Humanity’s Inevitable Future is in Game Design
Analysis of QAnon by a game designer. Everyone should read!
QAnon method is like the movie Inception on a mass scale. Planting seeds of misinformation so that its victims generate their understanding of alternative reality for themselves.
The author concludes that this isn’t a movement that grew organically, but rather one that is orchestrated with big money.
Many in the real world place too much faith in their opponents also participating in the same shared reality. Unfortunately, what happens when if their opponents live in a fictional alternative reality?
History is full of conflicts as a consequence of clashing world views. Historically these world views were created by religions. That is a narrative primarily based on fiction.
It is alternative fictional narratives that have no reference to a reality that leads to massive human suffering. What do the Armenian, Cambodian and Nazi genocides have in common? A fictional narrative with a final solution.
Humans have always been storytellers. Religion has always been that kind of collective storytelling that creates a virtual reality in our world. It is what gives us meaning in this world.
But meaning-making has can be defined in a way that is simple and non-mysterious. Collectives thus are able to generate the games required to keep their believers in active participation. It is in participation that we derive meaning.
The stories that have endured are stories that require participation by its listeners. The purpose of stories by Australian aborigines was for travelers to navigate their way in the outback. This eventually morphed into a unique kind of mysticism.
Stories thus that involve participation become incorporated into our very being. The Japanese Ikigai (the reason for being) in fact hinges on the interplay of belief and participation.
Humans find meaning when they participate. Participation leads to the discovery of patterns. Pattern discovery leads to the feeling of understanding. Understanding leads to the feel of wholeness.
None of these feelings needs to be driven by deference to reality. They only need to be orchestrated by a good game designer.
Perhaps we should not be just story makers, but rather game designers.
The power of artists, specifically musicians is that they capture our minds through our participation. Bach's popularity was a consequence that his melodies were sung in church. This primed the population to begin to resonate with his kind of music.
Traditionally, we’ve treated mediums as static things that are consumed passively. But what do we make of mediums like games where there is constant repetitive immersion? What do we make of media that creates entire universes (i.e. Marvel MCU, Star Wars, etc)
Humans will continue to seek meaning in alternative realities that can be framed in a game. In fact, many consume their entire lives participating in a game known as sports. We find meaning by playing or being a fan of a game.
The future of all human enterprise is in the creation of alternative realities that encourage participation and immersion. It is gross incompetence by studios that seek creativity in favor of preserving ‘canon’.
Good alternative realities still require a level of consistency and coherence. There must be some deference to logic that allows a fan to suspend or maintain a consistent set of beliefs.
All too often we see studios kill the golden goose by insisting on story arcs that destroy the story’s original consistency. As a consequence closing off an evolutionary pathway to a much larger universe of stories.
Lucas Film story group is responsible for the consistency of all Star Wars stories. Although it is all fiction, there is value in maintaining consistency across many stories. Marvel MCU has executed this strategy to great effect.
The next evolution of games is to make participation a means of livelihood. We see this already in cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin and its cousins create different narratives to draw participation or investment. It is a game that is played that is worth half a trillion dollars.
But not everyone derives meaning from making money. Fantasy sports and sports betting perhaps has a sweeter spot in the interplay of meaning-making and making money. Also let’s not forget the financial markets, also a game that is becoming more divorced from reality.
If everything is just a game, then where can we find meaning that transcends all of these simulated realities? We can find it in the game of discovering reality. We have evolved to play games: