Why We Play Games

Why we​ play games
There exists some ephemeral quality that separates gamers from the​ rest of​ humanity,​ some thing that makes us,​ us and them,​ not us .​
I've never been able to​ quite put my finger on​ it,​ but it​ is​ inescapably there .​
Today,​ in​ hopes of​ moving closer to​ that essential quality of​ generosity,​ we​ examine part of​ what makes us tick .​
In particular,​ we​ take a​ look at​ what draws different types of​ gamers to​ the​ hobby .​
Every gamer plays for different reasons,​ but there are common threads that tie the​ experience together .​
Many gamers are motivated by the​ challenge a​ game can present .​
Success in​ a​ game may be governed by any of​ a​ wide variety of​ abilities .​
a​ First Person Shooter requires twitch reflexes,​ a​ steady hand and the​ ability to​ remain calm under pressure .​
a​ word puzzle game may require an​ extensive vocabulary and the​ ability to​ rethink the​ uses of​ old words,​ but no measure of​ speed .​
a​ sports simulation might well require an​ in-depth knowledge of​ the​ topic,​ in​ addition to​ arcade skill,​ but is​ unlikely to​ have terribly much concern for linguistic acumen .​
The common thread is​ that all of​ the​ games challenge some subset of​ a​ player's abilities .​
This challenge can be a​ powerful motivator .​
The Challenge Motivated gamer is​ drawn to​ a​ game that tests their skills,​ preferably one that tests them to​ their limits .​
The gamer may also be motivated by the​ natural improvement that comes from working at​ peak .​
They are driven then,​ not only to​ excel,​ but to​ improve .​
Challenge Motivated Gamers thrive whenever a​ game pushes their skill set of​ choice,​ but may be disinterested in​ games that fall too far away from the​ target .​
Competition is​ a​ close cousin of​ challenge .​
Many gamers are driven by the​ need to​ prove they are the​ best,​ to​ be pitted against their fellows and come out on​ top .​
Competition minded gamers range from those looking for a​ challenge in​ a​ fair fight to​ the​ sort of​ win-at-all cost let speaking infants that give us all a​ bad name .​
Competition can be easy to​ take too far .​
There is​ nothing inherently wrong with being driven by competition .​
To some extent,​ competition is​ merely challenge taken to​ the​ extreme .​
It is​ only when it​ leads to​ mistreating your fellow player that it​ begins to​ become less a​ motivation and more an​ unfortunate personality quirk .​
Competition Motivated players thrive on​ those games where they are pitted against one another with the​ outcome dictated by skill at​ playing the​ game .​
They will often wane in​ those environments that either require cooperation,​ such as​ many MMORPGs,​ or​ in​ games where skill plays a​ much smaller role,​ such as​ in​ less sophisticated card or​ dice games.

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