Thursday, April 2, 2009

Far Cry 2



I just snapped that off with my cellphone. Christmas without Christ I have read a lot of Jungian dream crap. I didn't do it all at once or anything, I got interested in this topic months ago and didn't start writing about it until that first piece a while back, but still. That is excessive. Anywho, the research is done and all that remains is to write the final two pieces, which is still going to be a while. The third one will be interesting and useful for people, the fourth one is going to launch into the final conclusion that games have enormous potential for psychological therapy and personal insight.

I sorta wigged out in a PixelVixen 707 thread after reading her coverage of Heather Chaplin's rant on immaturity in games. The issue with approaching games like dreams is that a dream can be explained on some levels as your instincts giving you a feedback report on how your conscious mind is running things. So if a person is playing the hell out of a game, the dream theory is saying their unconscious is being expressed through this game. Whatever the archetype is inducing in them is what they're missing out on. People have often said as much when discussing game addiction but the dream approach means taking it a step further. A person may enjoy RTS games because they don't feel like they're in control or engage with Morrowind to feel a sense of purpose and success that is missing for them personally. By looking at their specific conduct in the game, you can determine what their artificially dreaming and thus what their instincts are reporting about the mind's current state.

Enter the back pedaling. The average person isn't particularly comfortable with this, Hell I'm not. We all feel small doses of insecurity or disappointment and games give outlet to those emotions in a healthy manner. Like anyone else I have a mountain of personal issues as well and it's kind of startling to think that my preference in games is a reflection of that. Up until this point, I'd just assumed it was skill or arbitrary. But thinking that every time I get into that obsessive groove with a game is because my unconscious is responding to it kinda makes everything become...one-sided.

Like dreams themselves, I think I've mostly just excavated another level of what's going on with games. It's just another way of looking at them and every artistic medium needs as many of those as possible. Considering the fact that every mammal on the planet actively dreams about all manner things, I do find myself realizing it's not that big of a deal to say loving a game is an indication of an undercurrent of personal issues. We've all got them after all.

Oh yeah, I wrote a giant essay about Far Cry 2.

4 comments:

pixelvixen707 said...

In a conversation at GDC someone asked me an interesting question: what do I like about playing games? Like, specifically what types of play and what types of behavior satisfy me?

I know that one side of therapy involves running your mouth to see what comes out. I wonder if there might a way to draft a basic, formal questionnaire about their playing habits that could reveal something interesting. To what you said, what if you make some explain why they like RTS's?

I'll consider the exercise. And if I can scrounge up $150/hour, maybe you can psychoscrutinize it for me. Or do you take Blue Cross?

L.B. Jeffries said...

We at BPM are open minded about our forms of payment. Cash, Blue Cross, livestock, it's no concern.

I wonder if you could actually prove the connection between games and personal issues? It's just a hypothesis, something I'll flesh out in part 4, but I'm not even sure what questions I'd ask. What have you been diagnosed with by a licensed physician? What is your favorite genre? Which one do you deeply dislike? Living situation, income...but then do you have them writing out their deepest fears? Fantasies? I wonder...

Simon said...

I can tell you guys that a Rogerian psychoanalyst will *not* be able to help answer this question. Here's what Eliza gave me. I fucked out when she got stuck on my grammar and spat out "I see." Or maybe there's more to the last answer I gave then I realize? :)

> Hello, I am Eliza.
* I want to know why I play games.
> Suppose you got to know why you play games?
* But how would I go about finding that out?
> Why do you ask?
* Because LB Jeffries and PixelVixen were talking about it, and I want to beat them to the punch.
> What would it mean to you if you got to beat them to the punch?
* I guess I would win. Like, it'd be a game. And I'd be the winner.
> I see.

pixelvixen707 said...

Simon - I think she's playing with you. How long was the pause before she spat out, "I see"? Her hesitation tells the tale.