Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Inaugural Post with Obligatory Self-Deprecating Commentary on What Games Mean to Me
When I was young, nobody wanted to play games with me because I was a serious cheater. Like, a rule-inventor, a rule-breaker, an across-the-room-board-game-thrower, and an all-around bad sport. It's like I took out all my frustrations with the world in games. For a while the only game people wanted to play with me was Pictionary. I smoked everyone's asses so hard with how fast I could draw, so friends always wanted to be on my team. Don't even joke with me about Pictionary. One time my team won because I drew three lines and they instantly guessed the word 'jugular.'
Then there was a period of time where my brother and I would play Crystal Castles on the Amiga he built after school. We'd eat pizza and have friends over and it was a fun weekly middle school ritual that didn't involve getting hazed or humiliated, like most middle school rituals. That was a good time. That also tells you that I am an Olds (TM), so let's move on from that!
After a long period of time, I eased up on the whole silverback gorilla attitude I used to have about games. As someone who worked in film production for years, I always kind of thought games existed in a different world. Now, I've come to understand that games and film are like awesome first cousins who don't see each other all that often, but when they get together at Thanksgiving they're, like, "What is UP, bro?!" and then they help out in the kitchen and get stoned in the garage after dinner and sneak out to go drinking in the woods with the neighbor's kid, comics (They're friends on Facebook). And then they come back at like 2 am and eat the rest of the marshmallow sweet potatoes out of the fridge. Right? Awesome first cousins.
So once I figured that out, my head asploded. The world of games opened WAY up for me. The art, the stories, the challenges. Suffice it to say that now, when I talk to my students about games, I'll be all, like, "You guys, how the shit do you get past the second boss in Shadow of Colossus, because seriously I can't make that guy hang on AT ALL," and they'll be all, like, "ANDREA PLAYS SHADOW OF COLOSSUS!" And then I get a warm fuzzy feeling because I feel stimulated by creativity and embraced by community, kind of like how the cat in the photo above (my friend's cat Meowly Ringwald) clearly feels embraced by those underpants.
So I'm going to talk on this blawg about playing games from a bit of an unusual perspective. When I say 'How to succeed,' that's what success means to ME. It might mean that I make it through one frigging level of Mario without dying at all, or it might mean that I laugh out loud at a derpy joke in Witcher 3. It's going to be messy, trust me. But, you guys, I played Journey all the way through all by myself, so that's gotta count for something, right?