258: Every Game Is the End of the World

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Every Game Is the End of the World

The romance of the breakdown of society that Armageddon provides is that the social order would be reset and the downtrodden could become heroes. Nick Halme posits that each game that we play creates our own private apocalypse.

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Perhaps the most entertaining videogame related read since RedEye left Edge magazine. Many thanks.

it made me drop a tear of truth *sob*

I live both lives.

Brilliant, can't really think of anything else to say apart from that. And a non-patronising well done.

That was an interesting read.

Also, the layout of the site was a pretty good surprise...

Brilliant article! I do love a good opinion on the escapism aspect of games... a very good read.

I don't get what all this marlarky abt the end of the world is. Also the article just seemed strange to me. Are we under attack for playing computer games?

Damn its like you read my mind. As a nerdy kid in high school I never felt like I fit in anywhere and how boring and mundane my world is. I'm just glad to see I'm not alone and that other people feel exactly the same way I do.

Good article, man.

A little too artsy for my taste, but it seems right on when it comes to the nerd culture. Though it implies a degree of solidarity that we don't possess. Nerd Vs. Nerd conflicts are some of the worst there are. Especially when an outcast becomes an outcast.

That said, it was a good read, and articulated a lot of things that are hard to put into words.

Very good read, its something I have often discussed with my friends...in games, we are someone, and someone who can do something...where as outside we may be Jo blogs.

Many thanks for the intresting read!

Interesting read, and reflects some of my thoughts on the nature of nerd-ism. I've never been able to articulate those thoughts in a satisfactory way, but you seem to have captured some of it. In the case of myself and my friends, we weren't video game nerds, we were D&D nerds, but the principles remain the same.

Very well said. I had a similar escape into WoW in high school except my friends sadly did not play. Being the only real nerd in my social circle meant that WoW was even more of an escape. At least there I had people who shared my interests. Fortunately, I have plenty of nerdy friends aside from the strictly online variety now but I swear those trips to Azeroth kept me sane in the waning days of my high school career.

That was... amazing...

It's always a pleasure to read something from someone who "gets it". I remember when I lived at home, my dad would be annoyed that I got annoyed or angry when playing a game; he'd say, well, "it's just a game". Then go and get annoyed or angry when his favourite sports team made a mistake...

A very nice read.

Nice one, dude. Made me feel a little bit more comfortable with myself. Thank you.

As for the division of gamers from those in other media (you used film students as an example) I am a film student. It's my desire to highlight and celebrate the powerful link between film and game. Not in dogshit renditions such as Resident Evil or Doom, but as two of the most important devices in what I call the "Five Manifestations of Art".

Illustrative Composition.
Music.
Structural Sculpture.
Motion Picture.
And Game.

There's gamers eveywhere, man. Even where you wouldn't think to look for em.
I'm going to make sure every gamer I know reads this article (just like introducing Brutal Legend to a young Heavy Metal fan).

Well, that was an interesting read. I don't agree with any of it in the slightest, but still very much interesting.

My god, four pages of pure awesomesauce.

It's amazing how you opened my eyes to my way of escaping this world in favour for another. Like most, I tried to fit in. I tried to pretend I like girls, was someone who was a heavy-clubber and some kind of out-door survivalist.

But I am not, I was born and raised in the DOS era, the love for gaming was nurtured by my own father, the game I grew up with was Wing Commander 3: Heart of the tiger. For me, it was an amazing benchmark in life. I enjoyed it immensely without any regret. I grew up with games and that love and passion never faded away. Giving up that for something that was alien for me turned out to be fruitless and I grasped back to my roots. Roots that were established long before I could utter one complex sentence.

So, I consider this article an amazing shout-out for anyone out there who thinks they are 'lesser' or not 'normal' in the eyes of the others. We are all humans and our difference is our power in life. If we all conformed to one main ideal this world would be bland and devoid of any creativity and the wonderful things that happened to us despite the bad shit.

Hands down the best writing I've seen on gaming as escapism, written for an audience of escapists via gaming. Moving, even. Hope to see more from you.

Straying Bullet:
My god, four pages of pure awesomesauce.

It's amazing how you opened my eyes to my way of escaping this world in favour for another. Like most, I tried to fit in. I tried to pretend I like girls, was someone who was a heavy-clubber and some kind of out-door survivalist.

But I am not, I was born and raised in the DOS era, the love for gaming was nurtured by my own father, the game I grew up with was Wing Commander 3: Heart of the tiger. For me, it was an amazing benchmark in life. I enjoyed it immensely without any regret. I grew up with games and that love and passion never faded away. Giving up that for something that was alien for me turned out to be fruitless and I grasped back to my roots. Roots that were established long before I could utter one complex sentence.

So, I consider this article an amazing shout-out for anyone out there who thinks they are 'lesser' or not 'normal' in the eyes of the others. We are all humans and our difference is our power in life. If we all conformed to one main ideal this world would be bland and devoid of any creativity and the wonderful things that happened to us despite the bad shit.

You sir have compleatly read my mind, these thoughts practically mirror my own

...and besides, your avatar is f**kin Garrus!! That kinda forces me to like you:P

VegetaPrinceofSaiyans:
You sir have compleatly read my mind, these thoughts practically mirror my own

...and besides, your avatar is f**kin Garrus!! That kinda forces me to like you:P

Aha, many thanks. And yes, Garrus is probaly a character that became more bad-ass as the game progressed into a sequel. I can give you the full-sized one if you want it!

Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs escapism of some form or another.

The problem is, that as long as the source of escapism "exists" it's seen as being normal and accepted.

Cosplayers at a con are looked down upon. Local news broadcasts treat them with a smarmy condescending tone. But the guys who take off their shirts and cover themselves with body paint to go to a football game are lauded as "true fans."

Sports fans and gamers (and I fit squarely into both camps) are exactly the same. Both are media for escapism and a chance to become part of something big. Anything that is used as escapism has to have, by definition, a source of unreality to it.

I'm glad this is the sort of thing that's getting pointed out, although what with it being here on The Escapist, it's kind of a "preaching to the choir" situation.

But still, kudos on a well-written and insightful article!

Completely agreed. I gave up gaming for awhile back in my mid-teens. I packed up my PS2 and started working out and really applying myself to school. I got a girlfriend, got A+ grades instead of high B's, and enjoyed the hell out of being fit. But eventually my friends came over with a few twelve-packs of soda and a brand new copy of Halo 2, and I haven't been able to get a damn thing done since. I can't bring myself to quit gaming like that again, it's ingrained into who I am, and to leave it behind would be leaving a part of myself behind, too.

This is the most insight article I have ever seen.

I play video games as a form of escape. The world is brash, harsh and downright gritty. And every game I play is diving into a different world. And I never regret a single minute of it.

Despite the games that I play, the world is indifferent. No matter what I do, I cannot adjust to any setting without letting go hobby.

At first I had no idea what he was talking about but by the end I was nodding my head to every paragraph. Nicely written :D

Very well written and compelling article! It's a very interesting take on escapism in general, and I agree that escapism is the same regardless of whether you're escaping into games, TV, books, sports, drunken parties, fast cars, music, drug trips, or romance. We're all fulfilling a need, and denying that the need exists does nothing. A need is a need. If we can't fulfill it through the rules, then we cheat. So many people think cheating is bad, but how can denying people their needs be any better? Not only is it heartless and arrogant, but it's also futile.

Interesting. I'm not sure nerdiness is still being seen as a negative. I mean, 'Revenge of the Nerds' came out in the eighties. Now everyone needs a nerd to explain to them how their computer works. We're still a subculture, but an accepted one.

There's nothing wrong with escapism, but in the end of the day it's just that, escapism. I don't remember if it was here on the Escapist (hey!) nor on some other site, probably Destructoid, where someone said, 'if you're over twenty-two and you spend a lot of time thinking about games and you're not paid to do it, you're a faliure.' Maybe a bit harsh, but fundamentally true. (My reaction to that was, 'Yeah - maybe I need to try to get paid.')

Gaming is the only art-based subculture where the observes have no desire to become the creators. Everyone who reads a lot fancies they could write the next best-selling novel. Every film fan takes film classes and dreams of Cannes. Every big music fan has been in a garage band once. Gamers may sometimes dream to create games, but only as a completely hypothetical scenario - oh, if I were to make my game, it'd be the perfect game, it'd be like this and this and that etc. But the indie gamemaker that which every nerd gaming nerd can aspire to be - is the exception to the norm. (I'm a pretty lame programmer, but I've decided to try to create a game at least once - how can I claim to understand games otherwise?)

There's nothing wrong with escapism, again, but one must make sure it's only that, escapism. Whether you waste away your weekend over playing MW2 or watching soccer matches or reading comics or reading books or actually working cataloguing all of your company's accounting files - all of those things are pointless on a grander scale. And that's not a problem, again, as long as you keep that in mind. To become a gamer is no way to challenge the norm - it is merely a way to take on the norm in another way, to replace the drone of the faceless office worker with the drone of the fictitious level 57 death knight.

I want to become a writer. I want to create something that future generations will enjoy and think, 'so this is what people of this generation thought'. I want to become something different because I can't stand being just another faceless piece of the machinery. Now, being a faceless piece of the machinery gets a bad rep. Plenty of people are faceless pieces of the machinery, and they're perfectly happy. They work, they have fulfilling careers, they get married and love their spouses and children. But it's not a life for me, not any more thann becoming a mountain climber would be.

I am also a gamer, and no matter how often gaming lets me down, I remain a gamer. I've let my identity be built about that. But I know that if I rely only on being a gamer to leave my mark on the world., I'll fail. For as much as I love gaming, as a subculture and as a form of art appreciation and as a philosophy, in the end it's just a game. And there's nothing to it if all you want is to play games. It's certainly no more defensible or damnable than being a nice eight to five worker and giving it all for the company - your sales reports won't change the world any more than your list of kills. But one must not mistake the different for the superior - it's just as bad as the mistake most 'normal' people make of mistaking the different for the inferior.

This post is not as well written as I had expected and I'm not sure if I got my point across or if I even had one to begin with, but my browser is hanging when I'm writing and I get to see this box being filled very slowly after I type, so that's all you're getting today. Cheerio.

While I'm not necessarily the stereotype nerd or geek, I can definitely relate to many of the things in this article. I loved to imagine that I was in the world created by Tolkien, fighting alongside Aragorn at Helm's Deep or that I was a Jedi protecting the galaxy from some evil. Those things allowed me, along with anyone else who felt as I did, to do things I wasn't capable of doing: become the hero, defeat the villain, save the day. Video games do the same for me once I got my first console, a Playstation. Although I never had any of the big RPG titles, I was still able to imagine myself in the games I played and I owe a lot of hours of enjoyment to those people who work tirelessly to produce another title that will keep up until the wee hours of the morning to find out how the story ends.

Brilliant, and well written. I agree totally, I'm definitely in a gamers group of people. We've known each other 11 years, and its what we do best as a team. Our poison is RTSs though, rather than WoW.

Although I will say I do have a yearning for the ladies that my friends don't. Unfortunately if a game loses my attention, I'll snap back to reality, and think, "Shouldn't I be out, meeting those girls that I want so much? ...No, I'll do some other time."

Damn, he got to level 36 on Galaga with 3 coins?!? The highest I ever got was level 25, maybe with like 6 coins.

While it's an interesting opinion, the connection to "the end of the world" theme of the issue is tenuous at best. Surely an article such as this -on the merits of videogame escapism- could find a more fitting issue in a magazine called The Escapist.

As I used to say, I was a nerd before being a nerd was cool, and my game of choice was sometimes video games, but actually, it was Dungeons and Dragons- the edition after the three softcover books in a box, the original blue cover edition, bought at Spencer Gifts in 1978- the same year Space Invaders was released.

Sadly, Dungeons and Dragons happened to be better at keeping my attention, and my money, than Space Invaders did. Though I certainly spent a lot of quarters on it, D&D (and later, AD&D) remains my first nerd love.

I love the article. Maybe its just a sop to my pride, telling me that, even though my outside relationships failed and my career fell down, it's ok to escape, to build my own world.

I like that he defends nerdy pursuits as valid, even though others may think it looks odd, and finds merit in what if often considered a "time-sink" or a waste.

I mean, WoW giving teenaged boys a chance at a rite of passage? That's deeper than many people's perception of it.

And I know that may be an exaggeration, but it was still beautifully written. Thank you.

That was brilliant. No sarcasm or anything. That was really good.

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