This week I mainly stuck to my usual game of choice and played League of Legends on my computer. Since the only other game console I have is a Nintendo Gamecube, I do not have a lot of options for games to play. Hopefully I’ll revisit some of my old favorites in the coming weeks.
I usually begin to start playing right before I go to bed at night. The fact that the game is relatively mindless and repetitive is great for lulling someone to sleep. It also works as a great stress relief tool at the end of a long work day. Lately, I’ve only been playing one game a day. I have been doing this because so far I am on a four game winning streak (Which may not sound like a lot but for a player of questionable skill as myself it is wonderful) and I do not want to break my streak, so I’m proceeding slowly and cautiously.
My mood before I start playing is usually frustrated, exhausted, or a combination of the two. The fact that the game is basically a 30-40 minute constant battle sequence helps to get out daily frustrations and the fact that you can zone out really helps to relax the mind. Lately though I have been beginning to realize just how repetitive the game really is and I think that also contributes to why I am only playing a game a day. I used to play game after game, day after day, but now it has started to get a bit stale I think. I used to play with my boyfriend and we would be a Support/ADC team and it was fun and an activity we could do together. However he isn’t able to play with me at the moment so it’s just kind of a bland activity. I may take a break from the game and move onto something else. Maybe try to play a new game a week so I can write about a variety of things.
I can’t say I have noticed much that I hadn’t noticed before. They players are still homophobic, sexist, and racist assholes. The depiction of women is still grossly exaggerated. And the glorification of violence is still the center tent pole of the game. These are all things I knew after playing the game for a few weeks, they still have changed. The game rarely changes so it’s hard to talk about new things to notice.
One thing that has bothered me recently though about the game is regarding the new Support character they recently released. His name is Braum and he is a big burly man with a bushy mustache. They advertise him as a “manly support” who makes “manly plays.” In the league of legends game there are more female support characters than male, which is saying something about their view of women in itself. But to feel the need to make the role less feminine and attract more players to the role they feel they need to advertise a “manly support?” It’s just one more ridiculous step in the wrong direction when it comes to this game and the sexism that runs through it. It’s a terrible frustration to have going through your head every time you play a game because it goes against a lot of things I stand for.
It’s just so damn fun and mind numbing at the end of the day. It’s hard to stop.
This week I ended my winning streak on League of Legends, and so I decided to move on to a different game for the week. I decided to play on my Minecraft account, which I mainly use only to play Minecraft Survival Games. Minecraft Survival Games are basically The Hunger Games; you search for weapons and kill people until there is only one person left standing. It is a lot of fun and also hugely anxiety provoking. I have never been so anxious in my life as I am playing this game. You never know when someone is going to come up and kill you and usually I can never find any weapons to defend myself with. I usually leave playing this game more stressed than I came into it, partially because I never win and partially because it’s so scary. I played it a few days in a row for a couple games each time.
Just as The Hunger Games series does, the game is basically reveling in violence. It isn’t as ghastly as the series it’s based off of because the graphics are pixilated and the context of the story isn’t there; however, you are still hunting human characters, which is pretty sadistic to think about. The game is fun and takes a lot of skill (I have still yet to win one game), but I’m not sure I like supporting something that is so violent. I feel as though I can handle League of Legends because it is a game with fantasy violence, which is something I can shrug off and ignore mostly because it is not based on reality. But when games involve fighting real human characters, it just makes me feel a little uncomfortable. I may have to go back to playing League again after this week.
Today I am at my parent’s house where they have a Wii console, so I decided to try out a few games on there to see what I thought. The game I played for the longest period of time was Donkey Kong Country. I have tried playing this game a little bit every time I visit home and have yet to get very far in it. I got the game for Christmas two or three years ago because I have always enjoyed the Donkey Kong Country series for the SNES and I wanted to see how this newer version compared. I played the game this afternoon for a couple of hours and in those couple of hours I only completed one or two of the game levels.
I was happy with this game because it keeps the basic scrolling camera design as the original series of games and ditched the free form map that Donkey Kong 64 tried. However, all of the interactive controls that they incorporated with the Wii Remote were a bit of a challenge to grasp when you are not very good at games like myself. However, I was still happy that it had a somewhat similar feel to the classics.
Something that I never noticed about the game before was that when the level was completed my mom said to me, “Look at Donkey Kong trying to look so macho.” This made me think critically of the game and how masculinity is shown through this seemingly harmless children’s game. Donkey Kong is a strong, clunky, bulky, and stereotypically masculine character. He is paired with Diddy Kong who is a scrawny chimpanzee that is not playable as a stand alone character and can only be utilized if you free him from a barrel by the Donkey Kong character. Diddy Kong is then carried around the level of Donkey Kong’s shoulders as though he cannot walk himself. The game is showing Donkey Kong’s dominance over Diddy Kong, and by Donkey Kong being the burly, ultra masculine character that he is, it is showing a message of what it means to be masculine. I really appreciate my mom for saying that because I was trying really hard to think critically about the game and find what kind of flaws it might have and she summed it up with that sentence.
Overall the game is hard though, I’ll probably never beat it just like I’ve never beat the SNES versions as a child. I was always too busy trying to get all the hidden items that beating the actual levels usually took a backseat. But I will always look fondly on these games, I think they’re a hoot.
This week I decided to try my hand at a few online flash games just to try something new. I was feeling bored and wanted something mindless to play and these types of games always deliver. I started playing a game entitled Zuma which is a Mayan themed color matching game where you match rolling colored balls before they reach the golden idol, in which you lose if the balls reach that point. It is a very basic game with really simple rules, making it great for mindless entertainment. These games to me are hard to try to think critically about, which I have been trying to do with all of the different video games I’ve been trying to play during this class. They are so simple and so monotonous that it’s hard to pick out aspects that are worth discussing.
The most interesting aspect of the game that I could come up with is how much time went by while I was playing it. At least an hour to an hour and a half went by before I realized I had spent a ridiculous amount of time playing a repetitive game. I believe this repetition is what hooks people, and is why games like angry birds, candy crush, and flappy bird are so successful. People are drawn to activities that can take their brain into a simpler level of thinking than they use in day to day life and I think that is part of the appeal of these games.
All I know is that after spending way longer than I expected on that game I felt awful. I felt as though I wasted a large chunk of my time that I did not want to spend playing a pointless game with no storyline or anything super interesting about it. I just am not a fan of these kind of games and think that, while they are good at being distractions, I think they can become too much of one at times.
This week I made my return to League of Legends after taking about a month hiatus of playing a variety of other types of games. I came back to it because I missed playing my favorite game and wanted to give it another whirl. I am back on another winning streak, so I felt fulfilled after playing for awhile because it means I still have my skills. I was gald they had not disappeared with my leaving the game for awhile.
I didn’t realize how much anxiety relief the game could be until I played it today. Lately my anxiety problems that flare up every now and then have been getting pretty bad and when I turned on this game and played it for awhile it was really a welcome relief. The combative nature of the game and the instant gratification when you succeed in the game is a really good temporary relief of anxiety. I think it a pretty good outlet for releasing the excess energy that comes from being overly anxious. I will probably head to this game more often now as I try and work out my anxiety issues in the future.
Today I played the game Donkey Konga on the Gamecube to see if I still had the chops that I used to have at playing the bongos to the hits of the early 2000’s. It turns out that I can still bongo with the best of them as I seemed to have perfect muscle memory when I was playing most of the songs. Considering I have not played this game in many years I think that is pretty impressive.
The game consists of a bongo controller (similar to how Guitar Hero had guitar controllers), and you hit the bongos to the beat of an array of dated hits. The game was a favorite of mine as a child, to the point that my sisters and I would argue if someone beat their high score. The fierce competition made me become excellent at the game to the point that I had several of the songs memorized.
Apparently, I still have them down fairly well which either means that the game was super easy all along or it is easy to have muscle memory with a game like that. Ultimately it was fun to have a bit of nostalgia and play a game that brought back so many good memories with my sisters. It was a nice relaxing time and it also felt good to know that I’m still pretty awesome at it. Overall it was a fun game choice that I forgot how awesome the game actually is. It’s a shame the franchise didn’t take off, it really is a hoot
Today I was feeling a tad anxious and antsy so I decided to log on to League of Legends to play a few matches to calm my nerves a bit. I ended up playing for roughly an hour or so and by the end I felt like I was thinking clearly enough to go about the rest of my tasks for the day.
I think that games with a repetitive nature and a competitive edge really help me to clear my head and relax. Being a competitive person, I do not have many occasions as an adult to really compete with others and games like this really give me that outlet. I also just think the repetition and mindless action of the game is relaxing, it lulls your mind into a different mindset.
Having anxiety issues, I always look for ways to manage the symptoms in harmless and non-pharmaceutical means. Games like this tend to help me a lot and I am rather thankful for them. I do not play a variety of games because I am really not a video game type of person, which this class has opened my eyes to. I find one game and I play the crap out of it, which is usually the extent of my video gaming. But it helps me and I think that is all that matters. I may not like gaming as a whole, but video games do help me out when I need them most.
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