Gamify Your Life I: Character Creation

Character Creation DAI screenshot

What do you do first when you start a new game? Well, apart from a happy dance and exciting squeaks, you create a character, right? I know, I know, you have technically already been created. But let’s have a look at what fun game features of character creation we can use in our lives. You are more in control of things that you may believe.

The Most Exciting

Character creation has always been the most exciting part of gaming for me. I am one of those people who spend literally hours at the character creation screen and was found to be reloading Dragon Age Inquisition multiple times to get my Inquisitor to look just right (that’s her in the image above by the way, well the second playthrough anyway).

When I’m finally done with the character’s look and I start a new game, it’s like Christmas. I am flooded with joy and am eager to start exploring and levelling up. The start of a new game is the best part for me, it’s the pristine sheet of endless possibilities. No overwhelming multiple quests, piles of garbage in the inventory, maps half-explored, confusing skill-tree and a journal you will never finish reading. No, at the beginning, it’s all so nice.

The start of a new game is the best part for me, it’s the pristine sheet of endless possibilities.

It’s All About the Looks aka Character Creation Tantrum

I know we are born here in bodies that we don’t think we got to choose. I do not offer any miracles here (although they do happen), nor do I support plastic surgery (but also am not against it), but there are ways that can help you feel more in charge of how you look and affect others without either of those things.


WHAT YOU CAN CHANGE

Gamify Your Life I: Character Creation - what you can change

The way you dress, the way you wear your hair, whether you have tattoos, piercings or other modifications are all means of expressing yourself as a unique character to the world. Realise it, claim it, enjoy it!

You are a physical being, so don’t be shy to style yourself up the way you’d like. Love that shirt? Buy it! Longing for a tattoo? Get it. New haircut or hair colour? No problem! Want to have toned body and tight ass? Find the right exercise routine for you!

In life, there are far more choices than we get in games! The body we have is for a temporary time only, so don’t wait up too long to get it the way you like.


WHAT YOU THINK YOU CAN’T CHANGE

Gamify Your Life I: Character Creation - what you think you cannot change

The above examples are all features that you can modify fairly easily, but there are things you can’t or don’t believe you can change just yet. What to do with those? Learn to accept it. Wait, I know. But you’ve gotta make a choice where on one hand you have the ‘grumpy and miserable’ and on the other the ‘free and happy.’ It frees you to let go of the struggle.

I give you an example from my life. I have a ridiculously thin fine hair and have always wanted long thick mane because I thought it’d make me feel so much more beautiful, which equals feeling better about myself. I’ve spent a lot of time arguing for my limitation, i.e. feeling ugly because of my hair, being jealous of other girls that were lucky enough to have amazing thick hair, hating my hair and ultimately rejecting myself.

But even though I still occasionally fall into the old habit of that behaviour, I decided to instead work with what I have and appreciate my hair as it is. I take good care of it and I try my best styling it up in ways I like. It doesn’t always work and that’s ok. Life is not always perfect and you cannot be either.

PERFECT MAY ONLY EXIST IN GAMES (AND TV)

We need to let go of the unrealistic images that we all have engraved in our minds from the media (yes, games too) and instead accept that life is diverse and non-perfect.

If you accept or at least ponder upon the idea that you, whatever you look like, are unique and beautiful being, others will see that in you, too. It’d be boring if we all had the same hair and the same skin and the same nose and the same body type…

We tend to be the most critical of ourselves, usually without any rational foundation to our critics. Try to criticise yourself (and others) less and think of things you like about yourself instead. Make it a game if you must – for every critic you give (yourself or anyone else), think of two things to appreciate.

Addendum: When you are creating your character, you are creating it for yourself, not for others. Do the same in your life. Focus on the things that drive you, that you are interested in, not about what’s in fashion or what this or that person will think or say about it.


What You Do aka Specialisation Dilemma

When you are creating your character in a game, you get to choose a specialisation. That’s a fancy word for ‘what you do’. Now, what do you do in your life and how do you feel about it? Are there things stopping you doing what you truly want?

In games it’s easy – I pick a mage or rogue. In life, well it’s a bit more complicated than that. I’m not one of those people who knew from their childhood they’ll be a lawyer, went to school, got a degree and started working in their devoted profession. My journey is more of a ‘ziggy zaggy hit-n-run bump ride’. Either way, it always begins with the first step.


STARTING OVER

Gamify Your Life I: Character Creation - growing your character

When you start a game, you usually start as a nobody with not much skill whatsoever. But you never moan about not having anything in order to do what you want, you don’t doubt the possibility, the achievability, you just go for it. If we could take away one thing from games, I think this would be my top one. The knowing that we CAN.

The journey to the higher levels, more experience, better gear and skills is the game, though. That is why we play. Imagine if you start a new game with already the most hardcore character with awesome weapons and skills. There’d be no fun in that. The fun is growing the character, in developing it, gathering experiences and items. It is not about getting to the end of the game as fast as possible (although we feel like that sometimes). It’s about the journey.

And the same applies to life. You wanna savor the journey. Don’t rush to the end so much, enjoy starting anew, enjoy being a beginner, it’s all part of the process.


What to Take Away From This

You are the hero in your life story so why not act like one? I don’t mean becoming an arrogant douchebag, by the way. But creating a life that’s worth living for you, believing yourself and treating yourself and others with love. Knowing that you are worthy, and when an obstacle comes your way, it has its purpose.


CHECKPOINTS:

  • Acknowledge the power you hold when it comes to your looks and have fun with it.
  • Accept that you are unique and do not have to conform to certain beauty standards, ‘coz beauty is subjective.
  • Even if you don’t have the skills or material things you want now, it doesn’t mean you will never get it (think of your character at level 1). Just stick to your craft, do the best you can and enjoy the journey.

Do you enjoy creating your character in games? What would you add to my tips on character creation in life?

Screenshots of games used: Dragon Age Inquisition; Dragon Age Origins


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