I love to play video games. I game every week. Sometimes I prefer games with a solid story, other times games with riveting gameplay mechanics. Games are entertaining and fun, a great way to escape from the stresses of the day. However, some would argue video games hinder creativity.
Years ago when writing The Prophet of the Dragon I would have argued vehemently against that statement. It’s no secret that my first novel was heavily inspired by one of my all-time favorite video games: Vagrant Story. Heck, my current project, Maddie Jones & the Curse of the Terracotta Warriors, includes elements inspired from the Uncharted video game series. Both of these games helped to blossom creativity, not hinder it.
So why do some say video games diminish the art of creating? Well, it’s really quite simple–video games can be addicting. Lately, I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood. It’s an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game). When I login to play, I’m not just gaming by myself; instead I team up with hundreds of thousands of players from all over the world to tackle quests, dungeons, defeat internet monsters, and seek fortunes in conquest and raids. It’s highly addicting. Now, I must clarify that I do play in moderation (I mean, come on, I have a family for crying out loud. Not to mention I’m working on a doctorate degree). But the game has certainly stolen time from my creating.
Because of my time in FFXIV: Stormblood, I’ve not spent as much time with my current novel. I’m still working on it (I do have dreams and aspirations to make it as an author), but the time I usually spend in the evenings to hammer out edits has instead been consumed with dragons and bards and internet monsters.
So do video games hinder creativity? Yes and no. On the one hand, games can inspire the best of stories. On the other they can consume your time when you should be writing that bestselling novel. But I suppose this can be said about any form of entertainment, whether it be movies or social media. We just have to moderate how we play so we can keep the creativity flowing. I know I will. And in the meantime, I’m off to join a party of would-be heroes to slay an internet dragon…right after I finish editing my latest chapter.