Playing Games Is Better with Friends

I can enjoy a good single player game as much as the next gamer. In fact, being by myself can sometimes be cathartic. But only sometimes.

Hotacularity! Having an added interactive personality or two to spice up the time you spend with your favorite pixels? Why, who could resist? Friends, and people in general, make gaming multidimensional. They point out things you may have missed, spend joyous hours entertaining you, share the journey of your characters from one point to another, and make you feel like not so much of a geeky gamer freak because hey – you’ve got friends who play too, so spending twenty hours a week or more on an activity atypical to most people in society isn’t quite so lonely an affair.

My personal favorite? Arnold Schwarzenegger impressions during PvP combat.

Playing video games with your friends has been revolutionized by the widespread use and acceptance of the Internet. Nowadays getting everyone together for a game or two can be a whole lot more frequent than once every one to two or more weeks, depending on lifestyle.

I can’t tell you how glad I am for that fact. I see my friends congregated for an evening once every four months. What a lonely gaming life that would be if connectivity weren’t so readily available.

Friends bring so much to the table, all of which is based on their own personality.

You may have a strategist who thinks up imaginative plans to defeat a boss or event, a jack of all trades who can supply you with necessary information on that secondary profession you’ve always hated and couldn’t stand to level, the organizer who plans dungeon crawls and leads everyone through, or a joker that will always manage to get a laugh or two. Perhaps you’ve got all types.

Or maybe you’ve formed a dynamic duo. Here’s my tribute to you – so activate those wonder twin powers. Pairs in games create well oiled and much more easily mobile machines.

Friends are there to share the good times where you reach the maximum level, the bad times when the boss refuses to drop your shiny new armor, and the worst times when the Game Masters accidentally turn your toon into a boy. Yech.

She got hit by a CAR. And sometimes you’ll find that it’s not just friends who lend amusement and more enjoyment to a game, but also any random players you may meet in persistent worlds or the game chatrooms.

I will never forget the day I walked into the great foyer of a game’s hardest instance with a raid ready to tear apart the most difficult boss, to be greeted by a group of individuals reciting poetry.

Yeah, I have no idea either.

While I do enjoy NPCs being totally off their rockers and bickering incessantly with my character as in many RPGs, real humans add the elements of surprise and change.

I certainly have my share of anecdotes and very fond memories. Don’t you? If you do, don’t hesitate to share them with us below.

Can Video Games Be Considered Toys?

A thing you can play with. Is that automatically a toy?

This is the thing we’re trying to answer in today’s article where we’re debating an interesting subject suggested by our readers: are video games toys?

Interestingly, many people consider video games toys. Just because you can “play games” and you can “play with toys”. But there’s equally more people who consider video games something else than toys.

Even Best Buy seems to have conflicting beliefs. According to a report from the Consumerist, when one Best Buy customer tried to use a coupon that was intended for the purchase of toys to buy some video games, he was not allowed. However, the company lists video games under the “Games & Toys” category on their website…

So how is it, in the end? Can we consider video games part of the toys category or vice-versa?

For those who consider games part of the toys category, there are a few arguments that we’re listing below:

– the term “toys” is extremely vague nowadays and it basically refers to a means of playing a game. The actual game itself can be considered a toy since we’re talking about physical products (consoles, discs for the games – even though these are starting to lose popularity).

Those who consider video games to be more – or at least something else than toys – have, among others, these valid reasons:

– Video games let you play. They are not toys, as other games like hide an seek and so on can’t be considered toys, even though you do play these!

– Toys are simple tools. In order to turn them into something entertaining, you need to use your imagination or operate them somehow. The toy – the physical object – doesn’t mean much without the human component, but it’s still easy to identify it as one. Toys are obvious.

– Toys rarely come with goals. Some have pointers, some have obvious goals, but most toys don’t have goals like video games do. Go there, achieve that, level up your character, follow this route.

I personally believe that considering video games toys is wrong. Video games and toys are very different. Even though they sometimes meet the same requirements and seem to provide for the same values or needs, they are still extremely different.

Video games are media, in the end. They offer entertainment, more like TV does – but to a greater level of interaction.

What do you think about this, though? Should we consider video games toys or not?