The Way We Game: Death and Its Influence on Strategy – PART III

This of course brings us to the play type: The Compulsive Saver.Type3

This type of game play has the most intimate relationship with the character, where you mostly have full control over the characters’ goals and life decisions.  This allows for complete “ownage” of the character (or at least as much ownage as possible with predetermined polygonal graphics).  In this, customization is key to forming the relationship. Whether its character creation, where you can modify skins, garb, and skill sets, or if it is goal setting, where you can choose whichever missions you want, it creates a bond between the player and the game. It gives the illusion the character is in fact part of you, like your own creation or child.

This type of play style is not limited to video games, nor are the other styles previously discussed. Dungeon and Dragons is a key example of this for this type. Creating a character is a very intimate process, as it is the vessel that will carry the player through the gaming experience. These types of games can be very rewarding and provide a sense of personal accomplishment when you achieve something new and great.

Since you care about your character’s reputation (because somehow you think it reflects your reputation – talk about identity crisis), you don’t want to do anything that could affect how you want to be perceived in a negative light. Whether you want be known as bloody thirsty baby slaughterer of Albion or the kind and gentle savior of Windhelm, when it comes to making big decisions in a game, you’re probably going to save so you can go back and change your mind. Or, when you’ve had a bad day at work and really want to take out some homicidal rage on some NPCs and flattening a village to the ground, you save it because you don’t want to have it affect your character’s life.

But it doesn’t end there. Once that axe looms over your neck in either scenario, it really affects how you play this game type. Even though you care about your reputation, you also care about your character’s life (because obviously you don’t want the reputation of “dead guy”). When you’re crawling through a dungeon that’s a higher level than you are, destined for certain death, you save every screen load to ensure that your progress isn’t set too far back or to make sure you use as little health potions as possible. When your party is faced with a dangerous route where your character alone is destined to parish, you’re going to campaign for the other path. Unlike the other game types, you are not going to seriously go on a campaign of homicidal rage and face the consequences unless you’re pretty much done with the game. Preservation of your character’s life is the most important aspect as life itself is needed for completion of the game.

What game type is your favorite?
The Detached Bystander, the Tactical Martyr, or the Compulsive Saver?

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