It’s almost like we planned it. Deep in the grips of both the post-holiday entertainment shortage and the writer’s strike comes issue 134 of The Escapist, “Make Your Own Fun.”

It’s at once a suggestion and an invitation. A challenge, and an offer. Make your own fun, we say. Suggesting you’re free to do just that and hinting we might be able to show you the way.

One of the dirty secrets of the entertainment business is most of us who make entertainment think you, who consume it, are idiots. We question your intelligence. We wonder why, with a world of knowledge at your fingertips, you watch videos of stupid girls doing stupid things. We muse that without us, the hustlers of your candy, you’d be lost.

We’re wrong, of course. Long before entertainers became the American ruling class, there was still entertainment. American music has its roots in the entertainment created by the people, folks songs and work shanties derived to ease long hours of toil. Ask the original songwriter of “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” if he could imagine an empire constructed on the back of his enslaved soul and he’d probably laugh. Then keep on singing.

But entertainment goes back further than that. Further than America, even. To stories fathers told sons, to hypothetical arguments over the origination of the sun, to cave paintings. The human animal is first and foremost a creative animal. Creative in war, creative in commerce and creative in how we entertain ourselves and others. I imagine early man standing at one end of the cave doing wooly mammoth impressions to the howls of his fellow cave dwellers.

If they could make their own fun, so can we, and with games, most of the work is already done for us. In issue 134 of The Escapist, “Make Your Own Fun,” Jim Rossignol looks at armies of citizen soldiers, using simulators to hone their skills; Philip Miner points to games’ flaws as sources of unintended fun; Cat Rambo casts her lens on machinima, the art of making movies from games; Mark DeLoura examines the future of user-created content; and Dana Massey talks to Raph Koster, creator of the world’s first truly user-driven MMOG.

And if none of the above satisfies, you can make your own magazine in our forums. Enjoy!

Russ Pitts

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