Take a seat. It’s as if we’re sitting around a campfire, kindling it with our words and reflections.
“As gamers,” she offers, “we thrive on interaction, dialogue, engaging conversation, passionate arguments. And it stems from the games we love and hate.”
“I never fought back, never really had a chance,” he recalls. “My eyes close, my life ebbs from my body and I wonder. If I’d found another human, another person like me, would things have been any different?”
“Weapons can be used against the wielders, I thought to myself as I picked up my clothes from the floor and my assailant left the room,” she recounts. “I recall this moment as a zombie takes Juliet by force. Let me go! I mash the X button frantically.”
“The abstract part of your brain that makes you human takes over again,” he ponders. “You feel exhaustion, and you can’t quite determine why.”
“One changes into a better man,” she decides. “The other evolves into a primal thing that is more animal than human.”
He muses. “I found it suspicious that anyone could get absorbed in the visually lush, but ultimately flat and lifeless environment––a lobotomized wasteland that, nine times out of ten, is devoid of even a flicker of brainwave activity.”
“You begin to become attached to the world,” she suggests. “You understand that the humor comes from anger; the injustice and degradation done to such a beautifully hand-drawn world full of mellifluous music and good-natured people make you angry too.”
“The phenomenon of ‘cognitive dissonance’ describes what happens when people hold two conflicting beliefs at the same time,” he recognizes. “When actions reveal this discrepancy, the person must nonconsciously create an explanation for their behavior.”
“I know dozens of well-known game journalists who have spent hundreds of hours in every Bethesda RPG on their consoles and dove into Words with Friends with exactly the same intensity,” he continues.
She wonders. “It comes time for that dreaded question: What will keep me playing?”
“Ancient animalistic desires — such as the insatiable pursuit of sexual gratification, proclivity towards violent behaviors, and the like — must be subordinated in order to have a well-functioning society,” he commands. “The tamping-down of these ferocious proclivities, according to Freud, is one of the central causes of discontent in civilized populi.”
“This time,” she muses. “Desire is the refusal to be still: an outreached hand that claws at the air. Desire revels in being unreachable for desire ceases to exist if it is ever realized.”
“I found more solace than ever in my faith and those who share my faith, and took on a more active role in my church. I found an extreme sense of purpose in what had before felt like a hobby or a pipe dream, and started to work hard to see if maybe, just maybe, I could be a writer or an editor.”
“Games have an incredible, novel, awe-inspiring capacity to frame experiences,” she notes. Games can translate life, ideas, themes, skills and so on in a fascinatingly tangible way. Games have this ability to reveal to us sublime truths using only small details, teach us lessons using patterns and consequences, and impart symbolism and meaning through clever and heartfelt dynamic systems.
“I am always slightly skeptical when I hear people talk about ‘games for social change’ but after playing Tilt Factor’s games and speaking with their reps,” he remembers, “I wanted to make a game that would change the world.”
“The good part is that each time a new game comes out,” someone tells him, “you take some steps back. Obviously you can retain skill that transfers from game to game, but you essentially have to put the hours into the craft again.”
“There is a part of us all that is afraid to be judged,” he thinks. “I believe that even the most extreme iconoclasts and renegades have something that is so dear to them, that defines them on such an odd and personal level, that they hide it so no one can tell them it’s stupid.”
“That said,” he said, rounding out his thoughts, “it’s nice to take a break from being too analytical from time to time and let ourselves get swept away by something. Sometimes it’s okay to just put on the footy pajamas, grab our favorite action figures and remind ourselves that it’s quite alright to play a video game for the sole purpose of having fun.”
For now, we will let the embers glow.
Filed Under: Editorial Reflections
About the Author:
Rich Shivener is the Lead Editor of Bit Creature. He is also a writer, instructor and iPad whisperer from the shores of Northern Kentucky. You can find him in Publishers Weekly and Writer's Digest, among other places.
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