A while back, WAPO put up a piece called Why do we enjoy games that make us work?
Proficiency, control, fairness, escape. This is a topic I have come back to over and over through the years, a search through our database shows me. But I can’t help it: There was the one about workification vs. gamification, the one about sandboxes using work as gameplay, the one about work simulation as fantasy escape, the one about finishing games as homework, the one about overt busywork in MMOs. I’m obsessed with this because too many MMOs literally use boring work as a stand-in for progression, and we go along with it. This is weird and fascinating.
The WAPO piece attempts to examine why we do it and why this content is appealing, moving from the Untitled Goose Game to Animal Crossing New Horizons to quote devs and academics who suggest that the rise of these types of “work” games dovetails nicely with the generations of gamers for whom good jobs and home ownership are far beyond reach. You may never own a house in the real world, but you can build a gorgeous one in The Sims, among plenty of other things you’ll never get to do, like fly a plane or travel to the moon.
I thought it would be interesting to poll everyone on the different types of reasons for “work” in games, as given in the piece, to see which ones resonate with you. Some of these definitely overlap, so pick your top three.
Leaderboard: Why do you 'work' in MMORPGs?
- Sense of agency or control (5%, 17 Votes)
- Sense of being in the zone (5%, 14 Votes)
- Sense of disatisfaction in real life (5%, 17 Votes)
- Sense of doing something unachieveable otherwise (7%, 23 Votes)
- Sense of escapism (7%, 23 Votes)
- Sense of mastery or achievement (15%, 47 Votes)
- Sense of challenge or progression (14%, 44 Votes)
- Sense of boredom (2%, 6 Votes)
- Sense of comfort or fulfillment (11%, 33 Votes)
- Sense of fairness or justice (2%, 5 Votes)
- Sense of social obligation (1%, 4 Votes)
- Sense of frugality or financial hardship (1%, 2 Votes)
- I don't see MMOs or games at work at all (7%, 21 Votes)
- I avoid MMOs and games that feel like work (12%, 38 Votes)
- Something else (tell us in the comments) (3%, 9 Votes)
- No reply / view tally (3%, 8 Votes)
Total Voters: 162