I am addicted to you

I actually wanted to write this blog about a new experience with video games due to a couple of reasons. First, the course will focus on video games for the next weeks and having played video games before might be helpful. Second, I would like to experience the aesthetic elements, especially the social component and see how social interactions differ or if they even differ from interactions in the real world. Lastly, I am always happy to experience something new. Nonetheless I could not install the video game, therefore I will try my luck next week!

However, I was able to install a game on my phone called Tennis Clash.

The screen shows two players on a tennis court; your character and the opponent. The opponents are other people who play in real time against you. In order to hit the ball in a certain direction you just have to swipe towards that direction. The match is over, when you get 7 points and if you win with a difference of 2 points. The matches require an entry fee of a specific amount of gold coins. In case you win, you get twice as much back and a tour bag. The game also rewards you every 1 hour with a free bag and every 3 hours with a tour bag. These bags consist of gold coins and cards that strengthen your character abilities in terms of agility, stamina, forehand strength and so on. The more you win the more money you get, and thereby you are able to upgrade your character. There are many leagues, so that you are able to work your way up.

According to Hunicke et al (2004), a fun game should consist of some aesthetic components, such as sensation, fantasy, narrative game as drama, challenge, fellowship, discovery, expression etc.

In comparison to flappy bird, that I described in my last blog, Tennis Clash has definitely much more aesthetic components. However, I still miss the social component. I do play against other players and compete against others in leagues, but besides that, no social interaction occurred. I hope to find that component, when I am going to play a video game next week. Nonetheless, I felt Tennis Clash did not just have the social component, it even takes away the social component in real life if you are not careful. By this I mean I spend so much time playing this game that my friend, who I visited in this time got very annoyed and angry about it. Every time he went to the toilet, I immediately craped my phone to play that game. Even when he returned, I kept playing to finish the started match. I went to the toilet and stayed excessively longer than I used to do it… just because of that game. I realized that is definitely not normal and not healthy. I don’t want to risk a friendship just because of such a game. As a result, I deleted it immediately and having the complete focus on a friend is much more fulfilling than this game.

The only thing that scared me; how easily a game can take the control over you. For example, I was writing this blog and in order to get the correct description about the game, I downloaded the game again… I opened the app… and as if this was the trigger, I started playing. The incredibly intense pleasure makes it almost possible to stop playing.  Even more shocking is, that I wrote a paragraph and I read it a couple of times through it, until I realized I described a gambling situation:

“If I lose, I keep playing to get the lost gold coins back. I want to end with a win. Now I have won 3 times in a row, I keep plying because now I am in a flow. I find always reasons to keep playing.”

This game and angry birds have both completely different aesthetic elements. More precisely Angry Birds almost has no aesthetic elements, but still both games have the same effect; they make me addicted. They both have one shared element that made it very difficult for me to stop playing; an unpredictable reward element.

In Angry Birds I feel rewarded, when passing my high score. Passing my high score does not occur after a specific amount of tries nor after a specific time period, thus it makes it very unpredictable, when getting the reward.

In Tennis Clash I feel rewarded, when winning against an opponent and gaining the related prizes. However, I never know if I will play against a higher ranked or lower ranked player until the game has matched me with the player. I basically pay in advance my gold coins without knowing whether I get them back or if I will double the gold coins. Therefore, I never can predict my rewards.

If you lose the control and you get addicted to it, it can be unhealthy, like in my scenario with my friend. In china for instance, they even restricted gaming. It is all about the question of how much. 10 min or 20 min of gaming each day is not problematic, 3 or 4 hours of gaming each day might be problematic.

I personally think playing games is not a bad thing as long as you have the control.

I will start next week with playing a video game, in order to see how much pleasure, and how much social interactions a video game might provide and whether I would consider it afterwards at my hobby.  

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