I don’t play many games. I like the social atmosphere that springs up around board games like Settlers of Catan. Actually playing them, though, is my least favorite part. I don’t thrive on competition. I don’t enjoy trying to beat another player, or racing the clock, and I’d rather not have to fight anything. It doesn’t take long before I’m willing to make ridiculous trades just to get out of playing the game. I’ll give you one ore for two ore, okay?
I’ll admit that I do play games on my phone. Candy Crush is my constant waiting room companion, and I checked on my Neko Atsume – Kitty Collector cats obsessively through the winter. But many of my friends play games with purpose – the way I might sit down to read a book or watch a new episode of a TV show.
Somehow, though, I found myself lying in bed on Saturday evening, guiding a little band of refugees across beautiful, lonely fields of crystalline asteroids in Kiwanuka. At my request, my followers clambered onto one another’s shoulders, and hung on tight as I tipped them one way or another to make bridges.
I showed the game to Brad and he played with me through what turned out to be the last of 30 (!) levels. He looked at me and said, “You like these puzzle games, don’t you?”
Yeah, I guess I must, because soon I’d moved on to Monument Valley. I’m going to have to show you in pictures. It was more delightful than I can express in words, and I don’t want to ruin it for you if you decide to play it.
Playing these games felt indulgent, like I was “wasting” my time in these little made-up worlds. More than reading books, even though the books I read are usually also made-up. More so even than watching TV, because I’m usually also engaged with the real world – knitting, cooking, or cleaning.
At the same time, I felt challenged and satisfied by the puzzles, and delighted by the visual beauty of the games.
Do you play games? What do you like or dislike in a game? What are your favorites?