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  • Writer's pictureJiajun Tan

Game is where I have Superpowers

Updated: Feb 21, 2019

"The game is plastic." That's a standpoint Costikyan starts to convey his understanding of gameplay. After reading the paper, I began to ask myself the question: What is the definition of game to me?

It reminds me of 2 month ago, I asked myself what could I do if I want to make a VR basketball game because I am such a fan of both VR and basketball. The result was I could barely think of anything. VR is so fascinating that it create the best condition for players to get immersive real feeling, and the "real" is what we always seeking for. But why do we want something virtually "real" while we already have reality?

Because reality sucks sometime and we need an escape. Imagine if you are bad at basketball yet using yourself in the game. It will be a disaster since you will still be bad in that game, without feeling any positive feedback which is one of the most important elements in a game.

That's why even company like 2K only tried to make a VR three-point contest. The trade-off in this situation is between real and fun. With Superbowl just picked the new winner, I read an article talking about VR football. I strongly agree with the idea that even the game isn't real to teach a lesson on such a sports, it could still be super fun to play with.

And that's my answer to the question I asked myself:

Game is where I have Superpowers. It is not reality, otherwise it will be just another regular day of life. Every player has his/her dream, and the best part of a game is that you have the superpower to realize it.

The superpower I am talking about is not just about superheroes powers. It can be anything that makes you a different person in a game. After digging in my mines of memory, I retrieved so many superpowers that I missed so much. There is still many games in my list that focused on seeking reality a lot, but all that scavenge based on that it has a cool mechanism that protect the fact that it's still a fun game.

There is an interesting book talking about the broken reality problem of game, and it holds some many convincing ideas on how to make happiness, named four secrets: satisfying work; experience, or at least the hope, of being successful; social connection; meaning.

I play Pokemon because accomplishing it is such a satisfying work. In this series, the superpower I get is definitely the Pokemon. I can train my Pokemon and help them evolve and learn new spells which will eventually help me become the master of Pokemon and touch the trophy of the Pokemon League, which is the dream of any Pokemon trainer. Such a feeling of accomplishment is rare to find in real life, because the dream is so fantasy, that is no where to find in reality.

I play Hearthstone because I have hope to beat the champion. Randomness is a great element in game that provides hope to win, and that is my superpower and why I play game like Hearthstone, making me feel that I could be a legend. In real life there is so few genius that can stand on the top of the competing chain, but in game world, there is always opportunity to be successful.

I play PUBG because it helps me keep connection with my friends. The superpower in such a game is collaboration, that creates multiple entertainment and keeps relationship. People are social animals and nobody can really live on their own, so it's so important to have such games to fill the hole of reality that helps us stay connected with people important in our life in a pleasant way.

I play NBA 2K now because it has the inspirational meaning of ordinary people can achieve big dreams. The superpower in that game is pure strength that we wish to have in reality, like in NBA 2K I become such a great basketball player. Strength is always the key to success, and the game keeps me aware of the importance of fighting, and this meaning reflects to reality.

To conclude, I would say stop chasing reality in game while the reality already start to mimic games. Game is where we are not ordinary, and we can do something that will success. That's why I love Ready Player One so much, I love to be a player so much.

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