Ready Player One. I stole the title. It’s a book by Ernest Cline, soon to be a Steven Spielberg blockbuster. Still, I couldn’t think of a video game reference that fit better.
I find myself intrigued by people’s purposes. Their motivations. What makes some people more successful or more happy than others, and how those two things are often have nothing to do with one another. As a sorta-kinda-gamer, I realize that life and the video games I play have a common thread.
There are usually several choices for the difficulty setting on most games. From the hardest settings, where wave after wave of unbeatable enemy comes at you, to the easiest, free play settings where it is almost impossible to die.
I know plenty of people who love the difficulty jacked all the way up. For them, it’s a competition. Perfection, mastery, the most uphill of roads. There is most definitely an allure to beating something impossible.
I play differently. I tend to gravitate toward open world games. I play for the escape into some wondrous new environment. I play because I love the imagination put into fantasy weapons and alien landscapes. I don’t want to get caught up in the minutiae. The only reason I endure the challenges of a new enemy at all are so that I can explore whatever comes after. I prefer to play for the experience and not necessarily the challenge.
And I try to live life like that. Intentionally jacking up the difficulty setting so that I get credit for the victory? That’s something I used to do. Now, I am much more concerned with how much cool stuff I can see while I still have some energy left in my health bar.
Both ways are valid. Which one are you?