It is any given night of the week.
You are settled in your comfortable desk chair that has morphed to fit your body and your body alone. Headset on is on, leaving our silly human and mortal world behind. Eyes are glued to the monitor as your fingers dance on the keyboard and mouse. This isn’t your first waltz, and it won’t be your last. You will try over and over, making nano adjustments each time until, finally, you are a little further than before. You are truly one with the game.
Now, this moment could happen for anyone in any game, but it is indeed reached when you have walked with your character through fire and flood and still have mountains to climb. It is through story progression that one resonates with games. There is a reason games like Skyrim, Fallout, and Dark Souls are racking up hundreds of hours per person. Games like these leave a mark on you, change who you are, even just if just a little.
Granted, there are matchmaking PvP games that some can log just as many hours, but there isn’t the lasting satisfaction of overcoming a level or boss that you couldn’t quite defeat the day before than just winning another match. You could win a matchmaking game, then keep the streak going and win more, or you could lose and feel a burning rage you didn’t know you had in you for those noobs who use cheap tactics. There are a plethora of rage videos to show the other side of losing PVP games.
But progressive story games are different. Sure you get mad or irritated, but you don’t give up. You have invested too much time, money, and energy into the game to let some puzzle or boss mechanic stop you from conquering it. In most story progressive games, you learn with your character, grow with your character, develop abilities and shape your path. You and the game unfold the story together.
Unlike this unison growth, games that don’t contain a moving story try to make up for it with backstory. At times, this can be great and go to incredible lengths, just look at the depths of League of Legends lore, but it doesn’t compare. There is a vastly different meaning in “I slain the Goblin King,” and “When I was playing [insert character name], I did stuff with their abilities.” There is already such a dissonance.
With a game that has pre-made characters with little to no progression in themselves or story, how could you call it your game?
It will be the same as everyone else who bought it, so it's not your game. But the game where you grow and develop your character, making choices and actions that shape the game differently than others to make it unique. That is your world. That is your game. And such fusion with a game is the best experience a gamer can ask.