Posted by Rampant Coyote on August 20, 2013
We drive my daughter to college today. This makes no sense to me. I’m barely out of college myself, right? Right? I don’t know if I can even begin to comment on all the weird thoughts going through my head at this time. But I guess I captured a lot of them a few months ago when she graduated from high school. Now it’s all that, and a bunch more emotions ‘cuz she’s moving out. It’s a good thing, and a necessary thing, but it’s going to be weird as anything not having her around.
It’s funny, though. I keep meeting men a few years senior to me – grandparents, in some cases – and they are gamers. I guess I find that a little weird, but cool, as they came through the formative years without the benefit of arcades & video games. Well, okay, I guess they had pinball games and maybe early video games like Pong. But they didn’t really grow up gaming. They came in too early to be part of the Atari or Nintendo generations. But they are gaming now. I certainly don’t hold that against them – I think it’s awesome.
And why do they game?
So they can spend time with their kids, who have moved away. That seems more important to me on a day like today than it might have a few weeks ago.
It’s like sports – you know, how fathers and sons bond over sports. Except in this case, it’s World of Warcraft instead of baseball, and it’s armor set stats instead of batting averages. But while these guys are doing it primarily to do things with their kids, they are bona fide gamers. They’ll talk about how their guild is doing in the Team Fortress competitions, or their latest epic raids, or what they are constructing in Minecraft. It’s something they can do on a regular basis. It’s something they can share, and talk about. In real time, in team chat, as they want.
Their kids may have moved across the continent, but they’ve got virtual worlds where they can share the same foxhole. A cartoon avatar is no substitute for a real, live person in the room, but it’s better than nothing. A twenty minute phone call is still great, but how about supplementing that with a few hours each week of shooting up zombies? That’s awesome sauce.
There’s this struggle that even I have to overcome sometimes when I think about what it is that I do. I “just” make games.
No, I’m not making the games that are bringing families together in these examples. Yet. I make little niche indie titles. So what? There are some dang cool, awesome, and absolutely *good* aspects of this medium, and I’m a happy participant, both as a creator and a gamer. And we have barely explored the tip of the proverbial iceberg of the potential for this medium.
Games can be mindless entertainment, subversive presentation of ideas, idle escapism, educational tools, solo pastimes, group activities, a means to keep in touch with old friends, a venue to meet new friends, means to open up new vistas and opportunities, distractions from life’s priorities, shallow, deep, cool, lame, intense, relaxing, poignant, dumb, or any combination of these things. Gaming is about communication… and fun.
I’m glad to be here.
Filed Under: Geek Life, Indie Evangelism - Comments: 3 Comments to Read