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Default Are RPGs Better Than Reality? @ Blog Critics

May 13th, 2011, 01:59
Zohaib writes about this Blog Critics piece called titled Are RPGs Better Than Reality. The author writes of BG2 offering escape during a hard time in his life::
Escapism, of course. But there are plenty of ways to escape reality, many of which would make me seem much cooler than gaming does. What makes RPGs so special? For me, it comes down to four things:
  • Clear goals. Kill that ogre, retrieve that magical spear, uncover what the ambassador is really up to.Have you ever read a corporate vision statement? It’s never “Sell 5 million widgets.” It’s more along the lines of “Maximize ROI by pivoting on key granular innovations in the widget ecology.” Neat! Now what am I supposed to do again? Shut up and get back to work? Yes, sir.
  • Proportional rewards. Namely, experience points and gold. Most of us have put in time with a guy or girl we’re crushing on only to discover that he or she has long since relegated us to the “friend zone.” Or worse, you’re happily married until you discover that your partner has mentally left months or years earlier. That stinks, but it happens a lot.
  • Progress. You advance in levels, becoming demonstrably more powerful. Don’t get me wrong—I’ve made “progress” in jobs, relationships, and even happiness over the years. But it often seems to be the result of happening to be in the right place for something to happen. Too often in the workplace, hard work might be taken for granted, but sucking up is always appreciated!
  • Do-overs. Demogorgon making mincemeat of your party? Try again with different tactics. Or different party members. Or say “to hell with it” and don’t fight him at all. I once called a friend’s fiancée his “human ATM machine.” Oops. Would love to be able to reload the last save before that unintentionally ugly statement came out of my mouth.
More information.
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May 13th, 2011, 01:59
How do I say this without using the "retarded" well i can't. This is the most retarded post I have read on this site.
Its like saying doing crack is better than reality.
Being drunk all the time is better than reality.
Games are fun well some of them.
But reality is always going to be better, no matter what it brings.
I do see the point to the post but really…
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May 13th, 2011, 03:01
Originally Posted by CelticFrost View Post
How do I say this without using the "retarded" well i can't. This is the most retarded post I have read on this site.
Its like saying doing crack is better than reality.
Being drunk all the time is better than reality.
Games are fun well some of them.
But reality is always going to be better, no matter what it brings.
I do see the point to the post but really…
Gaming is a mostly harmless form of escapism compared to the crack and booze options you put forward. Call me retarded if you like but the blog made me smile as I can relate to needing to be an escapist.
Game worlds quite often are better than reality, and if you lived a day in my reality you would probably change your tune and agree.
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May 13th, 2011, 03:16
If games weren't better than reality, then why would people play them instead of going outside? Pretty obvious to me- no need for over-analysis.
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May 13th, 2011, 04:55
I'm getting much less time to play and thus enjoy the simplicity of escapism these days, as I'm sure is the norm for many folk on this site who have families and every day responsibilities. Naturally, I can also empathise at moments with the article.

I'm hoping that this will logically mean that "absence makes the heart grow fonder" as it were and that when holidays arrive, it'll just make the wait for some quality game time, all the more sweeter.

James Paul Gee also writes in detail why the learning and direct goal-setting found within games are so attractive to us. Some worthwhile reading on the subject, for those interested.

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Diddledy low,
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You've a goodly way to go.
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May 13th, 2011, 07:09
When I first discovered WoW, I remember thinking "this is what I'd like the afterlife to be"
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May 13th, 2011, 07:55
I'd like to agree with the article and would like to tell you a story.

When I quit SWG 2006 I had a maxed out character who had taken every badge in the game. The reason I quit was that I understood that SWG was going nowhere, it would never be the MMORPG it should have been from the beginning since it's core design was to be a farm simulation, not an epic space opera. The new combat system was built on top of it all and would take years to mature, if ever.

At that point I had no education to speak about, I was unemployed and the same drinking problems that took my fathers life had begun to show itself in me. Having broken with religion and suffering from plenty of deep existential questions I looked to philosophy and social sciences to find answers. I had begun to take long walks and listen to educational lectures, something I had at that point done for a year or so.

The realization I made back then is that if I did in real life what I did in SWG, grinding my own knowledge with the effort and intensity that I did in the game, I would actually gain more lasting rewards.

First I had to make my goals clear. I analyzed the Swedish system and saw that 20.0 average was the highest possible score you could have, and I needed about 2150 "points" worth of courses (of which all had to be the highest grade to have 20.0). I created a heavy spreadsheet that tracked the total score and decided that my clear goal was to reach that number.

Then I created a quest journal. Every single exam I placed within this journal, the last date, then established that I needed a few days to pass every exam with the highest grade. Passing every exam with the highest grade meant passing the course with the highest grade. Passing every course with the highest grade meant 20.0.

This way, every single page I read was progress towards the long term goal. Every passed exam was a reward in it's own. I also learned from every failure I did, gradually improving my skill at knowing what to know, what I did not know and what I had to do to know more.

I eventually passed 20.00 and I could be anything I want now. Every course I want to read is open to me. But the true reward is to know that I could do it, something that man back in 2006 did not know. At the university I have another intent by getting the highest grade, to me it's an indication that I have understood the course and that is a step closer to my next goal, to be a researcher in psychology.


So what is the lesson here? A game is not a true representation of real life, but the mechanics try to emulate real life. If you try to apply game theory on real life you might end up with something like a map. It's not a perfect representation of reality, it doesn't have every rock and tree in it, but it is at least something that will both guide your way, keep yourself on track, see where you are going and finally allow you to pinpoint where to go.

I am not the only one who applied game theory to real life with success. I have heard plenty of examples of educators, teachers and coaches who created systems in which you earn experience, make achievements and fulfill quests, just like in a roleplaying game. If you have something you wish to be, do not laugh at this.

Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. - John F Kennedy
An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind. - Mahatma Gandhi
The world is my country. To do good is my religion. My mind is my own church. This simple creed is all we need to enjoy peace on earth. - Thomas Paine
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May 13th, 2011, 08:36
So this is why I love RPGs so damned much and avoid reality as often as possible!
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May 13th, 2011, 09:28
I think everyone have different reasons to play…. for me it is a way to relax…. and excersice my brain + I am really interested in technology and to see how amazing worlds we can create with it…. which I am also working on doing myself.

JemyM is a very good example that games do good to… not just have people addicted to them or become violent…. on the other hand I wounder if a game like Doom or other such a FPS's ever did anything good? except entertain of course.
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May 13th, 2011, 10:02
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
…on the other hand I wounder if a game like Doom or other such a FPS's ever did anything good? except entertain of course.
Hand-eye coordination training, improved reaction times, modding and because of that a better understanding of logical thinking, mathematics and computers in general, which eventually led to me building computers. Building computers made me interested in quality electronics in general, which now allows me to make better purchases no matter what kind of electronics I buy.

@JemyM: Which university do you attend? I studied psychology at Umeå University and finished last summer.
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May 13th, 2011, 10:22
@JemyM : I'm honestly and impressed.

*bows before you*


My lesson I learned while flying the X-Wing game is that too sudden movements of the steering wheel can make you crash into something - or into someone.

That was a lession I took for car driving.

Since then, I avoid sudden steering movements in cars at all costs, and especially at higher speed.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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May 13th, 2011, 11:14
Originally Posted by SveNitoR View Post
@JemyM: Which university do you attend? I studied psychology at Umeå University and finished last summer.
Gothenburg University. Next summer I will begin my master.

Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. - John F Kennedy
An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind. - Mahatma Gandhi
The world is my country. To do good is my religion. My mind is my own church. This simple creed is all we need to enjoy peace on earth. - Thomas Paine
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May 13th, 2011, 11:16
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
@JemyM : I'm honestly and impressed.
*bows before you*
Thanks man.

Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. - John F Kennedy
An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind. - Mahatma Gandhi
The world is my country. To do good is my religion. My mind is my own church. This simple creed is all we need to enjoy peace on earth. - Thomas Paine
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May 13th, 2011, 11:57
Originally Posted by CelticFrost View Post
How do I say this without using the "retarded" well i can't. This is the most retarded post I have read on this site.
Its like saying doing crack is better than reality.
Being drunk all the time is better than reality.
Games are fun well some of them.
But reality is always going to be better, no matter what it brings.
I do see the point to the post but really…
But aren't you in reality while you are playing the game?
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May 13th, 2011, 12:03
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
I am not the only one who applied game theory to real life with success.
You won't have much success in life if you don't. When asked in an interview what you want to do in 5 years do you say you want to play games and sit in your underwear all day, or any real answer? You are part of their game whether you like it or not, and the BSers of the world are very good at playing.

I do think that many of the golden age games did teach you to really plan and think critically. No one is going to learn much from playing anything of recent days, though.
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May 13th, 2011, 13:18
Reality has better cut scenes while RPGs have better combat .
I remember getting some really shore ass after riding a mule over a mountain IRL while i can ride a warhorse all day long in mount&blade
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May 13th, 2011, 19:28
Woman are much better in reality .
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May 13th, 2011, 23:02
That depends on who the woman is…
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May 13th, 2011, 23:28
JemyM has a great approach. Often getting things done is just finding the right motivation and mental outlook.

In a similar concept, I did a paper on how people can model their actual self after a virtual self in a game. In other words what JemyM did to some degree. You can also look at how you role play in a game to learn more about yourself (works best in an MMO setting where you can interact with others) and often find positive ways to enhance your own life. Course this is looking at the positive stuff … most folks are aware of all the negative aspects.

As for escapism … I play games to escape but more because they are a game then because I want to actually be there. Not sure I really want to fight a broodmother, be turned into a death knight or face any number of horrors most of our heroes go through in games … not to mention the whole "world about to die" plot lines. Nice to play being a hero but another thing to actually live it. Even if not out saving the world games gloss over most of the ho-hum aspects of life - the daily grind of living, pooping, eating, earning a living, etc.

Besides if you want to be a hero there are ample ways to in real life. Learn a new skill (computer science, herbalist, gardening, martial arts, you name it), start working out a the gym, travel more, etc. Want to do quests and help out? Your local community probably has ample need for volunteers to help out and do daily quests. In no time flat your community reputation will hit the exalted mark!
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May 14th, 2011, 11:17
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
Gothenburg University. Next summer I will begin my master.
How is the culture there? In Umeå it was way too much about status and being smart for the sake of being smart. Individually the people were nice and interesting, but taken as a whole it was really not my cup of tea.
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