Plugged In is running a great new series on video games. The first article is compelling, and I’m looking forward to the rest. If you play, or were wondering about the life of one who does, I suggest following it too for an interesting perspective:
Video games do more than just fill time between snacks. They can give players some of the things that are difficult or, sometimes, impossible to obtain in real life. You can be a pro athlete, an action hero or a cunning businessman. You can save the planet from global warming or wipe out an invading force of slavering zombies. You can be a handsome, brilliant thinker or a battle-scarred, bloody fighter.
And games offer instant or at least timely gratification. No worrying about the bills or vagaries of tomorrow. You’re a hero who understands his goals and purposefully strategizes to reach them. (Even Internet games with never-ending play have obtainable short-term wins.)
Picking up a controller or sliding behind that keyboard can also be a refreshing, anonymous, new beginning for somebody who’s tired of being pigeonholed into a personality type or predictable routine. Suddenly having influence upon an entire realm can be a startling breakthrough for an average Joe who feels he has little impact on his world. And even though gamers are commonly thought of as loners hiding away from life in darkened rooms, today’s keyboard marathoners, with their high-speed Internet hookups, actually link into communities of like-minded people from all over the world. Side-by-digital-side they can accomplish virtually anything. Altogether, it’s pretty cool, really, and so appealing that you sometimes don’t want to leave.
Uh-oh. We’ve just hit our first snag.