The moments I most enjoy playing video games usually come after extended, self imposed, periods of not playing games. Putting off the playing of video games builds anticipation, much like the anticipation that is built during a video game play through. I am currently playing Dead Space thanks to a great Steam sale. One thing that has stood out while exploring the mining vessel USG Ishimura, while fending off monsterous variations of its inhabited crew members, is the anticipation that is built up between bloody encounters.
There is an increased amount of satisfaction garnered when setting down to play a game after accomplishing certain chores and job hunting related tasks in a day. Is it a reward system? Yes. Is it therapeutic? No doubt. Is it more enjoyable when you perceive you gaming time as earned? Absolutely. During this period of unemployment where my efforts are not directly rewarded in the form of a salary, it is essential to reward yourself. When some of your ‘work’ does not bear fruit it is necessary to motivate your efforts and smooth your doubts with the anticipation of reward – video games fill that role for me.
Face to face character dialogue, audio logs of now diseased crew members, and “baby step quests” (What I call quests that build the foundation and the ability of the protagonist to reach a main quest and/or climatic point in a game.) all add to the anticipation of reaching a major gaming moment in Dead Space. The fact that the game is broken down into chapters enables the player to salivate with anticipation wondering what’s on the next “page”. Specific to Dead Space, the player wonders whats on the next “page” and do I have enough ammo to handle it.
The anticipation of immersing myself in a video game provides me the motivation I sometimes need while perusing job postings, filling out repetitive, online HR applications, and choking down another denial of employment email. It helps me deal with disappointment and move on from not being selected for a job. Instead of taking pause and letting depression seep in I think about video games, about playing them. But not until I hit up Indeed.com, visit career specific job posting blogs, touch base with my network, apply to a few more positions, rewrite my cover letter accordingly, make additional follow up calls… All while anticipating playing another chapter.