Thursday, August 16, 2012

"When I was a kid, I played a whole lot of video games."

When I grow up, I don't want to be the guy who tells his kids that he played a lot of video games.

It may be factually correct. But it isn't the truth -- not for me.

Games have made me scream, believe, try... I don't want to hear you say, when I was young, I played a lot of video games. Don't tell it to your kids, your friends, to anyone. Say that when I was young, my playground expanded into a dimension not previously explored by the youth of the world. My toys were limited only by the scope of human imagination. I learned just how weak the boundary between reality and non-reality is in our minds and how we can bridge that space. I shared the crossing of that bridge with others and was richer for it.

I want you to be creative. I want you to tell them about the parts of the game that made you hurt or laugh or wonder. I don't care if you flew ships or slew monsters or fought wars, or anything else off the grocery list of gaming tropes. I am the future youth and I want to hear about the time you realized that all along, you really weren't calling the shots. About every bug you abused and every object you launched into orbit. About how you came to understand the sordid destiny in store for you. Or the time you reached the end of the world, beyond the boundaries of logic, and looked over the edge.

These are the things we can't articulate properly without thinking hard and remembering. And there are so many games, now, that it is hard to remember the specifics. Please try. You must think hard now, while the experience is fresh. You must put what you experienced to words and keep the words safe so that one day, you can share these milestones with the future, before they are blown away in a wind of technological upheaval.

Because it's not just an illusion. The game is not real, the game is just a system, but that system can now and then access and expose a kernel of truth that you would never have unearthed otherwise. There is some part of the play that touched your mind in a way you can't quite explain -- though you can come close.

So get as close as you can, and say that. Say it loud and say it often and don't forget it.

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