How much do board games reflect on our lives?

By Ville Miettinen from Helsinki, Finland (Sex, Drugs & Dungeons & Dragons) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In this article titled Playing the hero: How games reflect life, Celia Emmelhainz interviews Nick Mizer, an anthropologist who researches gaming, storytelling, and how we make sense of our lives, if we are really the hero in our own lives. Celia talks to him about storytelling, tabletop games, and what they tell us about the world we live in. Nick describes gameplay as “the overlap of a couple of general human behaviors” such as the idea of play, narrative, and story. He also claims that talking about things like daily activities are told as narrative, “the way we make sense of our lives”. Narrating our daily activities can be viewed as storytelling and good stories emphasize our humanness and the craziness of life. Nick states that part of his job is to look at how humans experience things and “the question of whether we are all heroes in our own stories”. He continues stating that the only way we can share stories with other people is to envision ourselves in another’s place. Nick talks about Dungeons and Dragons and how although it is very rule bound, you still get to contribute largely to the outcome by deciding what your character does. He claims that most video games now are influenced by Dungeons and Dragons, but the actual board game takes more of a creative mind. He closes his interview stating, “as we understand why people play games, we can apply it to other areas”.

I think Nick Mizer’s argument relates to idea of fate and how we really put in what we want to get out. With Dungeons and Dragon, there are plenty of chances for you to decide what you want to have happen but a lot of it is also rolling dice. I think he is also trying to say that they way narrate our lives really determines how we feel about our lives and how much we have achieved.