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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!