Today was the first day of my spring break so I planned on writing for the majority of the day; however I spent the majority of my time playing a game called Catlateral Damage. It started out as an hour with a comedic but very engaging game, but this turned into a good three hours or so. I realized while I was on PSNProfiles that I was well on my way to already earning the platinum. This got me thinking, what drives people to beat and complete games?
A large portion of gamers are young, so much so that 29 percent of all gamers are 18 years old or younger. No matter how much the industry matures, there will always be an audience of gamers who save their money for games or have to wait for their birthday or the holidays to get the games they want. This means that for several gamers, there are a finite amount of games they can purchase per year. A lot of people buy bigger games or play their games to completion to assure they’re getting the most value out of their purchase. The market reflects this too. Open world games like Fallout 4, Grand Theft Auto V, and Minecraft alongside competitive multiplayer games like Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Star Wars Battlefront, and Mortal Kombat X absolutely dominate the market.
In video games you are faced with a myriad of challenges that you must overcome, whether it be defeating a difficult boss, finally beating the game, or just getting those last few trophies/achievements to reach 100 percent completion. Overcoming adversity in a game is a very gratifying experience. Gaming is for all intents and purposes a skill, you learn how to play and you immediately are presented with a problem that can be solved using the tools you have been given in the game. Of course the difficulty increases the further you get and you learn more mechanics to solve these problems. By the time you are done you have used all those tools to get through and beat the game. At times the difficulty can feel almost impossible, but once you beat it you feel satisfied. This is because an important neurotransmitter called dopamine is released in your brain once you accomplish a goal, and that works as a reward mechanism. This doesn’t come from just boss battles or beating games, but it does more frequently nowadays whenever a trophy/achievement pops.
Essentially conceptual consumption is the process of consuming ideas, concepts, and experiences akin to how a person consumes foods and drinks. By consuming these experiences you are making your own memories and learning. You keep these experiences as part of your memory and consider it something that you accomplished. These experiences are now easily tracked on your achievement/trophy list. Going through your list can feel a lot like going through old memories, even more so now on PlayStation 4 where it takes a screenshot for every trophy you get.
A Repeating Process
If you enjoyed completing one game, then the chances are that you’ll try to do so again and again. The memories you create when you beat games influence your decisions whether you realize it or not. The more enjoyable an experience, the more likely you are to repeat these actions. Ergo the more games you complete, the more inclined you’ll be to repeat this process.
Ultimately the answer is quite simple, we play games because we love them. We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t enjoy it. We want to have unique experiences, say we did everything there was to do, we want to prove that we are skilled at what we do. Sure, it’s partially for bragging rights, but investing that time makes you proud of what you’ve accomplished. Gaming isn’t just a distraction, it’s something that we all love doing, it brings us together, it gives us goals to achieve, and gives us experiences we’ll never forget.
Charlie Savidge is an associate writer for Middle of Nowhere Gaming and will get that Catlateral Damage platinum. You can follow him on his Twitter and Twitch where he’ll eventually tweet about getting said platinum.