The Badass Gamer
I’ve wanted to talk about this for a long time, back in the day gaming was semi taboo so I just stfu. We’re now in 2012 and I feel more than confident that I could have widely discussed this in any venue 5 years ago.
Veteran gamers are badasses through years of training. There it is, pretty simple. Gamers who have played a certain amount of RPG’s, regardless of the game’s difficulty are being trained virtually to handle similar situations.
Pilots can now log certain simulated virtual flights as real flight hours, a point I think should be both very scary and enlightening when it comes to the psyche of RPG gamers because… RPG games are centered around virtual scenarios that involve solving or executing solutions involving extreme situations.
In most games a goal must be achieved, usually, enemies must be murdered in all types of fashion, traps must be sprung that cause many levels of carnage and, decisions must made, hard decisions that may require many tough sacrifices. Some of those sacrifices, though virtual, are still emotionally real. All the experiences you gain during gameplay are absolutely emotionally real, maybe not to the extent that they are identical to non-virtual emotion but in a lot of cases your subconscious may not know the difference.
A great example would be when you develop attachments to characters, it also happens in books and movies. Sometimes when the character dies, you feel the emotional pain of loss, which would be sadness, anger etc… The difference being that in an RPG game, the gamer sometimes is in control of the choices necessary that amount to that loss.
When I was a kid, I cried when I saw Simba’s father die, Mufasa. If any of you remember the movie The Lion King, and if you were younger at the time you may know what I mean. While I didn’t break down in slobbering tears, I still had some liquidity going on lol. Later in life I’ve seen grown men break down and cry during movies like Million Dollar Baby, even Titanic. By this time I had already been a veteran gamer and though I’m enough of an emotional person, I didn’t shed a tear during Titanic and I was able to hold my shit together during Million Dollar Baby.
What I am not saying is that gamers will break down and cry when deciding whether to sacrifice Kaiden or Ashley. What I am saying is that when that choice has to be made in real life, A LOT of veteran gamers will be prepared to make that decision, and make it in a timely manner.
Gamers will notice their new skills in action while in a “stressful” situation at work, or during another activity, maybe even recreational. They will notice these new skills when people start to freak out at work, over what the gamer will consider a trivial matter, one in which he or she may have even had a prepared solution. It’s not that other people are less intelligent or that you are a Dexter type. The truth is, you’ve been practicing these scenarios virtually for decades. And even if you suck at something, you WILL be good at it if you’ve been doing it for generations.
Gamers are trained to make more intelligent tactical decisions, we are trained to execute plans, we are trained to learn fast on the spot, improvisation skills, fine motor skills, heightened anticipation, we learn how to identify patterns quickly. By the time I’m finished listing skills that we are virtually perfecting we’ll be halfway to Jason Bourne.
Obviously there is going to be some loss in the virtual to real translation, especially in the physical prowess department but emotionally, as game writing gets better, I expect to see almost lossless emotional conversion.
The MMO genre is a tricky one. You have far more human to human interaction than any other game type. Most people do not even interact with that many consciousnesses for any reason, maybe at a football stadium, but not in any meaningful way.
In the end, when you’re thinking, “I know better than my boss” or “I’m smarter than that guy” chances are, you REALLY do and you REALLY are.
I will continue this later, for now here is part 1 0f 3 of my latest Skyrim espide for those who are interested;