Having played in the distant past such MMORPGs as World of Warcraft, I decided to dust of the games machine last night and play an old game - Starlancer.
This space combat simulation game has fairly strict scenarios of play with set missions and narrative around those missions. Not having played any computer based game in quite a long time I wasn't expecting much.
Wow, was I suprised. It was great fun. The missions and action was slick, well crafted and enjoyable.
Ok, it's not upto the standards of choice available in MMORPGs, you can do mission 3 and only mission 3 rather than this quest or that quest. You only have a choice of these few ships with this selection of weapons, rather than a mass of armour, spells, weapons and other customisation.
But it has some huge advantages. First, there isn't so much choice so "what shall I do next?" becomes "mission 3".
Second, it doesn't require other players so there is no waiting for "Gandalvian the Gnome Mage to finish shopping in Stormwind" before you can start your quest (note, by the time Gandalvian turns up generally Lucialla the Elf Priest has left the group, so you have to spend more time finding someone else) - in Starlancer you just press start mission and then you just pummel the bad guys with plasma guns and screamers.
Thirdly, when I stop playing, I stop playing. There is no feeling of "missing out", as you know nothing is happening in the Starlancer world - you've switched it off.
I suppose when it comes to games, I just want to play rather than build a new life.