Frequently, we hear conversation about how much of their lives people inject into games. Parents worry when little Johnny doesn't want to go outside, but would rather stay in by himself and play a game. Family and friends worry when they don't hear from their child/sibling/parent who was last seen wandering the plains of Azeroth. A newspaper gets wind of someone who has made themselves sick - or worse - playing too long at some game.
And while these cases are the extreme, they are extreme versions of similar feelings anyone into games has felt. I occasionally worry about myself when my workday is too frequently punctuated with thoughts pondering new ingredient combinations for Dragon Quest's Alchemy Pot. I'm sure you have your own version. What's the common theme here? That we are obsessing, thinking, pondering over the things we can do in the game world to progress, to enjoy, to learn. There is no other type of entertainment that allows so much control over our experience - is it any wonder that people become so involved?
Because the human input into the entertainment experience is the novel half of games' fun equation, it often garners the most attention. The part where games reach out and touch our lives is so often ignored. Perhaps it's that the line between what we do in games and what games share with us is so vague. But those things are present ... what are they?
It is this question that has brought up today's issue of The Escapist: How do games affect our real lives? From bringing us into a loving relationship after years of no luck in the real world, to helping us learn to survive and use military equipment, games have become important, not just to our entertainment needs, but throughout our daily lives. Find out more in this week's issue of The Escapist, "Through the Looking Glass."