Why do I love chores so much in video games?

Game News Why do I love chores so much in video games?

Doing the dishes, moving, putting away your belongings… so many tasks that can be restrictive and which are real pleasures to accomplish in video games. At least for me.

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This article being a mood post, it is by nature subjective. The opinion of the author is personal and is not representative of that of the rest of the writing of Jeuxvideo.com.

Chopping wood in Fable, mowing the lawn in No More Heroes, washing the dishes in Detroit: Become Human… there are certain painful real-life chores that, strangely, feel so enjoyable to me in-game. doesn’t have the same notion of the term “chore”; understand that mine extends to a generous radius of activities. Take Animal Crossing: we can consider the game as a huge simulation of more or less thankless tasks to accomplish; You have to tirelessly pay off a mortgage, build infrastructure and do gardening. However, I spent entire days during confinement achieving these goals with constant pleasure. In real life, I would probably be reluctant to plant any tomato. Historically, we can consider that the chore was an integral part of the video game since 1982 with the release of Clean Sweep, where we vacuumed. Today, beyond the borders of simple drudgery, we even endorse real professions in triple A licenses, whether in agriculture with Farming Simulator, or in the kitchen with Cooking Mama. And then we can of course mention The Sims which squarely imposes on us the responsibility of managing a slew of family homes, taking care not to let them die accidentally in a swimming pool without a ladder. But why do I like it?

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In a snap of the fingers

Why do I love chores so much in video games?

It is obvious that moving three-seater sofas or stacking boxes does not operate the same sensation in Moving Out as in a real move (especially for questions of physical form, for example). Often, this type of game is based on very simple point’n click mechanics. Storing your stuff has never been easier than in Unpacking. But why do we like it so much? This is the question that I asked myself for a long time. The fact is that with just a few clicks, I can accomplish such tedious tasks. Deep down inside, my habitual extreme laziness probably thanks me. This inevitably generates a feeling of self-satisfaction. This is my assumption. Drew Lightfoot, licensed professional counselor and clinical director at Thriveworks Philadelphia (but also professor of health care research at LaSalle University) has his theory on the matter, shared in the columns of the Inverse media. And it’s not that different:

Our brain is very bad at distinguishing the difference between imagining a situation and actually experiencing it, whether positively or negatively. Task-based video games work much the same way. They offer us the opportunity to imagine what life would be like if all our to-do lists were crossed off, and they offer us an immediate sense of accomplishment with very little effort. In real life, these same tasks are actually even more fun when done, but they take a lot more effort to complete.

The explanation quickly reminded me of that old issue of WITCH magazine in which one of the heroines, gifted with geokinesis, could tidy up her room in a snap of her fingers. At about eight years old, stars in my eyes, I had found it absolutely marvelous. Today, nothing has really changed; getting a perfectly mowed patch of lawn in Lawn Mowing Simulator by lazily resting my finger on a joystick can give me a sweet feeling of relief.

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The relaxing chore

To unlock other lines of thought about the pleasure of performing virtual chores, I continued to do some research. John Wills, author for The Conversation, believes that the staging of activitiesbanal”in-game encourages a sense of intimacy and association with the digital world of gaming. Broadly speaking, by this we mean that living the daily routine in the digital world provides a feeling of rootedness and anchoring. It holds. In terms of “mundane activities”, the last experience I can share is probably that of Unpacking, which fits into the storage game genre. The principle is really quite simple: open cardboard boxes, unpack the contents and put everything away. The story follows the touching evolution of a person’s life in the early 2000s. First there is the mechanical aspect of the game: we know that the sponge must go to the edge of the sink or that the computer is placed on the desk of the room. The placement is done quite mechanically. Then there is the whole aesthetic touch: we try to sort the books on the shelf in the best possible way, to align each little figurine on the chest of drawers. At this point, I am globally fulfilling a need for satisfaction.

Cameron Kunzelman, a journalist at Polygon, came across a South Korean study which states that older people who garden regularly enjoy better mental health, in general, and “have fewer cognitive impairments”. What report will you tell me? Well Max Kreminski, who is preparing a doctorate at the University of Santa Cruz, rightly named the “gardening games“those that consist of reacting to a space of play and maintaining it rather than dominating it. Unpacking completely fulfills these criteria. And it’s true that I feel particularly rested while playing it. Even if I would gladly get rid of the plastic Eiffel Towers and the unbearable stuffed animals that the heroine tirelessly puts back in her boxes. In any case, I have the impression that this type of games has never been as popular as it is today. Maybe because people need to relax more and more?

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