Your Couch and a Controller
You play video games to have fun. But why do you put up with work in video games?
By work, I mean actions you do for a living or as household chores. By contrast, hobbies are something you do after work for fun. For most people, they may race or play sports as a hobby.
Lots of games let you race, shoot, fly and jump, but Animal Crossing somewhat blurs the line between hobbies and work. I mean you could work as landscaper by day. Then you could come home and relax as you pull weeds and plant flowers in that game.
I mean, one can pull weeds and plant flowers in life for relaxation. Or they could try one of the many other video games out there.
My friend got me thinking about Animal Crossing, so blame him. The other day he told me about his GameCube. Yes, he is a little behind the times. Anyway, he praised Animal Crossing and loved to plant and fish in that game.
I had to interrupt him.
“What’s so fun about that game?”
He paused, furrowed his brow, and gave me a quizzical stare.
Then he said, “You mean about doing work in video games? I don’t know why, but I love to fish and do errands in Animal Crossing.”
I’m still not satisfied with his answer.
Video Game Work: Three Silly Theories
So, I’ve come up with some silly reasons why gamers might like to do work in video games.
1. Work is always fun in a fantasy world. Just think of what you do in Animal Crossing. “Sure, Mr. anthropomorphic Cat with a corncob pipe, I’ll help take out your trash.”
2. People are so bored out of their minds that they’ll play anything. Hopscotch and solitaire aren’t cutting it anymore.
3. People like to run errands from their couch. I suppose a comfy couch with enough pillows to break an elephant’s fall is hard to resist.
A Revolution or Never-ending Work?
There is a spectre haunting all video games: it is work. Gamers of the world must decide tonight. We must lop off the head of work with an iron sickle or revel in digital chores.
Oh, wait, my virtual sink’s full, and I like my dishes sparkling clean. See you later.
Why is it so much fun to do work or chores in games?
6 responses to “The Smart Way to Work?”
Maybe it depends on how you define work? Also mundane repetitive tasks can be relaxing, that’s why solitaire has lasted as long as it has. Sometimes having a small specific task and doing it over and over again is about all my brain can handle, especially if there is something weighing on my mind or I’ve had a particularly busy day. Do I want to work in games all the time? No. But every once in a while it’s exactly what I need.
Good point! I added a definition of work to the post. I agree that mundane tasks can be relaxing in games and don’t think we should banish them.
Animal Crossing remains strange to me, though. You can run around that game and pull as many weeds as you want. It’s ironic that someone could pull weeds and plant flowers in a game but hate doing that outside.
Also, I laugh whenever I think of this droll image. A landscaper comes home after a long day making a garden. Imagine she plays Animal Crossing to relax, and she repeats the same tasks she did at work. They’re so many mundane tasks you could do to relax instead, like planting your own garden, and you could do them in real life.
By the way, I like Animal Crossing. I’m not attacking it or the people who like it. I just found some humour in its appeal.
Thank you for your comment! I appreciate it because it got me thinking more. It’s nice to not talk to yourself on a blog.
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I agree, it is nice not talking to yourself. As to your landscaper…I can only point to my own experience and say that as a professional writer, I am almost always writing, including when I not “working” per se. I think the difference here is a vocation versus a job. If your work is your vocation and therefore who you are (the way writing is for me or presumably gardening is for some landscapers) then “working” is something you truly enjoy and do it even when you are “playing” or “relaxing”. On the other hand if your job is just something you do to pay the bills, then you probably don’t do those activities except when you have to and certainly not when you are not “at work” and getting paid for it. Certainly, this is a simplistic definition of the difference between a job and a vocation but maybe it applies to the Animal Crossing or similar contest?
Hmmm interesting… You’re right to distinguish between a vocation – one’s calling in life and “who you are” – and a job you do to pay the bills. And someone could love gardening enough to do it both as a vocation as well as to relax at home. But why would the landscaper plant things in a video game like Animal Crossing when they could go into their backyard to garden and relax? They love it so much and here they are settling for a digital substitute. Oh well, maybe it was raining outside and they like the cuddly creatures? 🙂
Yeah or just wanted to do something a little different? Or it’s just before bed and they are quite sleepy yet…there are lots of reasons someone might do something virtually rather than IRL. Of course, that doesn’t explain why someone whose vocation wasn’t gardening would want to pull virtual weeds….
Haha let’s stop before my head starts to spin.