[When I think of games that let us escape, I usually think of eighty hour RPGs or games with really deep mechanics. AwesomeExMachina shares with us how even 'casual' party games or No Fail mode on music games can serve as an escape. Want to post your own article on this month's topic? Publish it now on our community blogs. - JRo]
As a gamer, I’m no stranger to escapism. When I get stressed out and land back on my couch after shuffling papers at work or dodging Chicago traffic on my bike, there’s nothing quite like disappearing into mini-maps, save points, and level ups. There’s something so incredibly satisfying about that time-vortex that forms when you drop into a game so good, you forget that you’ve been playing for hours.
Hit the jump to find out why.
Your big singleplayer and online titles give you plenty of worlds to disappear into, but party games offer their own form of escapism. Instead of leaving the world outside and settling into your own little universe, party games drag everyone else in with you. It lets a whole bevy of players form a little bubble of ludicrous waggling and spinning drumsticks. The escapism offered by the successful kick-off of a round of party gaming doesn’t escape the world like you’d expect, but instead lets a small group of players escape awkwardness and unfamiliarity.
When you get a group together, be it strangers or close friends, party games will constantly provide you a chemical reaction of downright solid awesome. Complete strangers are belting out Beatles songs and taking turns trying to learn how those funky drum pads work. Players are trying to use the Wiimote in a burst of vague instructions from Wario to somehow make a cat not sleep or to slap a brick wall. Hardcore gamers are teaching those completely foreign to the whole idea of a controller how to play games, and casual players are blue-turtle-shelling the crap out of otherwise dedicated console enthusiasts. It’s often so perfect, I become concerned Nintendo’s marketing department is hiding behind a bookshelf, recording these events for their next commercial.
But this is why these games work so well in a party environment. When the game’s boundaries are consistently unfair, the player just simply can’t become invested in the competition. They have to accept the anarchy of rules and instead get lost in the experience. This is precisely why options like No Fail Mode exist. Goals become secondary to the journey.
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