Freelance Knight

Play – Remembering Why We Love Games

Play – Remembering Why We Love Games

Play – Remembering Why We Love Games

When was the last time you set aside your work, your freelancing, and your responsibilities entirely simply to have fun? Do you remember what it is like to just play and enjoy yourself? It is very easy as a freelancer to get so involved in the game industry with our work, time spent on social networks discussing gaming, following gaming blogs and podcasts, and communicating with publishers, that we can sometimes forget why we were so passionate about getting involved in game design. Periodically, we need to set everything aside for a while and remember the joy of play.

“Play provides the emotional spark which activates our attention, problem solving and behavior response systems so we gain the skills necessary for cooperation, co-creativity, altruism and understanding.” Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head by Carla Hannaford

I will be transparent here. These past few weeks have been very stressful as a freelancer. I have had quite a few projects with tight timelines, a project that has some serious issues, and I am getting a bit overwhelmed with all the final preparations for the Modiphius booth at Gen Con (which I am managing this year). This was a lot of work with little to fun. Add to that my day job, family responsibilities, and some recent caregiver challenges, and I was on edge. My mind was fuzzy, and I was a bit of a grump. My wife can attest to that.

Then this long 4th of July holiday weekend arrived as a wonderful impromptu blessing. A Canadian friend and I made some rather last minute plans to have a serious weekend of gaming and relaxing with our families. Both of our families could use the break with things happening in our lives. So he, his wife, and daughter packed up their car and made the journey through the border and to our home. We then spent Thursday night through Monday morning playing a pile of games, some old favorites, some new to one of us, and others we purchased just for this weekend. We sprinkled in lots of laughter, a little thrift shopping, grilling, fireworks, and a picnic for good measure.

As I write this blog Monday morning (sorry I am posting late), I can emphatically state that I am physically exhausted but emotionally rejuvenated. My mind and spirit feel so clean this morning. The conscious decision to let work and responsibilities pause for a long weekend to focus on friends and play for an extended weekend were the healing I needed. Not only do I feel stronger emotionally, but this weekend was a great reminder of what it is about games that makes me so passionate to help create them.

“The body heals with play, the mind heals with laughter and the spirit heals with joy.” – Proverb

How do you heal your mind and spirit? Do you occasionally choose to pause life’s responsibilities to play like a kid again?

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7 thoughts on “Play – Remembering Why We Love Games

  1. Chuck Wilson

    Am actually struggling with recapturing my passion for gaming. As an agent for Catalyst Game Labs who has run Battletech for the past 14 years (interspersed with running Shadowrun: MIssions), I’ve started to shut down due to burnout, getting bounced between gaming stores as gaming space becomes less available, and the eventual loss of players without a steady influx of new players to replace them.

    The last game of Battletech that I ran was in January, and while there are a couple stores in town that would welcome me running events at their store, I just haven’t been able to find the energy to start running games again.

    If I would run Shadowrun: Missions again, I’d have no shortage of players, but I don’t want to be a GM for a game I’m not really that interested in. I’d like to get back to playing Battletech–as I never have a lack of ideas for that game–but the dearth of players depresses me greatly which leads to that downward emotional spiral. Fortunately we have a couple gaming groups around here (the Lansing Board Gamers and the Capital Area Role Players), so I’m hoping that doing a little gaming with them, being a “player” instead of a “GM” will be just what I need to get my head back in the game (no pun intended) and start running events again.

    1. T.R. Knight Post author

      Inconsistency in location and players can really lead to frustration so I can understand the struggle. Like you mention, I also find stepping away from being the game master or host of a game and being a player for a while really can reinvigorate you as a gamer. I wish you well as you check out these local gaming groups and hope they can help rekindle your interest in your favorite game.

  2. Daniel Taylor

    Every once in a while, I have to shut down and dive into something I’m passionate about in order to recharge even if it’s just reading an RPG book like I did back during my college days or playing some RPG on the computer or getting a board game played with Dana. I usually find I come out the other side of the experience feeling at least a little refreshed.

    1. T.R. Knight Post author

      Each of us has our own way of recharging our creativity and passion. Sometimes stepping away from what we are frustrated by and trying something different is the spice we need.

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