Gamers wear many faces. They aren’t the stereotypical one-dimensional subterranean creatures that hide from sun and soap that the media loves to present them as, though the proverb of the broken clock does come to mind.
They are sons and daughters, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. They are introverted and extroverted, men and women, young and old. They are readers, watchers and writers. The one constant thing between gamers is that they game. They play them, enjoy them, experience them, and very often are moved by them.
Depending on your point of view, games have either entered mainstream, or are dancing along the cusp of it. If the perception of games as a whole was true, the only plausible reason for this would be a sudden spike in the population of white boys aged fifteen to twenty-one… but that’s not what happened. Gaming is more common simply because more than semi-adolescent males are playing games, and the effective demographics of the gaming community cover a broad cross-section of society.
Gaming finds parallels with cinema and literature, and covers a range analogous to the audience of a movie, or the readers of a book. There isn’t a type that watches movies, but there are movie watchers. While I chuckle at the image of a slovenly mess of hair point at someone with a book, slurring “Yer one of dem.. readers” with all the menace he can muster, they don’t have a type either. Specific books might attract a certain group, much as specific movies might tend toward a type, but as a whole, it’s not the case. Games are no different.
While our playing habits do vary, the prevalence of storytelling in so many games means that so many gamers are experiencing those same stories. The choices are being made, the character’s lives are being lived, and we are creating new memories that are also shared by others who play them. It’s similar to when people read the same book, watch the same movie, or see their sporting team snatch victory in the dying moments of a match. Those exhilarating moments are present, but there are other people that felt those same moments. It may be following a script (or many scripts) with a game, but success hinges on the player. It’s at once personal, but shared.
Each of the stories appeal to gamers differently. Some are swept away by a murder mystery that falls flat for others, or have no idea why so many rave about some scuba-diver with a drill, no matter how kindly they’re asked by someone to try the related game. In the interests of broadening the scope of this series, I made contact with a number of gamers via social media, with the intent of garnering their opinions on narratives in games, and the memorable experiences that they’ve had from the stories therein.
Some of these may be names that are known to you, but they won’t all be. They have been people who answered a specific call to answer a silly amount of questions about storytelling in games, without really knowing what they were getting themselves into. I am very grateful for the time they’ve spent and the answers provided, and in no way are these magnificent people responsible for the words I’m writing.
These are the voices of The Gamer’s Journey:
Tash – MidnightReyn
Tash is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of SaveGameOnline, a Geralt admirer, and a Mass Effect devotee.
Darren – DarrenWells
Darren is an Editor at Official Xbox Magazine Australia, games writer, and has been a contributor for gaming magazines PC Powerplay and Hyper in the past.
Jimmy – JimmyGeekPA
Jimmy is Game Historian for Player Attack TV, a former reality TV personality, and a giant kid.
Chani – Primakat
Chani is a Top 50 finalist from iiNet’s TopGeek competition, a gamer across many platforms, and a relapsed Dr Pepper addict.
Hong – Hexigon
Hong is a Municipal Liaison for NaNoWriMo, an avid cosplayer and gamer, and a die-hard Pokémon fan.
Nick – Nicktatorship
I am a writer, creator of Fictioner’s Net, gamer, and a Mass Effect fanatic.
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