It’s often said that life has two speeds: fast and faster. The virtual world is similar in this respect, with different games operating at different paces. There are those players who swear by the motto ‘live fast, die hard,’ and their gaming choices reflect this lifestyle. Others prefer simple, leisurely games which lead the player on a more slow-paced, though no less satisfying, adventure. For me, choice in games usually reflects my mood, as well as my reason for playing.

There are times when I’m really looking for a challenge, and that’s a perfect time to delve into a fast-paced game. The feeling of a controller in my hands often produces the same mental impulses as when I’m doing my research for school. Sometimes, I swear I can feel the synapses in my brain firing at an abnormally fast speed. I love the pulse of fast-paced games as they fly across my television screen. Admittedly, I’ll sometimes whip through a few well-worn levels of Sonic 4, just for the rush. The ability of video games to challenge us, and then to provide that sensational feeling of accomplishment once we finally beat a difficult level, is one of the reasons why players keep returning again and again.

Donkey Kong’s infamous mine cart levels provide a substantial challenge for players.

Of course, some games provide almost too much of a challenge. If you haven’t tried out Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Wii, you’ve probably at least heard that the game is exceptionally challenging. I know there are types out there who thrive on such a challenge, and I’d like to think I’m mildly the same. But I am also easily frustrated when I can’t complete a particular level or zone within a reasonably short time period. I figure it’s because I’m a Sagittarius– I can never sit still in one place for too long !

Many times, I find myself choosing games which are more relaxing than super challenging. I think this reflects the fact that I usually play games late at night, after I’ve completed my tasks for the day and am trying to find a way to unwind before bed. At times when I just want to relax, I love delving into games with rich music, graphics, or dialogue. Simulation games are also a good choice, although I’ve never quite seen the exhilaration in a game so lethargic as Wii Sports Golf.

For all of you out there in cyberspace: do you play video games for the fun, or for the challenge? Are these terms mutually exclusive? What’s more your style: slow-paced games, or fast-paced ones? Why?