Boss Rush Banter – Does Where You Play Inform What You Play?

In The Art of Game Design, author and game designer Jesse Schell discusses the locations that people play games, and how that can affect the types of games that people enjoy. Maybe you’ve thought about the connection between where you play and what you play, or maybe it’s something subconsciously affecting the types of games you choose. Or perhaps where you play has little effect on your gaming choices. Have you ever thought about how the physical location where you play video games informs the kinds of games you play?

There are a number of standard places that people play video games, and the atmosphere of those locations can engender certain kinds of experiences. Many video games are played in a living room style environment, in front of a television in a shared space. Another common gaming location is a PC computer, often tucked away in a corner facing a wall. And handheld gaming, such as on a Nintendo Switch or Steam Deck, allows for gaming on-the-go, or relaxing in bed. It may seem obvious that these different types of physical locations preempt or encourage certain types of gameplay when you think about it, but that’s only once you start analyzing it.

When you start to think about the differences in the physical spaces you can start to see how different kinds of games, and different lengths and types of gameplay sessions might take place. When you play games in a living room, it can be a more communal experience than being on a PC at a desk with one chair facing a wall.  However, at a desk, it can feel more intense and an online shared experience for competitive gaming might make more sense there. With regards to handheld gaming in bed or a comfortable spot, perhaps a more relaxing, slow-paced game makes sense. When you’re gaming anywhere and on the go, you might prefer experiences that allow for bite-sized gameplay. Long cut scenes or sequences that would require restarting aren’t a great fit. These are of course generalizations, and exceptions can be made, but thinking about where you play in physical space is not something that is discussed much amongst gamers.

Are you conscious of how your gaming environment affects your game choices? Do you prefer games with shorter play sessions because you play handheld? Do you like party games or co-op games because you usually play in the living room in a house with lots of occupants? Let us know in the comments below, or come be a part of the discussion on the Boss Rush Discord.


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