I have always loved playing video games. Most of the time, I cannot play the games I want to play because I don’t have the proper hardware. But that is alright, because I found out that I don’t necessarily have to be the player of a game to be immersed in it. At times when I am unable to play, I would find pleasure in watching other people playing. I would like to share my thoughts and experience while watching people play video games.
I have grown up playing first person shooting games, mainly counterstrike, so it is definitely a pleasure watching people play it. In fact, I used to get to spectate other players a lot because I was such a rookie and often get killed first. But spectating has helped improve my skills in FPS a lot because a lot of strategies were learnt by looking at how the “experts” play. Strangely though, some people dislike watching FPS games because the fast pace of “turning of the head” on screen makes them dizzy. I have a friend who used to feel the same way when observing FPS games, but he soon overcame such an obstacle told me his interesting story: He got a copy of Killzone 3 as part of the package when he bought a new PS3. He knew he would feel dizzy playing FPS, so prior to playing the game, he spent many hours searching for FPS gameplay on Youtube and visually tortured himself to the point he got used to this gaming perspective. Some studies show that playing FPS can improve a person’s multitasking ability (http://news.bigdownload.com/2010/09/14/study-playing-first-person-shooter-games-has-actual-benefits/
), from my experience, I would have to agree with that study because FPS indeed requires the player to have quick reflexes and high accuracy to excel in the games. Knowing that watching can have its benefits surely increases the level of pleasure in watching people play.
Having some basic knowledge of game you are watching is also an important aspect. For me, I seldom play those online strategy games such as LOL. At first I find it difficult to immerse in the game simply because I do not know what is going on. As I kept disturbing my friends, asking them what is happening, I gradually understood the main objectives of LOL and found it quite interesting to watch. Being able to appreciate what is going on and knowing how hard it is for the players to achieve a goal surely brings the excitement and joy of being part of the game. Having knowledge of the game also means being able to tell how skilled a player is. When I had little experience in watching LOL at the beginning, I would be rather amazed at how some of my friends like to click their left mouse furiously and looking back and forth frequently on the map. I later came to realize that skilled players do check their surroundings quite often to keep themselves posted. But most of the time it’s just people pretending to be pro by making it difficult for spectator to understand what’s actually going on. An analogy would be the quick swap of weapons in counterstrike by pressing “Q” by default. It is helpful in terms of having a faster walking speed, but when they overdo it, they just end of pulling out the wrong weapon when they really encounter an enemy.
Playing a game requires skill, spectating does too. As a gamer, spectating is a way of learning and improving your skills. As a person who seldom play games, having the right tools of looking at other players play is a good way of engaging with games and being less likely to be fooled by “fake experts”.