The truth is video games are the first honest thing adults placed in our lives.
Put a video-tape in that old-fashioned player, and Hollywood will immediately start selling illusions. Being as powerful as Neo in The Matrix, bad-asses like John McClane and cool in a “Tom-Cruise-in-a-fucking-plane-movie” style.
There’s that awfully wrong assumption that in the end, good guys will always win. Life takes care of it all. The same thought makes us believe that for each Stanley Ipkiss with the gummy face of Jim Carrey, there is a beautiful yet possible Tina Carlyne in the same shape and form as Cameron Diaz in The Mask.
Lies. Lies we need to believe, yet lies all the same.
With books, it didn’t go much better. If you’re still waiting for an owl from Hogwarts pecking at the window of your bedroom, a bedroom that maybe became a double room or was handed over to your child in the meantime, you know what I’m talking about. Dreams, printed and typeset, doomed to wander in exile within worlds of ink and paper.
Again, lies. Lies grown with you, grown on you, lies of formation. Bildungslügt. Yet lies all the same.
Video games, on the other hand, were always honest. You wanted to be a hero for a few hours? A rickety Super Nintendo and a few pounds to buy cartridges for that stupidly awesome box of plastics and circuits was all you needed. Lucid (ludic?) dreams, flashed on your TV in all their 16-bit grandeur.
Lies? Yes. But lies which needed you to live. And this makes all the difference.
It was while kicking demons of Phobos that I understood I could do anything, if I was able to save the world that way. A scripted world in 32 colours, limited by the 90s tech and id Software skills, yet a world all the same. A world that needed me to function, to even exist. Books and movies breathe regardless of our actions, all we have to do is watch and read. They advance the same stories to everyone. We were all next to Harry Potter when he found out he was a wizard. But we were less than background characters, voyeurs in the life of another being. Whereas in video games…
Realizing that the world on the other side of the screen answers your commands and only those, that a part of you is ACTUALLY on the other side of the screen and that the game you’re living is personal property, in the very same way as your underpants, is totalizing.
Yes, you can share your feelings and thoughts with all the others who played or will play the same game. But the only way to share that very moment is to make them your Player 2.
I’d give all I have earned and spared in 28 years of living, to re-experience the exact moment in which I figured out all this.
I don’t need a letter from Hogwarts, ‘cause I summoned the Triforce a hundred times...