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Gaming: The Hard Edge of Sanity?

Submitted by on Tuesday, 24 November 2009No Comment


With apologies to Chuck Palahniuk:

“I see gamers as the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. Damn it, an entire generation playing rubbish film tie-ins and redneck shallow shooters on cheap consoles riddled with design faults… Advertising spend has us chasing weak downloadable content and random accessories, working jobs we hate so we can buy s**t that should have come as standard. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is an online war. Our great depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television and hyped game previews to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and high score heroes, and rock stars, but we won’t. We’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very p**sed off. But the question is – what are we going to do about it?”

This is how I see it…

Gaming and gamers have been much maligned. But where or what else is there that allows for interactive fantasy wish fulfilment that can transport people to improbable worlds and/or heightened sensations, in situations far beyond that which most people will ever find themselves in real life?

As the media knee jerk storm around Modern Warfare 2’s ‘No Russian’ terrorist sim level rumbles on and many MPs continue to look to blame games as a root cause of society’s woes, surely only the feeblest of minds could possibly be turned to commit wrong-doing based on a virtual experience? And for every so called ‘evil’ corrupting influence, there are a new wave of wonder generating experiences that enable the soul of the player to take flight in ways no other medium can hope to match.

For me games – and PS3 games in particular – are the ‘Hard Edge of Sanity’. Doorways through which we can act out the fantastic, achieve the unlikely and generally surpass our ‘real’ existence in every possible way.

Gaming is evolving – we are at a time of unprecedented creativity, of boundaries being explored as never before. The PS3 is the key element to this exhibiting an unsurpassed and ever more diverse range of titles. Much of this is thanks to the excellent PlayStation Network (PSN) that is proving to be every bit the equal of shop bought titles in terms of quality, and they appear light years ahead of the competition in variety.

Sony need to be applauded for championing the ‘Play, Create, Share’ ethos first seen in Little Big Planet, next in ModNation Racers and arguably in the superb Gravity Crash too. Even mainstream gaming is beginning to embrace this unstoppable momentum. I’ve been delighted by the creation option in Lego Indiana Jones 2. These titles, I believe are just the beginning – the real excitement has to be the contemplation of where we go from here?

I for one am looking forward to old age. Surely as The Matrix has showed us, there is a way for us to ‘live on’ beyond the limitations of our mortal bodies. All we need is a carbon neutral way to keep our brains functioning en mass, connected to a future evolution of the PlayStation.

Gaming is the future, I’ll see you in there – somewhere…