Musings Of A Mad Hatter: Emotion Incarnate
You walk down the passage of dead bodies and wasted lives of soldiers that died for a lost cause. You see a woman sprinting her way to safety across the blood filled streets of a town lost to the radicalism and hopes of a delusional man with a murderous wish upon the world. You can hear children screaming in the distance. Their innocence fills the air like a thick mist waiting to dissipate and vanish for all eternity. You look at your blood-covered hands and wonder for a split-second that things could have been different somehow. You look up and utter only a few words:
“Holy shit that was fucking awesome.” With that, you sit up, holding the controller tighter and go on to the next scene of battle.
Welcome to videogames ladies and gentlemen. A fantastical world where murder isn’t that big of a deal and is home to many grizzled men with beards seeking out vengeance. It truly is a marvelous thing to be involved in sometimes and here is why I think so.
So for the past week I have been playing Max Payne 3. Some have called it a shit game, and I’m not mentioning names, but I enjoyed seven shades of shit out of it. There wasn’t a dull moment to be found in this game and I would like to describe a scenario from this that had me miss a few hours of sleep because I was just filled with thoughts.
I was marching into battle as our grizzled man with the beard and this song starts playing:
Suddenly I was feeling as pumped as a steroid junkie in a bar fight. I dodged and shot dudes in the face like it’s nobody’s business. I catapulted myself off ledges and rained fire and blood upon unsuspecting souls like a winged angel of death in slow motion. The carnage was everywhere and bullets flew in every direction possible. I shot my way through waves of soldiers and finally it was all over. The song stopped and the resulting emotion I felt was amazing. I felt like the ultimate badass. Capable of anything and everything. Not afraid of death or consequence. I walked away from the scene into a loading screen and I thought to myself: Wait a second, I’m sitting on a couch under a cozy blanket drinking tea and smoking my lungs out. I’m not a badass. I’m a fat dude who plays games in his flat and waits for his mom to give him some meatloaf. Call it a crash back to reality if you will.
This bothered me for a few hours, but I came to the conclusion that games have the ability to make you feel like this. That’s why they are made. To give you an experience that you might not otherwise have. I’m certainly not going to fly through the air like some pill-popping Icarus of death, that’s for damn sure. Many games have done this too me, but I was just too stupid to notice. It’s not just the emotion of feeling like a total angel of death, but many other more subtle things.
For instance, while playing Amnesia The Dark Decent you get the emotion of total helplessness and terror where you are alone and left to survive in any way you can. The next time you play something like this and you are trembling with fear and shock, pause the game and look at your surroundings. You’re most likely in a safe room away from anything scary or horrible. Pleasant reminders of your past are strewn around and there are comforting images of various things calming you down. If there ever was a juxtaposition then this is it.
I don’t understand why people say games are immature or idiotic. Those people can go die in a hole for all I care, but seriously what other form of interactive entertainment has the power to make you feel emotions that you really should not? It’s in our human nature to not want to feel anything negative (unless you’re a total psycho), but why do we get so addicted to feeling stuff that we otherwise would avoid as much as possible? I’ll tell you why.
Life is boring. All your life is for the most part is routine and slight variations of that routine. You wake up, do the stuff you have to and then find some method with which you can amuse yourself with. We chose games for the pure purpose of doing things we aren’t supposed to do or don’t have the abilities to do. To allow something to influence your life like that is amazing and I’m thankful that I have the means and opportunities to experience things I wouldn’t do in a million years.
I am a gamer and I live in two worlds.