Walking with the Dead - A 15th Anniversary Retrospective

Walking with the Dead - A 15th Anniversary Retrospective

It was fifteen years ago today that it happened - the first installment of Garwulf's Corner went live on Diabloii.net. I got the honour of becoming one of the first video games issues columnists in the English language.

Read Full Article

I was hoping this article would trigger the same reaction as Marks described it provoking originally, but I guess not. Perhaps the audience of the Escapist is older that the original readership, and have already faced this question. Heck, maybe they also saw American Beauty and had the same epiphany.

Maybe they're all just upset that the date offer has been rescinded.

I'd say that it was very much an article of its' time. The late-90's and early-00's was the time when the US and large parts of Western Europe struggled with the "Suburbia Syndrome", the idea that having a stable life without major worries was somehow dulling people, that stable employment and a nice home would somehow strip you of your ambitions and make you end up a "drone" or "walking dead". As someone coming into my teens in the early 00's I remember the discussion we'd have, my friends an I, inspired by movies like American Beauty, Office Space and the Beach and music like The Offspring and Greenday, all of it critical of suburban middle class life. Our visions were to see the world, to experience and to "live life to the fullest", to break the norm and be outside the system. To not get bogged down in a 9-5 job, not end up in a suburban house with a mortgage and yesteryear's family sedan. This ideal of not ending up a "drone" or a "walking dead" would persist until 2008.

Then Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, the US banking system collapsed on its' own subprime mortgage system and dragged all of the Western World down with it. Suddenly, people were losing jobs left and right, people were forced out of their home and for those of us, like me, who were in our early 20's suddenly saw our futures becoming highly uncertain. No longer was the vision of the good life to go backpacking in South-Western Asia and Australia for half a year in-between short term jobs and "projects". No, the vision was suddenly to have a stable job, to be able to buy a suburban home and to not have to worry about your economy from day to day.

I am sure Marks' article was powerful and profound when it was first written in 2001, but in the 15 years since the Western World has changed profoundly. Today it is living to be able to sit down and "waste" time playing computer games, it is living to relax in your living room with a good movie and your significant other or good friends. The stability that seemed so dreadful in the early-00's is now considered both precious and fleeting, and living is to enjoy it while it lasts. Because tomorrow you might lose your job, or the stock market crashes again, or you get all your benefit slashed or someone goes postal at your school or workplace.

Gethsemani:
...No longer was the vision of the good life to go backpacking in South-Western Asia and Australia for half a year in-between short term jobs and "projects". No, the vision was suddenly to have a stable job, to be able to buy a suburban home and to not have to worry about your economy from day to day... Today it is living to be able to sit down and "waste" time playing computer games, it is living to relax in your living room with a good movie and your significant other or good friends...

/thread

I wish I could go back to where my job paid me enough to live comfortably and be living-dead in front of games again, instead of spending every day scared and struggling to provide for my family.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here