort of thing. But everything else we do? It’s to stave off boredom until we die.

Games fill that gap. And right now games are filling that gap so well I’m going to have to stop doing other boredom-killing activities just to fit them all in. I might stop eating too, just to free up a bit more time. I can play while crapping though, so that’s fine.

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