The Lost Joy of Gaming

 I have been playing video games since when I was eight years old, and I still remember the day that I got my first Game Boy Color. It was the most fun toy I had ever gotten up that point, and I spent hours playing all my favorite games on it. When I was 12, I got my Xbox. It was like a completely different experience for me when I saw the 3D graphics, complex storylines, and real music. It was as if I had literally found another dimension. The upgrade to the Xbox 360 was just as good; it opened up a whole new level of gaming for me. Although video games weren’t a huge part of my life, they were still a great way to relax and could always be counted on to provide fun when I was bored.

Although it wasn’t my first or second choice for a writing seminar, I was looking forward to my first Worlds of Wordcraft class, where it would be fun to talk about, write about, and most importantly, play video games. Since my other classes were chemistry, physics, and multivariable calculus, I thought it would be a welcome change from the equations and formulas that usually occupy my thoughts during class, and talk about video games instead.

When we first started playing LOTRO, I was excited that we were finally able to start playing games. However, when I first started playing it, I was getting bored within a few minutes. I was totally confused about what I was supposed to do, and I didn’t really care to find out. After trying for about five minutes to get out of the first room, I closed the game and did not play it for another week. I kept getting reminded that I had to join the kinship, so I eventually had to complete the introduction, which took me about two weeks. Games are usually fun for me, but playing LOTRO felt more like homework than fun. After I joined the kinship, I thought I was done with the game, but when I found out that I had to go back in it to write the essay, I was fairly annoyed. I ran through the Old Forest and Barrow Downs quickly, took some screenshots, and closed the game for good.

I thought this class would make me enjoy games more, but instead it has made me indifferent towards them. Since I arrived at Vanderbilt, I have not really played any video games, and I didn’t even bring my Xbox 360. I barely played LOTRO, and I haven’t started Never Winter Nights. I’m not entirely sure why my attitude towards video games has changed; it may be because I didn’t like LOTRO, or maybe because I have no experience with MMORPGs, or maybe I just don’t have time for them. However, I think the main reason is that this class has turned video games into work instead of play. To me video games are a way to have fun and relax, not a serious topic to analyze and write essays about. When I think about games now, writing  five page papers and long reading assignments come to mind, not the enjoyment and carefree fun they provide. I really do like games, so I hope I start enjoying them for what they are when this class is over. On the plus side, games have not affected my academics, social life, or athletics at all, so it might be a good thing that I’m not playing video games.

-Kashyap Saxena