Culture

Why I Need Games

Been sick the last two weeks. Doctors don’t know.  I don’t know. [Kanye shrug]

I work as best I can. Rest. Don’t move. No energy. Hoping this isn’t Poltergeist.

Frustrated. 

Bored with my eyes glazed scrolling through the neon avatars of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. 

One-man quarantine zone right here! 

What to do?

 So I decided to pick up a couple of games that are adventurous and story driven, putting me in the driver seat. I have the control.

Batman: Arkham Knight is new, techy, gothic, and really makes me feel like I’m Batman…uhh in a virtual sense. I’d really hate to be Batman. I’m an early sleeper. And why does Gotham have the worst criminals? It’s cool to do some urban exploration and really know a city though. Real life. I miss that. 

 The Last of Us-Remastered is an upgrade from its PS3 debut. Oh my gosh. OK real quick: this game, the first time through, two years ago, changed my life. It’s so real. The story. The characters. Heck, my wife and I still talk about it. I just appreciate every aspect of this game. Ugh.  

Like music, I’m becoming more selective with my games (time & money). Here’s three bullets though, straight to the heart why I play:

  • Story – I need a protagonist to empathize with, one who weaves through tragedy, triumph, heartbreak, and redemption. One theme of The Last of Us is “Endure and Survive.” I mean…for a guy who’s bedridden most of the day trying to let how mind spiral to oblivion, this motto is a light of hope.
  • Guidance – Games that give me too much autonomy just point out my inability to prioritize and follow through. If there’s no linear focus, I give up.  Also, I don’t play games regularly, not until the major responsibilities in my life are handled and I can take a breather. Batman is teaching me this. He would.
  • Community – People talk about their favorite TV show or Netflix stream all the time. Games should be similar because people play through story while taking on multiple forms of media. Fellow nerds like hearing these struggles and leveling up together. 

It’s so easy to play games for entertainment value, but when the elements subdue you to affect your reality and help you survive, it’s more than just a game. It’s inspiration. 

These stories are giving me life and telling me to explore, endure, and survive even in the worst times, the unsure dark times. That’s why I need to play. That’s why I need these games. 

If you want to feel smarter about this (trust, it works), this same subject was discussed at a TED Talk with a bunch of people smarter than me (and you probably).

September 3, 2015