By joshth 2 Comments
So I'm going to warn all of you right now, I'm writing this immediately after experiencing this, so my emotions may still be biasing how I write this.
All this month in college I'm taking a "J-term" class for the theatre department that's all about taking a book and adapting it to a play. I've done theatre all my life and I've really been enjoying the class. However today as it's the last day of the week, we had a special guest come to our class, a play-write. Now he's not the most famous in the world but he's published a few things and is an alumni of my college. He started by answering a bunch of our questions about how he got into a theatre and his process, etc. As he talked I really liked the guy and agreed with him on just about everything he was saying.
That is until he started to talk about inspiration. He was telling us about how he gets inspiration and what some of the best ways we can get inspired are. He ends this by going on a short unexpected rant. He says "And guys, make sure you put down the video games and all that nonsense, it only distracts you from the creative process." He ends it by making the joke "I mean come on, it's not like anybody ever got inspired by Halo 4". To this, some people laughed, others looked angry, and the rest indifferent.
I just sat there thinking to myself "You're wrong", "you are so wrong". I wanted to interrupt him and tell him the list of games that have inspired me throughout my short lifetime, all sorts of games and stories I'm sure he never bothered to listen about because they were "dumb games". I realize that this ignorance to games has been around for a long time now, and the argument of "are games art?" is long played out. But still I was sitting there seething, and yet I said nothing. I just let him continue on thinking something that I knew was wrong.
In my mind interactive media is will be the most important medium in the coming years. The idea of interacting with something instead of just having it play out in front of you creates a whole different kind of experience. I would have assumed that as someone in the theatre he would have understood this. In theatre you are always interacting with the piece, which allows the actors and the designers and the directors to become a very piece of the art. In my mind it is the same with games, and this creates all new avenue for inspiration. What would inspire a child learning about Egyptian history more: Reading about it as a piece of history, or being able to virtually pretend they are a part of that society, playing a peasant worker, merchant, slave master, all the way up to the Pharaoh himself. I certainly know which one I would pick. There are already so many innovative new ways people are using interactive media, surely even adults must be recognizing the importance.
And yet I sit here still angry. Why? What am I angry about? Is it that there are still hundreds of thousands of ignorant people who think that this medium is still nothing but a child's toy? Or is that even though I could list off ten games right now that prove this man wrong, I remain silent out of some social pressure or fear? I honestly do not know. What I do know is that this is not the first time something like this has happened to me. I don't know, I'm just... angry.
I suppose if anyone is has read all this and wants to make me feel any better, leave a comment saying a game that you think is inspirational and how it inspired you. I'm so tired of this. I just want to move past this.