Why I Play Video Games

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

My Friend Serdar and I were discussing video games and why people enjoyed them recently. It was interesting because I know plenty of gamers, and plenty of people not into them.

So what do they do for me? That was fun – and interesting – to analyze.

First, gaming is something that lets me express myself without some kind of commitment or burden. I’m an organizer, a manager, and a guy that likes to explore things. Gaming lets me do that, from figuring out platforms to managing spaceships. When I game I am me.

Recently, with the stressful Pandemic, I was feeling down, so started playing Slime Rancher, and after that Star Traders: Frontiers. Both were games with planning and management, and playing them helped me, be, well, me. It was refreshing – and it was fun.

Secondly, gaming is a unique art. In games, multiple things that were previously separate arts come together. Visuals, music, rules, more. A game is a way to experience deep experiences, often experiences that would have been separate or less impressive.

This unique art allows for deep experiences such as simulations, but also unique ones. I can walk across impossible landscapes made out of math. I can experience a musical soundtrack while being in a story I control. Gaming is a unique art – and a fusion of arts.

Third, gaming has a social aspect. I’m not just talking multiplayer games (rarely my fave) but the way you can connect over an art. There’s plenty of social tools and sites, I love Early Access games where I give feedback. There’s so many ways to connect, if you’re selective, you can find really fulfilling involvement on a level fine for you, deep to shallow.

I share experiences with video games and friends, I give feedback. I really connect and in some cases, you can give feedback that improves games.

So yeah, that’s why I game. it helps me be me. It’s a unique fusion art form. And I can connect with others when I want to.

What about you?

Steven Savage

RWBY And The Question

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr)

“Whats your favorite Fairy Tale?”

That’s a loaded question in RWBY, the CGI-anime that captured many hearts and deservedly so.  It’s about a world where fairy tales may inspire, but also conceal and reveal other truths. There’s ancient powers and horrible things hiding in the shadows of the world of RWBY, and not everyone has a happy ending coming.

For us though, we’re pretty sure our fairy tales are just that – tales.  There’s no hidden magic or secret orders to save us.  There’s no grand plan.

This can make us lose hope.  We want it to mean something.  We want a pattern.  We want to know we can fix it.  We want the heroes and heroines to come save us.

There’s no well-crafted tale.  We’re on our own here, in the dark, with the monsters closing in.

So what good are fairy tales?  What good are stories?  What good are our books and comics and legends when the light goes dim in the world?

There’s an answer, and that answer is really about questions because you have the answers.

Why did they appeal to you?

How did they inspire you?

What did they teach you?

If there’s no heroes and heroines then it’s time for us to look to their stories and make them real.  If there’s no Happy Ending guaranteed, then we make the best ending we can.

So there, in the dark, let me reach out to you with one more question.

“Whats your favorite Fairy Tale?”

– Steve

A Few Dollars Makes The Difference

In the Bay Area, rent and housing prices are an important topic of discussion since that’s where no small amount of your paycheck goes.  I was out recently with friends, when the subject came up, and someone mentioned a person they knew who took an insane commute so they could avoid insane rents.  They had few options.

In The Bay Area, there seem to be these weird cutoff points in rental options.  Make X amount of money and you can live in this area, but X plus even a few hundred more a month opens up new options.  As one gets more and more options, you end up almost being able to save money – because you can, say, afford an expensive apartment on public transport and ditch a car.  Or one can live near work and cut commute time – and use that to do a part-time job or run a startup.

It’s not just that you have to spend money to make money.  When you have money, sometimes you can save time and money or make more time and money.

A boss of mine once ditched her car, lived in a small studio near public transport in the expensive area of San Francisco – and came out ahead financially.  She had all of San Francisco as her playground, a great job, and plenty of options.  But ironically, to save that money she needed to make enough to live in a place where she needed less.


– Steven Savage