I love video games. Ever since playing DUCK HUNT on the (NES) Nintendo 8-bit, I’ve been sold on them with a vengeance. Despite still enjoying them now, as I’ve gotten older I’m starting to see video games with a new perspective. If video games have proven anything to so many people it’s that the fantasy of new experiences trumps reality. Experience demands freedom, and this is a powerful thing, and what a varied and crazy mix of experiences offered in a video game (ones of sufficient decent depth.)
Anyone who knows me, knows I grew up as an avid gamer, and truth games that offer compelling and immersive stories (or huge worlds) compel me the most. Sorry to disappoint anyone, but this won’t be a specific video game review, but perhaps something a bit deeper, so stick with it! As of late I’ve been trying to focus more on increasing my experience points and level with a very important game; the game of EXISTING, I’m giving more credence every day on the idea that REALITY actually trumps FANTASY…but I’ll admit it’s been a hard sell, because the sort of freedom found in so many games is intoxicating; not only the freedom of action, skill and movement, but most intriguing, the freedom from consequence. Most of all, these open-world design games grant us the ability to be totally reckless (even “evil” for a time) – Stealing from and killing people, committing all manner of crimes (think: Watchdogs, Grand Theft Auto, etc.), and we don’t think twice about doing it in these games…well, many of us don’t. (I usually have somewhat of a moral qualm, even though I’ll suppress it often to “experience” what happens next.)
The truth is, if we dig deeper into these video games and their characters, we realize that there is no way (most of us) would choose be those characters at all, even if we were somehow afforded divine power and could make it happen. It’s a fun thought on the surface as we sit there holding a controller, but most people would shy away (and many run away screaming) from so many of the events that occur in games like Watchdogs, Halo, Gears of War, Grand Theft Auto and so many others. We wouldn’t be the heroes featured and controlled on the screen; we would more likely be the innocent passerby being gunned down or ran over by some crazed sociopath collecting “points” or “credits”.
Video Games – our very human desire for escapism
As humans, we are overwhelmingly attracted to what we don’t already have. We want to escape from the common things and try something else…even people who profess to have everything they need, still want something. This is true even in the short term…If it’s too hot, we want it cold. If it’s too cold, we want it hot. If it’s perfectly temperate, we’d like to drink something hot or cold…so these feelings of satisfaction are ALWAYS temporal, and this appears to be ingrained into us. Guilty as charged!
In my own life, being older now, at 37, I’ve come to realize that it’s new experience most people lack in life that leaves discontentment and a longing in the heart; the experience of meeting new people, the experience of going to new places (this is a huge one), and these all creates a deep emptiness in us, demanding to be filled. Some video games fill this void in a very artificial way (for a brief time), but they can’t give a person the long term satisfaction that a life; one better LIVED with REAL EXPERIENCE can provide.
I want to encourage you to start doing exactly this. Find more time to do the things you love, and when possible with the people you care about (yes, even if that’s playing video games), but above all, mix it up and experience new things, force yourself out of habits and patterns of a “typical day”, because we all have a temporary amount of time in this world, and we should make the most of it.
For me, I do this with the dream of granting myself more time to cherish my life by broadening my experience and skills. To grow where otherwise I would stagnate. One way to do this for many of us is to contribute in what small way we can toward others and THEIR experience…always remembering that we have the potential to leave a legacy behind for those we love when it’s time to check out…
Do you also want more time to do the things that matter to you “out there” IN REALITY, or are you content mostly living mostly in fantasies created by other minds? Do you live your life doing the things you hate while only dreaming of what you love? Share your thoughts below.