The Quests Of Our Existence

For better or worse, I am a person who is fond of role playing games (as well as massively multiplayer online games) as well as the underlying idea that life is an adventure full of quests towards a particular end (both an ultimate end as well as more intermediate ones). Nevertheless, I am not among those who likes to place my love of games in a box without any sort of relevance to the way I live my life in the “real world.” Nor do I consider that the sort of person I am in real life is is irrelevant to the way I play games. Our games are one of the ways that we educate ourselves to handle reality, and our reality strongly influences the way that we play games.

This is not the first time that I have examined this topic, so I would like to at least give some context on how this matter has forcefully introduced itself into my existence. Some time ago I pondered about the philosophical values of different civilizations and their view of what was permitted and what was forbidden [1]. This particular post was taken as a justification of the American behavior of exploiting vulnerabilities within a particular game known as Entropia, expressing frustration at this view from the point of view of less creative populations with less robust imaginations [2]. In this particular case, we have seen the way in which national culture and society effects the way we play games.

Likewise, the way we play games has an effect on our reality as well. Most of the people who know me will know that I am a fairly orderly person with a strong dislike of disorder. I dislike it when I am driving and when other people do not get in the proper lanes and make all the lanes equally slow in order to gain some sort of benefit themselves in being a few cars ahead of the rest of the queue. Likewise, the way I play games is similarly orderly, in that I appreciate the order of most quest chains and the way in which they have a logical progression with certain narrative orderly design. My interest in large scale systems and the larger implications of design and planning and organization is an aspect of my existence that has a large influence on the way I play games (and the sort of games I appreciate) as well as the way I live my life. My appreciation of design and order and my tolerance of lengthy quest chains is a matter of considerable importance in the way I live my life as well.

As a romanticist (and I have no problem admitting such a thing about myself, irrespective of my lack of success to date in romance), I tend to believe in life as a series of adventures. My love of increasing knowledge and skills in my life is not so far removed from a love of leveling a character in a game and developing increased capabilities in a fictional world. The fact that I love to travel to see new lands is also imitated in my love of travel within the fictional world of a game, for the same general reasons of increased cultural understanding and experiences that broaden my worldview and approach. Seeing life as an adventure, where even the search for food can be a quest [3], is a way of keeping life interesting and avoiding boredom, objects of considerable importance to my life given my particular personality and talents.

In the larger sense, though, games are about large-scale quests with large and important issues at stake. What are the quests that drive our existence? I have found for myself that what others take sometimes for granted have been extremely lengthy and challenging quests, including the quest for marriage and family, or the quest for honor and respect and a status and rewards commensurate with my gifts and abilities. These are large quests, quests that often involve a lot of people, have involved a significant amount of time and leveling efforts, as well as a great deal of interesting interaction with other people over the course of my life such far, with no shortage of interaction to come in the future. Perhaps to think in such a way is particularly nerdy and geeky, but that is the way I am, so I suppose I might as well learn to appreciate it and accept it for what it is. Those who share my perspective and my quests are welcome to join my adventuring party.



[3] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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