Friday, October 02, 2009

The Video Game of Life

A friend of mine posted this to his Facebook profile the other day,

Galaga, a successful game of the Golden Age, b...Image via Wikipedia

"Kids today, wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980 or before! With your Fancy Sony PlayStation video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'. ...You could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!"
Man, I never thought about that but it totally lends itself to my belief that instant gratification is killing the act of earning. I just spent some time in Lego Batman world last weekend where you die every few minutes and just regenerate. When I get stuck, I go online and find a walk-through that tells me what to do... totally unlike the arcade game mentality of our era where you knew that you were going to die and your goal wasn't to finish a game, but to earn a high score.

I want it all and I want it now and if I die or burn out or make a scene not getting it, then I'll just start over and over until I get it no matter how many times I die. Seems too dramatic, doesn't it? Where has the concept of strategy gone? I suppose that it's still there, except that the strategy is to continually die until you get it right. Hmmm. And, to be honest, I can't argue too much with such an emergent attitude. However, I still believe that it is best to have a game plan before jumping in with guns blazing. I never cared for having to do things over because I messed them up the first time. Are video games teaching this cavalier persona?

Last summer, I ran into a Galaga machine while out to dinner. I egged my buddy on enough to get him to drop a quarter into the game, head-to-head against my own quarter. I allowed him to go first and he made it to Level 3 before he died and stepped away from the game to allow for my first crack at killing the bees and bugs that came at me. When I hit Level 25 on my first life, I offered the rest of the game to a kid that'd been watching me play because my buddy and I had to split for the baseball game.

*blowing on knuckes* I still got it, but my fingers and wrists were pretty sore.

Like life, I suppose that I've seen the pattern of things that try to kill me. I can slide to the side and let them glide past or I can eliminate the threat. I can even allow them to capture me briefly so that I can become stronger through knowledge of their trade and their plans. Experience with having done this for my entire life has allowed for me to live longer... and the game is far from over.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]