Learning to Slow Down

When you play games, there is always a goal that you’re moving towards. Some sort of point that you’re intent on. But constantly moving toward an abstract success can be tiring. If books were all rising action, we’d quickly get tired of them. There has to be some moments of curiosity and introspection. This became particularly evident when I used the Oculus Rift.

In a normal video game, veteran players often have a stock routine whenever they enter a new space: Check for all interactable objects, find all exits, and check each exit (making sure to double back if the exit goes too far). They don’t do this because this is the most enjoyable way to play a game. They do this because this is the most efficient way to play a game. And gamers, though craving fun, will naturally move toward efficiency. Look at anyone playing Ocarina of Time. To move around, they roll everywhere (or worse yet, turn around and strafe backwards). This is annoying and monotonous to players, but it’s faster, so they submit to the efficiency. I typically play like this as well.


But in the Rift, things are different. Whenever I enter a room, I take in the space and take note of everything, not just what advances the gameplay. I marvel at animations and inspect art assets. Instead of just focusing on the game, I tend to focus on the world-building.

This is definitely influenced by the limits of the dev kit Rift, as moving too quickly can cause nausea, but the altered pacing has a drastic effect on game-feel. I’ve been less and less interested in individual games recently because I feel like I’ve just been passing through them. As I slow down and notice how the game is built in fine detail, I gain a greater appreciation for the design.


I’m trying to appreciate the smaller moments now. The non-challenges. As I play the beta of Luna’s Wandering Stars, I often find myself in a locked orbit with time on the clock. And instead of pressing restart, I just wait and watch the moon circle the planet. Because this is not failure.


  1. doctorweird reblogged this from serenityforge and added:
    I’ve always had plenty of time to admire environments as I run along their walls mashing A because I learned old-school...
  2. serenityforge posted this