The Day After

The Day After
Every Game Is the End of the World

Nick Halme | 15 Jun 2010 12:14
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Nerds are a mutation of the norm, and we are tied together by the same syndrome. We go to places where we are not weak and make ourselves strong. Wherever our will falls, this world or that, it is never fake. The progress we make anywhere is our progress, no matter what anyone tells us. Snap back to reality. Get a life. Turn that damn thing off. Go outside. Stop living in your head. You have a problem. You're being antisocial. You're wasting your time.

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But we have tried a drug that these people haven't, and they can't speak to it. It is a prescription that makes the world we find so hard to deal with crumble for just so long. But we do not take hedonistic respite, because our drug is gaming. When the world falls down, we build a new one. Again and again we learn the rules of new realities, and we give it our all.

The wince you experience from every ship lost on that starry black Galaga screen is part and parcel to having stepped up to the plate only to strike out. It's you against yourself, and the aliens are just in the way. It takes a certain amount of courage to own up to that loss, and to put in another coin and start from the top. When you can't pay the bills, when you get another failing grade, when you ask and she says no, you realize that you want control. The realities we find in videogames, games of all sorts, challenge us to find out what we would do if the only thing stopping us was our own will to continue and to learn.

So I say to all the gamers out there, all the loners and the nerds, the lock-key kids and the poor kids in raggedy clothes full of angst putting coins in the machines - you are different, but the escapism is not wrong. In a world where we are so many bobbing heads in the crowd, the most constructive thing we can do with our problems is to make the kinds of worlds we want for ourselves. Even if these worlds are temporary, the effect that they have on us and the real world we return to are not. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.

Nick Halme is a no-good belligerent who has, through the skilled employment of insomnia, staggered into a world of writing and game development. He currently works for the suspiciously talented folks at Relic Entertainment.

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