The REALness of Video Games

TL:DR | Videogames are a medium for entertainment, but they can be so much more. They are adventures, exploration incarnate, and the REALness of connections with people.


3 min read
The REALness of Video Games

This journal entry is because I found myself getting anxious playing a video game (Apex). The strange part is .... that it is a good thing! Let me explain.

In recent months I played Octopath Traveler, which is a decently hard game at times. Other times a bit easy, but at the end there is a sheer increase in challenge. The final boss is secret, and on top of that makes you go through hoops to get to it. You do about 3 side quests that come together, THEN you go through a boss rush (all of the bosses in a row), and only THEN can you face the final boss. Oh and let me state that he has TWO forms, so two battles which means you use your entire group of people for it. Not to mention he has double the health of all other bosses in the first form alone.

Why did I share that bit in this public journal? Well it is because it is a hard challenge, one that I haven't beaten yet sadly. In fact I am a little annoyed that I haven't, but what is important is that I tried a few times. When you get to the final boss finally you have spent the last 30-40 minutes fighting all of the other bosses. Even if you speed through them it is still a lot. You're riled up, and the boss can do basically almost one shot kills on you.

It is a stressful experience, and you start to really get into it. I started sweating even which I never do when gaming personally.

I could feel my fight or flight response kicking in.


The Adrenaline

This is probably why a lot of people play more generic shooters, they're more linear in the skill level (not to say that it is easy to get top tier though). Which means it is more common for people to get really good at the game, and the challenge of playing against others who are your level can get exciting

Like riding a roller coaster.

I had the same experience with Apex Legends, where I was the only one left on my team alive. I had to fend off the opposing team all by myself, and it doesn't always work. However you certainly try hard to do it.

I melted one guy, cracked another, and by the time I reload the third guy gets me.

It is an exciting thrill, and honestly one that is probably keeping me behind the curve. I'm sure that the more skilled players than me keep their cool better in those situations. It is just one of those things that you start to get calculative about rather than excited.


The Story

I'm not much of a crier, and I rarely shed a tear for anything let alone a fake character in media. While I may have shed a tear a couple times for a movie character in my life, there have been maybe a dozen times for a video game character. So why the disparity?

Well to be honest video games are a MUCH more immersive media than movies or books can EVER be.

I wish I could get people to understand this. It is far more different to be ACTING in the story, and being a part of the action. Rather then passively watching or reading it. I think reading is perhaps slightly more immersive than movies even because you get imaginative.

When you're playing through the space opera-like Mass Effect Series, or the vast story of the Legend of Dragoon, or the warm hearted adventure that is the Megaman Legends series. They all hit you to your core in some way, impart a bit of them onto you, and when someone dies or something terrible happens you feel it.

You feel it like it was someone you know in REAL life, as to you they WERE REAL.

A particular character in my main playthrough of Mass Effect 2, I hadn't done his loyalty mission. So at the end of the game he ended up dying because of my actions as the player, RIP Legion.


Videogames are a medium for entertainment, but they can be so much more. They are adventures, exploration incarnate, and the REALness of connections with people.

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