What is the "joy of gaming"?

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Decades ago I read a music review that changed my life. It was a person visiting a punk show, late 90s. While they were not fans, they explained they observed the audience, and using their knowledge as a critic and of contemporary trends they deduced how “successful” an act was.

I wrote that last sentence to sound specifically bullshit-esque. And yet, I concur. When I’m out of my element, I look to the ones that want to be there, and see how it’s going for them.

I don’t like most video games. So when I encounter one that has a mass following, I think to myself, “what are these folks getting from this?”

As we organize games, I’m inspired to go further. A cursory search will ideally show why a given game is popular, or solvent, or notable. But almost any game that shows up here on talkgroup will elicit at least one of two emotions: joy or disappointment.

Let’s focus on joy for now, since our negativity bias will always keeps us in supply of disappointment.

I want to know why people feel joy when playing a game. I’m attracted to joy. It’s one of my favorite things. Accomplishment, orgasms, gratitude. What would you rather experience?!

I like to think of myself as a meta-critic; that is to say: I want to understand and describe the framework by which we measure culture and its impact on our species. When it comes to gaming, since the trends of industry are destroying our favorite production line of capitalism (ie making it unstomachable) I’m personally interested in two things:

  1. What joy does a game bring?
  2. What does a game bring me?

Gosh, that feels good to state that. I feel we have a much better accord, now. :slight_smile:

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