Choosing the name, race and gender of your character at the beginning of a game is a pretty big deal… It got us thinking, “is this setting me up for some of my big life decisions”? Welcome to the ramblings of Javier & Josef.
I’m one who likes to think that playing video games has more benefit than just the escapism, enjoyment and online socialising. I buy into the fact that it helps our logic solving skills, perception and general awareness.
Within the first half an hour of an rpg you’ll be faced with that tough choice of what to name your character, choose their home planet or nation, and then what they look like. Some people have a ‘user’ name they faithfully stick to, others use the given protagonist’s name for continuity (e.g. Cloud, Link, Tidus), and many of us, myself included, use our own names – Because let’s be honest we really fucking wish we were in their shoes. It’s also fun to pick something different to yourself, such as a female argonian in The Elder Scrolls, as this can add to that escapism I mentioned and really remove yourself from reality, and very often there are in game benefits to thinking outside the box a little.
Could it also be that making the tough choice in a game actually could help you come to those tougher life decisions quicker, like what to name your first cat or even child? Probably not, but perhaps it opens up our mind to many more ideas, and sparks that creativity inside of us. I know for sure that I have good logic solving skills and can generally make a quick decision on things, I’ll also try my hand at anything and generally succeed (Despite having failed 3 driving tests I stick to this comment) – So maybe it just puts more ideas in our head which we can use for different situations in life.
How else does gaming feed into our lives other than just decision making and name choosing? Being part of Respawning has taught me how to become friends with strangers, something I truly never understood before being part of this community. Luke is the only person I actually know in the real world, however I now have people I call close friends who I’ve never met and even one who lives half way across the world… So perhaps it can teach us about respect and understanding, how it is possible to form a bond with someone you’ve never met.
For me it’s taught me more about appreciation for other people, and shown me that it is possible to get to know someone you’ve never met; it’s made me slightly more sociable and opened a door to many new friendships.
For me video games were the first medium I could truly feel lost in. As Javier mentioned I am also one of those people who name their characters after themselves – I’ve always had a wild imagination so when I put my character into those worlds and adventures I really just feel alive in that world.
While it is quite a controversial game, No Man’s Sky has been perfect for this escapism. You are given a blank slate of a character and literally 18 Quintilian worlds to explore – I look at these planets and I feel as if I’m the one really there discovering them for the first time out of anyone in the universe.
Then beyond that I’m so thankful for the social skills I’ve learned; yeah, yeah, I was one of those awkward nerds… But I’ve met and encountered some amazing people that have become some of the closest friends in my life. Everyone in Respawning has been a prime example of this and we’ve all been unified under our love for games, even when not one person’s taste exactly alligns with another. It makes for so much entertainment and having those friends to play co-op with feels like second nature now. God bless video games huh…