The Most Dangerous Question to Ask Yourself When Playing a Game

The Most Dangerous Question to Ask Yourself When Playing a Game

The most dangerous question you can ever ask yourself when playing a game is...

"Why am I doing this?"

I've lost track of how many games I've dropped simply because I came to some sort of realization about the "why."

The "why" is a huge part for me.

Why am I leveling?

Why am I going after this loot?

Why do I plant these crops and water them every few hours?

Why do I decorate my house?

Whenever I ask myself why I'm doing something, if the game isn't giving me a really good reason to keep doing it then I'll probably stop. That's dangerous when that thing I'm doing happens to be the main reason I'm playing.

For example, in my farming game called "Farm Together" there's a lot of chore work. I played that game every day for a month. I planted crops, flowers, decorated my farm and house, did all the in-game chores for the gems, etc. I just kept doing it because that's how the game is played. After a while, I asked myself, "Why am I doing this?" It was then I realized I really didn't have any more rewards to earn or levels to gain. I was just doing it... because. Now I haven't played in a week and I don't miss it.

There's no 'right' or 'wrong' reason for doing something. It's entirely a subjective thing. "Because I'm having fun doing it," is a perfectly valid response. But most of the time when I stop to ask myself that question, it's because there's already a problem -- it's probably because the fun stopped.

Asking the 'why' question is also a good exercise when evaluating a game's design. If you're a geek and a masochist like me, you start to dissect the systems in a game. Why are the devs wanting me to do this thing in this way? Why was the decision made for this mechanic to be here? I like those questions. 

Give it a try sometime, though I warn you it may ruin a seemingly perfectly good game.

  • This is such a very important question to ask when playing modern games. That’s how I stopped playing WoW and other grindy games like more recent Anthem. There are so many games all our back logs, we shouldn’t spend time on grindy games. Great post 🙂

  • The question that gets me is – “could i be having more fun doing something else?”. in high school and college when i was poor and the main alternatives were studying or watching TV, the answer was usually no… but now that i’m an adult with good money and lots of other hobbies, it’s tough to justify gaming at all. I get more enjoyment from theorycrafting and thinking about game design than i do actually playing games these days. i tend to play games until i figure out the systems and then i get bored. I’m sure there are lots of people out there in the same boat.

  • That is why I stopped playing WOW shortly after the expansion released. Prior to that I was playing the hell out of Legion because I was trying to get all of my characters to max level and jump on the Gold Mission bandwagon. It was a lofty goal but I was dreaming of an army of gold making ALTS and it took a lot of work to get everyone to that point…(I only got a few there)

    Then once I realized that I am not to incompetent to do the mage tower quests, I was obsessed with that too and it really became a dual mission…gold missions and do all of the mage tower quests.

    Then the expansion hit, I casually leveled my Horde character to max level and started on my Alliance character. Then I asked the question…why…none of the regular stuff was motivating enough for me. I need something extra.

    I don’t just want to get to x if everyone gets to x and I just have to catch up. I find that boring. I like to do stuff that is cool and hard to do but rewarding once completed. SInce they took the gold missions essentially out and there was no mage tower, and there was nothing to replace those things for me…I lost interest because what was the point.

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