Differing Play Styles

In class recently we discussed the idea of narrative creation for characters in games. Some people enjoyed having a character already fleshed out whilst some liked to play a game and create their own narrative. I simply want to add my own perspective to this based on my own experiences. I grew up researching, buying, and playing games with my older brother Dale. We both have similar tastes and so we bought our games for both of us. As such we spent a great deal of our time growing up not necessarily playing together but with one of us playing while the other watched or read a book. My point with all of this is that despite this uniformity we came to have very different play styles regarding the concept of narrative creation. An excellent example of this is Skyrim. My brother loves to create complex plot lines for his characters and spin a web of intricate relationships between his character and events within the game. He may choose the “wrong” option at a juncture point in order to be realistic to the character he has created. He may even murder a innocent bystander for the very reason that his elf hates orcs because his family was murdered by them despite such back story being entirely imaginary. That is not me. When i play Skyrim my choices are, as much as i might try to fight it, entirely utilitarian. I maximize my gear and levels by methodically clearing out quests in one area before moving to the next. I don’t think I take nearly as much advantage of the free form format as i should. On the other side of that I can recollect a time when my brother had reached level 30 simply by wandering around in the wilderness without even touching a single primary quest line. I could not stand that level of deviation from the norm. This linear and non-linear divide between us even effects how much we enjoy and play a game. While I’ve played a significant amount of Skyrim it is no where near my brothers playtime and i believe that our personal conceptions of narrative creation lie behind this deviation. My brother can simply get more out of the game than i can by taking the already immense world provided and expanding it even further.

I think this is interesting because it points to the way our own thinking or conceptions of games and in what style we play them limits a persons enjoyment and/or the accessibility of a game. In a broader context i think this can be applied to a great deal of issues in which the preconceived notions we bring to the table affect our ability to connect with or even understand something.

Leave a Reply