It seems that by writing a column in this day and age of internet information regurgitation that people think this is a blog. This is not a blog. From what I have discovered from many other blogs – they seem to gravitate around a daily posting of whatever is on the mind of said blogger. Or what has happened to them that day/hour/minute. My life is way too dull to even attempt a blog. Kids, kids, kids and kids are my main job. So why do I write about gaming? Because gaming to me is basically truth. Allow me to expound.
After 30+ years of having businesses/universities/bosses/employees/government feed me half-truths, misinformation and many times flat out lie to me, I always go back to the one area in the universe that will always be truthful. Math. 1+1 will always equal 2. Simple as it may seem it is comforting to know that you can always respect the math. You can always rely on math to be exactly what it shows itself to be. So why game? Games are nothing more than people interacting with math. Nothing more complicated than that to many gamers. A randomizer is a randomizer but it still follows the basic rule of math. Even randomizers can have a near predictability if you play a game long enough. No reason to delve into the curve of expectations created by a RND(*) command. So at least for me, gaming is one of the few truths I can always rely on to make my painful day pass as quickly with as few physical events as possible.
Now I can hear some gears churning out there about how random qualities may seem “untruthful” but it is more like gambling at that stage. Factor out the random qualities of any game and you will see that there is a core you always rely on to make your decisions on how to proceed into the random sections. Monopoly needs money, Risk needs units, Magic needs a well built deck and almost every video game needs gear to improve your DPS. All areas that are a constant that allow you, the gamer, to make better decisions. But it can also be far more than that if you allow it to be.
Math allows one of the most exciting areas of our brains abilities: Problem solving. The faster you can analyze a problem the quicker a solution presents itself. Once experience comes into play, you will find yourself predicting problems before they arise. So even a RND(*) monster spawn will take you less unawares when you are just ready for problems before they happen. Which is why I so love video games (in my current state of health).
Since you can always rely on math then what you are really doing is navigating through a maze of programming that another human being created. Sometimes even massive groups of brains go into the programming. Since math will always be math, what you are essentially doing is taking on the challenge that their brains have created. A metaphysical paradox so to speak. You are gaming with them even though they will never game directly with you. Like navigating a maze someone creates. You beat the maze you have beaten their ingenuity. So if you look at every video game from the Arcade 80’s forward as just a series of complicated mazes with entertaining visualizations then maybe you will understand the mind of a gamer a little more than before. For so many of us old gamers it isn’t about the swirly sparkly graphics. It is more about being confronted with a problem that challenges our brains. We know there is a solution we just need to discover what it is. Look at the games that allow the players to affect their games more directly and you will see a direct correlation on the games success. Games that are predictable too early never seem to last long do they? Games that are difficult to be just difficult also suffer the same fate it seems.
So my objective in all of this? To maybe help just one reader understand what it means to be a gamer and to give gaming a serious chance. Find a new game that takes your brain out and plays ping pong with it for an hour or so. Maybe if just one reader will have that epiphany of “it’s just a problem” so they actually analyze to create a solution. The core of any problem solving step.
Life to me is just a game and the people are the RND(*). 75% of my existence on this ball of rotating dirt has been devoted to the pursuit of professional communication via white-collar-high-priced-intangible-future sales. One of the hardest areas I have discovered. But guess what? It is still a game with controllable areas and RND(*) problems. Just people are the random element. Problem solving, predicting, adjusting, reacting, responding, preparing and what have you were learned/sharpened by my games. It is my brain against their maze of problems/objections. Still just a game.
So if helps anybody change their paradigm just enough that they see all life as a series of obstacles that can be circumvented then they are thinking like a gamer. Expand that thinking into predictability and you will understand fast why some gamers just seem to never be flustered by problems. A rather envious ability isn’t it?
Now if we can just get a room full of gamers to attack real life problems. That would be a room I would rearrange my life to be a part of, wouldn’t you?
Thanks for following along the convoluted thought train! Until next time.