I Don’t Need Endgame or Game of Thrones!
Let’s face it, you can’t go anywhere today and not hear about Game of Thrones or The Avengers: Endgame. I get it - folks are starved for quality entertainment. Viewers desperately want to be shocked by unseen plot twists and be excited by kinetic action sequences. The dragon’s fire or The Captain picking up Thor’s hammer sequences have surely not let down those who waited for the big moment. Then, comes the customary discussion with friends and/or co-workers, where all share their disbelief!
Boring! Don’t get me wrong, movies/cable series/Netflix shows are all very entertaining. My issue is my lack of involvement in the activity. The idea of just endless screen time with no interaction makes me sad. I enjoy interaction and need it to be part of my entertainment. This is where I totally understand video gamers. They control their destiny! It is only by player interaction for the story to continue. Gamers feel like they are the center of the story and that every action has consequences. My thoughts on this type of entertainment?
Boring! Video games force you down a prearranged path to a predetermined conclusion. Great video games give players the illusion of being in control of the story, but that is the farthest from the real truth someone can get. I believe that most video games are the death of imagination. Players control various features of the character, but all choices lack free will. Pick only from the preset choices, without variation. Most times, power players create clones of each other, focusing only on killing prowess!
Only Role Playing Games, or RPGs, offer that open-ended character creation. Additionally, game masters are not forced into the same path of story as other GMs, and they are encouraged to create a group experience by allowing the players to affect the story. Great game masters create an environment of collaboration and creativity. Great players react to great game masters, creating an experience, a unique moment. This excites me. I can be the Jon Snow character, and choose different! In a way, I am the author of my actions and the audience to the interaction between all the players.
Not every game is Game Of Thrones, but every game is mine, and my unique moment. Gaming is part improvisation, part following rules, and all the events are controlled by the game engine, the random of the dice, and the game master. It is the magical interaction between story, acting, random chance, and art. So, I don’t feel left out because I haven’t seen Game of thrones, I get to game every week! Brandon Chee, my Monk specializing in Cooking Kung Fu, gets to seek his fortune. He is not the King of the North, but each interaction is a surprise and I look forward to my next chance to free him in his 5th edition world of D&D.
For me, immersion is perfect entertainment. I’m not alone, records are being set for the size of the gaming community, and gaming conventions like GenCon and Dragoncon are setting attendance records every year. The act of staring at a screen is inherently antisocial. Gaming is the best of both worlds: entertainment and interaction. Gaming is the perfect family time, friends hang-out, or a great way to spend an evening. Do yourself a favor - go game, you’ll thank me!