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Friday, 08 June 2012 12:42

Stuck on Repeat

Connecting the cubicle farm with gold farming

I'd like to warn you in advance: This one is going to be rife with my patented brand of pseudo-psychological gibberish. Please brace your BS meters in advance.

Today, I'd like to discuss the impulse that drives us to grind in video games. Now, I'm not talking about that nasty little dance move that creep from the local club likes to pull off when he's had one too many Jell-O shots. For the layperson, grinding is any activity in games that requires an incredible amount of repetitive action spread over a long period of time in exchange for experience, skill levels or items.

Long considered a lost art, grinding was not only expected in the early days of RPGs, it was a downright necessity to lengthen games that otherwise would be fairly short. Hundreds of hours would need to be spent running back and forth in fields, forests and dungeons, enticing random monsters to throw themselves on your character's swords in order to gain level after yet another level. As we progressed in terms of technology and gameplay mechanics, we never really abandoned grinding, we just refined it. Random encounters in 'Dragon Warrior' became strategic material gathering in 'Mass Effect 2.' Experience was added to shooters and gave new life to the genre, possibly most prolifically with 'Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.' MMOs introduced epic quest chains to obtain the most powerful weapons and armor in the game, and some, such as 'EVE Online,' actually require days and sometimes weeks to train certain skills.

Published in Tekk

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