Gaming: The Unexplainable
I’ve recently had a run in with quite a few “non-gamers” these days. Being the passionate gamer that I am, I tried to explain to people why I deem gaming as an invaluable asset in my life. Well, judging from the reaction I’ve received, I pretty much failed. It’s a tough thing to do, this explaining of the significance of videogames. I tried everything, but I just could not succeed. The non-gamers are just too blinded by their own ignorance that it’s nearly impossible to make any headway. But then I realised something. It can’t be done.
I first tried to explain the significance of gaming narrative, giving mention to games such as BioShock Infinite, Telltale’s Walking Dead, The Last of Us, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Spec Ops The Line and Witcher 2. All of these games have exceptionally great narratives that would rival any book or movie. This didn’t stick though because the non-gamers would just brush me off as insane because how can a thing where you sit around on a couch pressing buttons be so story heavy? We all know that they have absolutely no idea how deep this well goes, but I still found it somewhat frustrating.
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These games aren’t like a movie because in a movie you have no control and the whole thing is over in two hours. In a game you have control of the characters and it’s more like a journey rather than a simple telling of a story with a bunch of visual effects. The games I’ve mentioned are long as hell and can’t be finished in a mere hour or two. It’s something you do for a long time and you spend much more time with the characters and interacting with the world.
Books come close, but they miss that one important thing that gaming has. The experience. Show me one book where you can walk into a room and be a complete badass, shooting people in the head and just getting that rush of adrenaline. Books don’t give you that satisfaction. Sure, you can imagine it, but that’s how far you can go.
I’m well aware that these mediums are vastly different and they all have their own merits, but people just love to compare gaming with them because that’s all they know. If I can be a little controversial, I would say that gaming is superior because of a ton of reasons, but I might just have a slight bias.
But the thing that really hit me is that gaming just can’t be explained. I can’t accurately describe that thrill I get when I pull of a perfect powerslide and drive-by in GTA V. Even trying to explain that in text sounds a little mundane. That feeling you get when you do something incredible in a game isn’t supposed to be explained. It’s a primordial instinct you feel within your gut that just sends all kinds of chemicals from your brain. You can try your damn hardest to try and explain to someone how amazing you felt, but you will just be at a loss for words.
Gaming is something you have to experience. I’ve fought the urge to abduct those non-gamers and strap them into my couch so that they can just play a game that is so utterly fantastic that their brains will explode. It’s a show-not-tell type of affair. It’s almost like skydiving. You can explain all you want about how it feels, but that person wouldn’t know because they haven’t jumped off a plane and plummeted to the ground. That’s the same as a person never experiencing a fight with a Handyman with low ammo.
So I’ve stopped trying to explain to people why I think gaming is great. They just have to experience it for themselves to understand it. But I will say one thing. My love for it can’t be described.