I love storming into a room and killing clusters of variously dressed bad people with a really big shotgun as much as the next gamer, but there is a little appreciated skill that I love much more. There are many people who consider themselves gamers and yet will ignore the story, even ignore side quests, just so that they can say they completed something. Being a proper gamer requires patience, enough of a love of just the action of playing games that hours can be spent trying to position a squidgy daedra heart on a plate on a shelf. But even rarer than finding this, is finding a person who can play a game with the allure of guns and get involved in the role-play.
It is not a difficult thing to do in an Elder Scrolls game. Not taking any transport, not fast travelling, and not using quest markers, along with a suitable name, transports you to a world you can’t help but get absorbed in. I find it sad however that most people don’t seem to do the same in shooting games. A lot of people who play Hitman don’t even sneak through levels; they shoot their way through without ever considering that the aim is to not be seen.
The art of any gaming experience is the same as a good book. It is a world to be immersed in, the opportunity to forget who you are and become someone else. When you play through Hitman, you are agent 47. You wouldn’t just walk around shooting people; you would have the constant intention of killing only your target. You would walk slowly, take your time and if possible make the death of the target an accident. When you’re playing GTA IV and you are walking around you are Niko. You wouldn’t shoot just anyone simply because you have a gun.
I’m not talking about always playing in such a serious manner. As I said before, I do appreciate the fun of shooting people for not cowering enough, or cowering too much, or walking in my way. My point is that when you play like this all the time you are missing the point of the game, you are missing an entire section that you were intended to experience and never meeting the character whose story you are discovering.
Games are an art and should be appreciated as such. Role-play is not just a genre; it is a thought process that should be applied to any game played even if only applied once. And not appreciating this aspect of games prevents you from ever being an actual gamer, because the appreciation of a game in its entirety, along with the ability to play games other than those released in the previous year, is the entire point.
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