Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines escapism as habitual diversion of the mind to a purely imaginative activity or entertainment as an escape from reality or routine. So, why do we game? Is it for the pure enjoyment of the activity, or do we dream of being the characters we control during our gaming sessions? Every person has something that they habitually do to escape the monotony of the everyday routine, it may be the weekly trip to the church, the weekend nights out to the bar, or your game of choice to get some sort of release from from your daily life.
Gaming journalism has seperated gamers in to two catagories the casual and the hardcore. The casual being the gamer that picks up a controller once or twice or week just to kill some time. Of course the hardcore gamer is someone that games daily with their prefered console or consoles, whether it is an Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii or computer. These are the people that follow gaming websites and these are the people that this article is directed toward. When you grab the controls of your avatar the irrational customer you had to deal with at work a few hours ago isn’t on your mind, what you’re worried about now is how you are going to tackle the next obstacle that is in your path while you are one your way toward your next destination. You see a group of enemys ahead and they will have to be taken out because they are in your way and nothing is stopping you because you have to reach your final goal, and nothing will stop you.
The first subject I would like to look at is the MMO gamer, these people spend days and days of in game time trying to reach any number of goals whether it is the next level toward the final goal of the level cap or maybe its that piece of gear that will jump your stats to a higher level which will allow you to join the raid that all your friends have been raving about, all you know is that you have to get it done, and that is all that matters while you are doing it. The most hardcore group of MMO players are the raiders, these people spend endless amounts of time preparing themselves repeating the same activities day after day with the ultimate goal of earning enough “emblems” in order to get the next level of gear just to have high enough stats in order to join groups to do other monotonous activities until the next patch/expansion comes out. I recently watched a documentary titles Second Skin and one of the characters followed in the film explained that in his normal life he has bills to pay he is in debt and he has children on the way, but in World of Warcraft he has endless amounts of money and he is a hero, and who doesn’t want to be proclaimed a champion? In your normal life you go to work daily do your normal everyday activities and you do this because you have to, in World of Warcraft you have made a decision to play this and you have made the choice that you are going to be among the best, and lets face it, you aren’t going to have a chance to slay dragons and assassinate tyrannical rulers from your cubicle, unless of course, you’re logged in to your game.
Before ending the first part of this soon to be series of articles I would like to point out that I am a “hardcore” gamer and I occasionally delve in to World of Warcraft. I have nothing against these gamers and by all means, if it makes you happy, please, continue to do it.
-Scott R. “Escape Artist”