Gamer Thoughts: Be Casual or Be Serious?

As the year comes to a close, I surely had a great year compared to those auto-generated memes that tell me it won’t be your good year. Today, I decided to write something that surely other sites have already brought it to light but worth discussing. The question is: To play casually or to play seriously?           

If you see any ghosts, be careful. They will give chase if you turn away. 

~ Princess Toadstool, Super Mario 3

How People Define Fun?

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I really thought he was throwing socks instead of boomerangs.

People have their own definitions of fun, ranging from playing it casually to playing it competitively. For casual gamers, playing a video game should be fun, and not very serious – as such an example is Super Mario 3 (now available on Nintendo Switch Online *wink*). When I was young, kids would just throw off the controllers because they died so many times and cannot move past the stage. Of course, they’re the same people who distract you so you would fall into the hole as well.

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I’m already in hell and I still need money? WHY?!

For me, I play a video game to have fun as well as taking it seriously. Mostly, I play to release my stress from work or even to indulge myself with various genres of gaming. I play to make friends as well as create memories. Of course, with making friends comes with gauging how they take the specific game seriously. Come to think about it, what are the factors that determine one’s level of seriousness to gaming.

For single-player games, you can always relax and enjoy the story or sometimes grind for better gears for better challenges. I’ve played a lot of single-player games and some provide a cake walk throughout the story with Easy Mode or even Adventure Packs. It allows you to reduce grinding by giving you free level ups or even free weapons that can last throughout the game.

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Shining Resonance: Refrain has one boss that is 7-9 levels above you when you arrive at it – the Flare Dragon

However, it’s a different scenario for multiplayer games, especially with team play elements. Being a team player is quite an unwritten requirement when you set foot into the world of multiplayer games. However, there’s always a group of people who really prefer playing the game ultimately casual – playing it on their own time and a group of sore losers as well.

The Casual and The Competitive Mindset in a Multiplayer Setting

In a multiplayer setting, it really depends on what kind of multiplayer game we’re talking about. There are games like Ragnarok Online, which features the War of Emperium which allows guilds to battle in order to conquer a castle for the winner’s headquarters, and there’s also those multiplayer games that are purely Player vs. Enemy (PvE) in nature – thus the only thing that you can possibly compete with is the DPS Race. Heck, even the normal 2-player game can be competitive as well.

Suppose we choose a game similar to Ragnarok Online or even DotA 2, if you play in a team composed of people with competitive mindsets, you’ll see yourself pressured to bring your A-game and won’t be dead weight. Sometimes, these competitive people can be kind enough to carry you till the end – regardless if the team wins or not. But we all know it isn’t always the case, thus the idea of how people handle losing in the game.

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Winning the game is fun, but how do you handle losing? Hey Kirby, I see you!

Losing a game can possibly reveal people’s mindsets towards the game:

  • All cool! We had fun with this game. Let’s play again sometime!
  • We could have done better. Let’s learn from this and do it better next time!
  • The game could have been better if you didn’t slack around, you idiot!

The first one can be a casual gamer. As long as he is having fun, he’ll come back and play again. They can be your good Judy if you just wanted to relax and play the game. That kind of person tends to remain at lower skill levels but has an overall positive impact from the game. Keeping it chill!

The second one can be a good mixture of casual and competitive mindset. I belong to this classification as I can be competitive when I wanted to, but keep it positive, though it becomes sour when sore losers are around as well – more of this later. These kinds of people tend to improve over time but have an overall positive impact from the game. These are also the people you would want to play with if you need to up your game.

The third one has a competitive mindset but with blaming game included. These are the people who think they’re strong and you are expected to be on their levels if you play with them. Sometimes, it’s fun to give yourself a challenge, but being blamed for not being on par with them is an instant toxic. You would want to play with them if you got yourself a thick skin to endure these. However, it’s still normal to encounter them in your journey as being a strong player and going top-tier is their definition of fun.

When we mix these mindsets together…

Just like a project management answer: It depends.

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I know it isn’t a two-player battle but you get the idea. (Please get it…) 😀

It depends on how you handle conflict. (keyword: maturity) It depends on how your teammates handle conflict. Either way, you as the player should be aware of how you’ll handle it. You can choose to be a good sport or you can be the sore loser (hmm… choices!) but it’s always a good idea to think that you are playing with a human behind that character (unless it’s an AI, which obviously cannot be treated as such).

Always think about yourself in these kinds of situations. If you think the game is hurting your relationships with your friends, taking a break either from the game or from the people you play with is a good idea. There are far more games that don’t lead to damaging relationships.

The Levels of Seriousness

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Warframe’s Plains of Eidolon allows you to gather new materials by accomplishing quests. As you progress, you get standings to reveal some backstories and acquire new items.

Of course, if we can determine different mindsets, we can as well determine the level of seriousness we devote to a video game. Commonly, we can gauge it by how much we devote our time and energy to it.

The first is playing. You play to explore the mechanics of what the game has to offer to you in a low-pressure, casual and fun manner. You play to learn the things you need to do before going serious about it. A good example is Breath of the Wild’s cooking because it can save you up some rupees or even help you earn some!

Next comes gaming. You’ve learned the mechanics, and you’re set to try and win in that game. Sometimes, it can be grinding your heroes to progress further, practice with the CPU for FPS and RTS games or even do practice modes for the likes of racing, and fighting games.

Finally, there comes mastery. At this point, it’s either you spend time min-maxing your gears and consistently improving your skills either by repetition or watching other people play the game to learn new things.

Final Thoughts

We explored various mindsets of the players we can encounter in our gaming life, as well as checking out ourselves how much we took gaming seriously by determining the levels. At the end of the day, it’s up to ourselves how to define what’s fun and what’s not and how we love our games like how we used to be.

I do hope you enjoy this year-ender post and I wish you, reader, a Happy New Year! 😀 See you next time!

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2 thoughts on “Gamer Thoughts: Be Casual or Be Serious?

  1. Nice piece!

    I like the way you’ve just used the tags to describe different kinds of behaviours then analysed the effect of the behaviours, rather than debate the tags themselves. I confess when I read the title of your article I did a little groan because so many people seem to forget that the casual / hardcore divide is ultimately artificial – but of course that’s not the approach you took at all.

    Here’s a question – why do we divide “gamers” into hardcore and casual at all? Does that happen anywhere else? We talk about professional and amateur sportsman, for instance, but do, say, squash players meet up at the squash courts each Friday and bemoan the “casual” squash players who are ruining the experience for the true believers?

    They probably do to at least some level, although I suspect that gaming has probably embraced the “casual / hardcore” division with more gusto than others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We can say this won’t be evident on games that you are the only player, but for the example of squash (I’ve did a bit of research because I actually have no idea what’s that), it needs teamwork especially if the team composition is a highly-skilled one and a not-so-skilled one. There’s a chance that the team will lose. It doesn’t matter how did they win or lose as squash has it’s rules in place, it’s how they show their attitude towards each other – in short, sportsmanship.

      As for the divide, we can attempt to answer the why’s of the divide which can lead to preferences (I would love to play with my friends than with strangers – and probably the opposite as well), desire for efficiency (I want to complete this quest as quickest as possible – doing more with less time), and even goals (I am here to slack and have friends or maybe I want to be the best among the rest) or even all of them in one. Of course, we do have our own opinions on this, so here’s mine.

      The question is how they do approach these ideas. Taking squash as an example, why do you play squash? To learn and enjoy with friends or to beat every single player in the world and be the best. How do you want to achieve the fun you desire? Either find somebody who plays for fun or find someone who’s more skillful than you and play with them. Most of the time, we have both of them in one – we can play with competitive squash players as well as with not-so-competitive ones. In reality, players vary by attitude. You can have a competitive team mate but also a sore loser, and even not-so-skilled but chill with teammates. This is one of the factors why there is a divide and a potential ruin to the true believers of squash – there’s a lot more if we ponder about it.

      How to address it is up to all of us gamers. Will we be the ones who’ll start the drama just to fill our own egos and feel we’re on top of the world or do we keep it chill, not taking everything so seriously and enjoy? Choices~ 😁

      Liked by 1 person

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