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Today's question was submitted by

p55carroll
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What's "story" got to do with it?
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Of all the kinds of gaming there are, is video gaming your favorite? If not, what would you rank above it? And in any case, what do you get from video gaming that you don't get from other kinds of games?

Thanks for your submission, Patrick!
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Jennifer Hanses
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What makes video games different from other games?

Immersion. The ability to literally be another person and see and hear those differences.

What kind of gaming do I like best?

Not sure. They're all fairly different, but I might pick board gaming for the higher degree of socializing. I'm an introvert, so I mainly socialize over my hobbies, and I do like to see people to a small degree. Having a game to focus on provides opportunities for many jumping off topics and jokes, but also means that I can refocus on the game at pretty much any time and do not have to take part in meaningless small talk.

I do also role play, which gives me the socialization aspect, but if I'm being a good player, I should be waiting my turn and not constantly interrupting other people trying to be in character, so it's not the same, and it lacks the visual cues of video games. But there's also way more flexibility in terms of story and problem solving. I have been known to make a McGuffin out of a glove or otherwise give opponents what they thought they wanted. Though I often end up as Storyteller and enjoy that position since letting the players get bitten on the butt by their own actions seems to be as much fun for them as it is for me.
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Evan Hill
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Video games because they are a complete package. Board Games can capture my imagination more than a video game, I think they might require it. They can also stimulate me intellectually just as well as a video game. What they dont have is real time stimulation or sound, both greatly contribute to my immersion. Board Games can be immersive too though, so I guess its more based on sensory input rather than imagination. It can feel very convincing. For instance when I am at great heights and on a ledge I can feel my feet tingling strongly, its happened as long as I can remember, video games will give me that tingling in my feet when I almost fall off a ledge in more serious games.
Video games can be board games too, so they cover that end almost as well.

I didnt include sports as gaming, I guess in a general sense it is gaming... If it was included I would go with sports, there is an exhilaration in physical competition I have never found anywhere else. Theres also a meditative quality to it I find fulfilling. Overall though sports and video games feel like they scratch different itches.
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Music and sound fx are the 2 big ones from vg. Some of them are just iconic. As part of my music interests, I dig vg music just as much as other genres... pop, classical, R&B, and soundtracks.
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Simon Lundström
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Currently: No.
Sometimes: Yes.

Currently, I'm trying to delve into adventure board games again, and played 7th continent a bit back. There's something about moving pawns on a board, rolling dice and drawing cards that makes it more immersive and more fantastical than when I interact with a screen.

Now, "board games" are as wide as "video games", so I'd like to specify here that in all gaming, I'm aiming at some kind of narrative and slightly surprising outcomes. So I'm not talking about "trying to gather most VP" board games, which I've largely abandoned, and only play when in the right company; I'm talking about board games that features adventuring in an unknown world and exploring around.

I would say that a well-made board game might prove the superiour entertainment, and currently it feels like that, but it's a thin line – few board games give the right sense. 7th continent comes close.

On a second note, well-GM:ed role playing games. It's still the story, the narrative, and the exploring adventure, with the caveat that the GM usually hasn't prepared everything, and thus you're pretty limited to what you do anyway.

Video games are fantastic in this aspect, but I've played so much these last years, that it's starting to get a bit old. I love to delve down in one, though, but in the end, having company is always nice.

Company. Now it suddenly struck me. How wonderful Dragon Age: Origins could be as a 4-player coop!
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Luke Stirling
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Zimeon wrote:
Currently: No.
Sometimes: Yes.

This.

For me, the triad of video games, TTRPGs, and board games are all some part of my free time pretty much all the time, but in varying degrees. At the moment I struggle to play video games for very long, as other types of gaming are vying for more of my attention at the moment. But the ebb and flow of my interests will shift back to playing video games sooner or later. Other forms of gaming are very much dependent on other people though. The one thing video games offers me is a complete experience that is not dependent on other people's schedules or a particular group of people clicking or not.
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p55carroll
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What's "story" got to do with it?
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MeteorBear wrote:
I didnt include sports as gaming, I guess in a general sense it is gaming...

I'd say it counts. All kinds of games count (maybe even sex play, though that might make everyone above want to change their answer). Whatever you think of as a game, it counts.

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Jason W
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I rank board gaming over video gaming. Sports probably over both of them, but I rarely play sports.

What I like about video gaming:
-Flexibility. I don't have to count on anyone else to play, just my own self and motivation.
-Music. Great music can elevate a game to great heights, poor music can ruin the mood. mb
-Excitement. Especially multiplayer, where anything can happen and the matches change each time.
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Geoffrey Burrell
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Its a tie for me! I love video games just as much as board gaming! I try to balance out the time that I play in each.
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Brian M
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Board/tabletop games are my favorite, then RPGs, then video games.

But lots of video games can be fun...I don't know that there's any defining "thing" I like best about video games. Real-time action is fun, but I also like some turn based games. Being able to play solo is good, but many board games play well solo - and I don't tend to have much solo time.

Video games do, however, play well while riding the exercise bike in front of the TV. No other type of game does that.
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I prefer pen and paper RPGs because they give you more freedom to do what you want and you are creating the story, but that generally requires getting a bunch of people together with schedules and what not.

I guess I don't prefer one or the other on board games vs video games in general, but it more depends on if I need a break from screens or if I am just being lazy and don't feel like setting the thing up and dealing with rules.

Video games are easier to just pick them up and play when you have a bit of free time usually. Also a lot of them have really great soundtracks - very few board games have music, and for RPGs, music if any is usually chosen by the GM.
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p55carroll
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What's "story" got to do with it?
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"Drizzle, drazzle, drozzle, drome; time for this one to come home."
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(For the tl;dr version, see the bold below.)


My favorite kind of game is chess. But chess can be very hard, and it's "samey," and there's no randomizer (dice, RNG, or whatever), and I've always hated that it takes two people to play.

So if chess is greatly expanded and elaborated until it becomes something like Civilization (or, better yet, Age of Wonders III), that's perfect for me! Then I can play it by myself (or with others if I want to, but I almost never do), set the difficulty to my liking, deal with the RNG, and enjoy the vicarious experience of leading a whole civilization all through world history and doing all the cool stuff that comes with that. The size and complexity of the game, combined with the randomness, ensure that no two games are ever the same, so I get plenty of variety too.

But it pretty much takes a computer to play such a game. Yeah, there are some board-game parallels, like Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game. But they're always less convenient to set up and play, and they almost require other players at the table. I value my time, and I don't want to hassle with getting other people to play a game with me. I've played some good solo board games (e.g., Magic Realm and Mage Knight Board Game), and I'd go back to them if I didn't have a PC to play games on. But setting up the game on a table is time-consuming and not rewarding to me. It's a little like formally setting the table when you're going to dine alone; why bother?

So, a specific kind of video gaming--single-player TBS--is my favorite kind of gaming. The rest of video gaming I could do without. I'll dabble at it, but it'll never be my main thing. Some of it I don't even want to dabble at.

I could almost see myself as a board gamer who plays games on the PC most of the time. But that's not quite true, because games like Civilization were designed for the PC and have to be drastically modified (and usually greatly simplified) to work as board games. Even Master of Orion would be tough to do as a board game. The games I like are just a little too complex to play comfortably on the tabletop. And if there are no robot opponents at the table, that's a deal-breaker for me anyway.

I can, however, get into playing chess (or any good board game) on the PC against AI opponents. I do play backgammon and other such games on my phone most every day.

* * *
As to tabletop RPGs, I've never played one. I've owned and read the rules for some, and at times I thought about trying it, but my social circumstances were never right for it, and my interest wasn't that strong.

As to sports, I basically hate 'em. At least that's what I've said all my life. I'm thinking of team sports especially. When I was younger, I sometimes tried to figure out what others saw in sports, but I never quite got it. I played the games, sometimes by choice and sometimes because I had to (in school), but the only sports I ever liked were individual sports like hiking, biking, skiing, kayaking, and so forth. Most of the time, I'm a non-physical person, and I dislike having to arrange activities with other people.


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Krzysztof Zięba
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Video gaming isn't my favorite, even if I end up doing the most of it.

My favorite is tabletop roleplaying. I like it because it's pure escapism, and provides players with much more freedom than any video game ever can.

But roleplaying is hard to organise and, more often than not, emotionally and mentally taxing for me as the GM. So while it has a special place in my heart and I think it offers the kind of creative and personal potential that board games and video games can only aspire to, I often default to one of those other types of gaming for my entertainment.

One of these has been my primary way of spending free time at least for 15 or so years now, and RPGs have historically gotten the short end of the stick more often that board games (which are easier to get people interested in) or video games (which are almost always available in one capacity or another).
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Alex
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I like games. But which category of games varies with context and how I feel that day, and it’s hard to make a generalization. Lately I probably desire to play video games than other kinds of games, but I could easily imagine circumstances where that wouldn’t hold. Once my children get older and I can better schedule my time, or if I moved back to where my boardgaming/ RPGing friends live, it would change.

The things I like about video games relative to other games are:
1) No other people are required. So there’s no scheduling challenges, and no risk of interpersonal complications. I can pick it up and put it down whenever I want.
2) Video games aren’t competitive (at least the ones I play), and are more relaxing (to me) as a result.
3) Video games can operate at higher levels of complexity or depth, since there’s no reliance on a group of human beings understanding and implementing what’s going on. Relatedly, video games can provide larger, more robust worlds and systems to explore.
4) Video games can have hidden information in ways that are difficult for board games or, to a lesser extent, RPGs to provide, just given the scope at which video games can operate.
5) Video games involve a kind of game playing that I enjoy that can’t be emulated by board games or RPGs. I can’t save my game and try different dialogue choices in a pen-and-paper RPG. I can’t re-roll my character and start a campaign again if I’m not thrilled with how the first hour or two went. And there’s no way to have an FPS or platformer or metroidvania anywhere but in a video game.

Items 1 and 3 on this list are probably the ones that mean the most to me (3 especially). I could make similar lists on the advantages of RPGs and boardgames, but this is just what I find compelling about video games.
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p55carroll
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I have to say, I'm already surprised by how many negative responses there are to the first question. Maybe I should have known better, but I assumed video gaming was the main hobby for most everybody in VGG. Clearly it's not (even if, for some, it becomes their main hobby at various times).

I'm beginning to believe ubiquity and convenience are the main appeals to video gaming, and that most people would be doing some other kind of gaming if they could freely choose all the circumstances of their life.
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For me, pen-and-paper RPGs are my first love, then video games, then board games.

I like how video games take care of so many things I'd otherwise have to deal with in board games - enemy AI, complex skill trees, keeping track of scoring or other tedious bits of data.

My earliest video games were played because I didn't have an RPG group at the time to play with, so they were a way I could play RPGs on my own, which was amazing to me. I love how the worlds can really come to life in video games, particularly when exploring large areas.
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For me the two main types of gaming are videogaming and boardgaming.

As a teenager I spent a fair amount of time doing tabletop/miniatures gaming with friends, but don't really miss it and don't see it as a part of my life.

In college, I dabbled a little bit in D&D (although I played it a few times going back way further than that), but I also don't miss pen-and-paper RPGs and don't see them as a part of my life.

Videogaming and boardgaming appeal to me for different reasons.

With boardgaming, I was fortunate, and I mean incredibly fortunate, to land in a place and time in my mid-20s where I could spend 12+ hours every week delving into complex eurogames with folks who were friendly, sharp, focused, mostly patient teachers and generally good sports. I racked up dozens of plays of games I really loved. I also absorbed rule-sets for well over 300 games in just a few years. I reached certain gaming heights that seem very improbable to me in retrospect. For instance, in the span of three years, I played Twilight Struggle (which can take 3 hours or longer) about 80 times, along the way teaching it to about 10 different people.

But with boardgaming, the in-person culture drives a lot of what happens. There was a powerful tide pulling me into brand new games, endlessly learning rules, and increasingly aware that it would be a struggle to explore the ones I truly enjoyed, and sometimes feeling like it was a hollow courtesy for me to learn a game I didn't see a lot of promise in. On top of that, while I knew a lot of great guys (and a few girls), at the margins of game-gatherings you have to contend with people who never seem to get a clue about simple etiquette.

Through the lens of boardgaming, videogames can be very irritating. Boardgames thrive on design - even a heavily "thematic" game can't really exist except through design that brings that theme to life. Videogames put a MUCH lower emphasis on good design, and a MUCH higher emphasis on presentation - and let's face it, the most sophisticated human drama in games is often a complete joke compared to what you kind find in other media.

But, at some point, my life changed enough that boardgaming became a lot more work to arrange and sustain. Videogames offer the allure of control - I alone am deciding if my free-time will be spent on a videogame.

And there are brilliant videogames. It's harder to find them, but there's no barrier at all when it comes to looking. They are fun to discuss with other long-time gamers - here certainly more than anywhere else.
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jdw734 wrote:
I rank board gaming over video gaming. Sports probably over both of them, but I rarely play sports.

What I like about video gaming:
-Flexibility. I don't have to count on anyone else to play, just my own self and motivation.
-Music. Great music can elevate a game to great heights, poor music can ruin the mood. mb
-Excitement. Especially multiplayer, where anything can happen and the matches change each time.
I'm going to follow Jason. Sports would be number one, although I only wish I played. Boardgames second, and I wish I could get some friends together to play. And videogaming third. Maybe I'll put cryptic crosswords in there somewhere too.
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Luke Stirling
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
I have to say, I'm already surprised by how many negative responses there are to the first question. Maybe I should have known better, but I assumed video gaming was the main hobby for most everybody in VGG. Clearly it's not (even if, for some, it becomes their main hobby at various times).

I'm beginning to believe ubiquity and convenience are the main appeals to video gaming, and that most people would be doing some other kind of gaming if they could freely choose all the circumstances of their life.

For me, gaming is not just one more thing I do, but it's also my main mode of casual social interaction. If video games took primacy at all times, then I'd be a very lonely fellow (or even moreso than I am now whistle).

I assume that for anyone who puts video games first at all times either plays online most of the time or else has some other non-gaming mode of social interaction.
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p55carroll
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What's "story" got to do with it?
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paralipsis wrote:
I assume that for anyone who puts video games first at all times either plays online most of the time or else has some other non-gaming mode of social interaction.

Then maybe we've both made questionable assumptions.

In some phases of my life, I've lived about as much like a hermit as one can in an urban or suburban area. Even my current lifestyle isn't too far from that.

Up to my mid-twenties or so, I hung out with friends--partied and did stuff--but not as much, I don't think, as they hung out with each other. I was the quiet one sort of tagging along with the group, not fully part of it. I probably had more social interaction in school than anywhere else.

Since then, my main social venue has been the workplace. I'll chat with coworkers and sometimes meet them for meals or special events or whatever. But I decline more invitations than I accept, and I spend a lot of time in solitude.

I've been married for thirty-odd years, so there's that. It has kept loneliness from ever being the problem for me that it was before the mid-1980s. But aside from coworkers, my wife is about the only person I interact with IRL.

In short, I don't have a social life. And I don't especially want one, because I value my solitude. And single-player gaming is one of the things I enjoy most during all my time alone.

If it weren't for my wife and coworkers, though, I'd feel compelled to find a gaming group or some group to join. Otherwise loneliness would drive me crazy.

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Robert McLaughlin
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Kind of a tie, but as I actually get to play videogames it would edge out in front. Videogames appeal to the part of me that wants immersion. Boardgames are about the methodical and social aspects.
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Simon Lundström
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
I have to say, I'm already surprised by how many negative responses there are to the first question. Maybe I should have known better, but I assumed video gaming was the main hobby for most everybody in VGG.


Had this question come in February, I'd have answered yes. But everything goes in waves, and currently, I find my mind is mostly wandering around "how would a board game do this kind of thing?" and "Hmm… a Dragon Age RPG?" and "I'd like to finish my RPG idea".

Adventure board game and roleplaying games take so much time to do, so they become more special. If I played RPGs and video games an equal amount of time, my reply might be different.
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What do I like about video games?

I can play them by myself and the game (not players) keeps track of things like preventing rules violations and maintaining the gamestate.

I like board games for the social aspect, but that is also their downfall. In that I have to try and set up a game night with people which is so much effort that I'm not sure it is worth it. Or I have to go to a board game shop and play whatever the new hotness is that somebody bought the night before and vaguely understands how to play.
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Simon Lundström
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Ah yes, what I get from video games that I don't get from other kinds of games:

Gaming in solitude

Somtimes, I just want to waste time and forget everything else, everyone else and just fall down into another world. Board games and RPGs can't really do that. Video games can.
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p55carroll
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Zimeon wrote:
Gaming in solitude
Sometimes, I just want to waste time and forget everything else, everyone else and just fall down into another world.

I might value gaming in solitude more (or more often) than anybody, but for me it's never to waste time. I can't say that even in jest. I'm exercising my mind, learning strategy and tactics, developing discipline, or doing something useful and important every time I sit by myself and play a game for a couple hours or more. Because that would be too much time to just waste. I have to justify it to myself somehow. I have to believe I might be a better person after the gaming session than I was before. I have to believe I'm actually accomplishing something. Maybe I'm not really conquering the galaxy or saving a town from a dragon's attack, but I'm engaged in something worthwhile--brushing up my reasoning power maybe, or exercising my imagination.

What I do in solitude is to improve what I do when I'm not in solitude.

Or at least that's what I like to tell myself.
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