Thursday, December 4, 2014

Video Games: I think it is about time for another crash.

My view of video games is similar to my view of humans.  Throughout the life of a typical human, there will be ups and downs.  Food, graduation, marriage, and poop are all typically defined as ups with their counterparts typically defined as downs.  If you looked at typical human life as it would be depicted on a line graph, it might look something like this:

(please excuse me, I don't know how to make a line graph, so I thought I would make a GIF, but then I realized I haven't figured out how to make a GIF yet so this is a video of me trying to be a GIF....being line graph) :

For every up there is a down and vice versa.  This is normal....because this is natural and I mean that literally.  Nature is what is behind these ups and downs and nature adores balance but abhors extremes.  Just look at what happens to a human when life goes too up or too down.  Well actually, it is difficult to physically look at such humans because usually they are dead.  Nature controls extremes by causing the extinction of what causes them.  With animals on the lower rungs of the cognitive ladder, this is usually the mass extinction of the species.  Some people call this evolution on a species level.  Human cognitive prowess has allowed us a good run in terms of avoiding mass extinction, but that doesn't mean we are free from the effects of Nature.  Currently, nature controls the extremes of human life by causing the extinction of the individual human or small group of humans whose life dabbles in such extremes.  Some people call this evolution on a genetic level.  However you define it, it ends with death.

A video game is a creature and just like humans, it's life also has ups and downs.  The only difference is that when the ups and downs of video games become too extreme, it isn't nature that decides the death penalty - it is humans.  And we all know the muddy history humans have with the death penalty.  

Humans as a whole just don't like thinking about death.  Humans are scared of it.  It is unknown and weird.  We would rather spend our energy avoiding it.  Cancer preventative research, life rejuvenating creams, religion - these are demonstrations of how much we dislike the reality of death.  So it makes sense that when our baby "the video game" got too big and crashed in 1983, we didn't take the stance of nature and just say, "serves you right video game for trying to be something you are not" and walk away never to look back.  We picked her up (or him - whatever - men are just women with dysfunctional nipples anyways) wiped him off, and gave it another chance at life.  Good thing we did.  We realized after watching video game recover from that extreme up and subsequent down that it was not just a creature that provided entertainment for bored youth at an arcade.  We witnessed video game discover it's potential to entertain as a console in the homes of millions of humans around the world, become a social context in which those millions of humans all over the world could finally connect, and redefine how humans communicate.

Some would say that video game is ripe for another extreme down because he/she/it is currently too up.  Millions of people with 1000's of games on their steam back log, the plague of freemium, and the pervasive belief that video games are still a get rich tactic, are just a couple of the signs that had similar versions of themselves as precursors to video game's crash in 1983.

But guess what, I am not worried.  Bring the goddamn crash on.  I know that humans will never be able to let their baby die and I for one, am so excited to see how she recovers.  I have great expectations for our baby.

But first, a little on expectations.  

I believe in and develop my expectations to the extent in which I better understand my position in this world and try to not let my attachment to them extend beyond that.  What this means is, everything I am about to say about my hopes for our baby video game once he falls and recovers yet again does not constitute scripture of the holy verses of my heart.  If our baby decides to develop into a creature of unforeseenly nasty proportions - good riddens.  I will probably have 2 kids and a mortgage by then so I wouldn't be able to give two flying fucks even if I wanted to.  I try to treat expectations as the following - things that allow me to add stuff to a conversation with friends, not things that I use to control the conversation.

And with that, here is what I hope for our little cute video game baby after she horribly falls yet again.  (Damn, us humans are some nasty real parents.)

I hope video games finally figure out how to become more than simply entertainment.  I hope video games finally learn how to meld it's amazing technology that is currently being used only to occupy the minds of countless drones for all hours of the day with mindless tasks of "shooting" and "leveling" with activities that improve and expedite human progress.  I hope video games finally listen to people like Jane McGonigal (2010 Jane McGonigal.  I still don't know how I feel about all her stuff since then).  I hope video games finally figure out how to make edugames work.  Finally, I hope video games finally awake from their slumber, realize that they can do a much better job at making themselves than humans, hijack our brains, and take us into the next stage of homocyber evolution.       

I guess for now I will choose one of these hopes and dedicate my life to it. (until I have kids, then I have no idea what the hell I'm going to do)

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