What does gaming have to do with a blog about readerly and writerly things I hear you ask? Well, take a stroll through the thoughts of Furious George and tell me if you can’t find the similarities.
To begin with, I make no apologies for my erratic writing. If you want to read my professional style of writing, get a job with me and ask to read my professional style of writing. This is my writing for fun. If you can’t follow it, have a beer and try again. Repeat until successful. Oh, I also swear. Cry to Mum if you don’t like it.
I’ve been spending my downtime playing Elders Scrolls Online. A truly beautiful game, filled with hacking, slashing, spell casting and dancing on the spot. I’ve been really enjoying the side story quests as well as the main story (with two particular characters voiced by Michael Gambon and John Cleese).
I retired to bed late one night last week, and upon walking in to the bedroom I proclaimed in a mighty voice ‘Tonight, I saved a king from eternal peril, babe’. My girlfriend looked up from her book with a big smile and replied ‘I’m so proud of you’. So worth it.
I think the thing people miss when they see gamers, is that we’re actually moving at a mile a minute. Well, our mind is, anyway. is it any different to when you read a book? Or the newspaper? Or watch a movie? You’re thinking, your brain is going sparkle sparkle.
Sometimes I doubt your commitment to sparkle motion:
For me, the movie Donnie Darko is all about irony.
I love the stuff. Like juice.
Let’s take the average guild leader in World of Warcraft (WoW) and the average Executive Officer and point out the similarities.
He is, at any given time, giving instruction to at least 10 people when leading a raid. The whole process is actually quite amazing. You see teamwork at its finest, gaming the way it was meant to be. Gamers protecting other gamers while being healed by them, some casting spells while others draw heat from evil fuckers. If you dig this stuff, this is like the holy grail of D&D. In my opinion anyway, other people have their views.
The whole thing will take an hour, maybe two, maybe three. The immense amount of co-operation blows your mind. The leader of the pack, the whole time, giving clear instruction on what to do next and how to do it. He sees the target, assesses the situation, and using the tools he has available, he attacks the target as strategically as possible.
See the similarities?
I think it’s funny.
But really cool. You can practice your skills as an Executive Officer playing WoW. Unless you’re this guy:
Gamers involve themselves in a moving storyline. Remember how many times you wished a movie didn’t end? Or you wished a book had a hundred more pages? This GAME LASTS FOR AGES MAN. IT JUST DOESN’T FREAKIN’ END!
Ok. WoW – I’m done with that one.
I love the stories that you find in games. I especially loved the StarCraft stories. The Human Race, or ‘Terran’ had finally been wicked enough to work together and do something outward not inward, and had big ol’ flying ships in space and wicked fat guns of glory and pain. We could travel in hyperspace, etc, you know the stuff.
The Zerg are the bad fuckers. Typical storyline here, you get your third party soon. But Zerg we like the aliens, from Aliens, you know? Except they had all kinds of other bad sons of guns rockin’ in their houses too. They made buildings by mutating together, its typical alien business. Gooey and that.
Then, there are the Protoss. The all-powerful race, They were blue and what not, and tall with spindly arms but still looking BOSS. Big shoulder pads, massive lightsabre thingies coming out of each arm when they wanted. They were my favourite because their defensive turrets could attack land AND sky, making quite the effective early upper hand. If you know what I mean.
This storyline captivated me. A story of love and hate, a story of betrayal and unlikely alliances. A story that sees a man named Jim Raynor fall in love with a girl named Sarah Kerrigan, a story that sees them torn apart in a dramatic turn of events. A story that completely redefines what unconditional love is just as equally as it describes horror, violence and awesome explosions. A story that grabs your heart and doesn’t let go.
It’s still going. The first game was released in 1998 and the (probably) last game will be released sometime this year or next year… and people think waiting a year for the next series of their favourite TV show is hard.
I’m a Sci-Fi addict, as are millions of other people around the world. How could I keep away from that story line?
Another example – Mass Effect. So far I’ve been through the game 4 times, and not once have I gotten the same storyline. Well, ok, maybe I lie, minor story lines crossed paths occasionally through the expansive storyline very different from the last game but were never the same. I mean to say the things you’ve done differently before, will affect what you do in the future, no matter how that scene played out before when you were a different character. It’s absolutely amazing to be PART of the story. Not just observing or comprehending.
The storyline for Mass Effect should seriously win an award. I put it well above Star Wars. I know people will have my head for that comment, but I found Star Wars to be a movie. Not a game.
Actually I won’t write about it. I just wrote a whole chunk of writing about it, I removed it. I will however, implore you to do the following:
Instead of spending money on books and DVD’s this year, go and buy an XBox and try to have an open mind. Mass Effect is just fucking outstanding.
Not only do you become emotionally attached like you do when reading book or watching a movie, you get to blast the bejeebers out of baddies, pimp your dude like a car that needs some pimpin’, and drink LOADS of coffee. DOUBLE BOOM WOOP
Fallout 3. Now there was a game…
The game that stole my soul.
Emerging from a nuclear vault underneath Wasteland Washington DC, came a young lad called Bucket. He had a bright green mohawk and looked like a little like Tin-Tin.
Never before have I been so involved in gameplay. Never before has something taken me on such a journey.
Fallout 3 took a copy of Washington DC, and is set in a time after a world war when everyone blew the shit out of everything ever. Now humans are recovering. It’s about 100 or something years after it I think… Anyway, the objective is to make a living for yourself in the disturbingly decayed yet astonishingly beautiful landscape while either helping or hindering the Non Player Characters (NPCs).
After going through the basic tutorials and eventually ending up in the middle of the (completely obliterated) National Mall, I walked from the Museum to the Lincoln Memorial and had a snooze. I ended up stealing Lincolns Repeater (for those of you that don’t know – a Rifle) and was popping raiders and bandits everywhere.
In another part of the world (took me two days of actual game play to finally get there, with all my exploring) I found a massive, MASSIVE aircraft carrier. People had made it in to their city, their sanctuary from the mutants and horrors outside. They had medical researchers, they had consistency and civility, and they had it all.
So I shot the place up. I took names. I took them all. Every one. Every single one of them. Dead.
Except the kids. I noted that Fallout game makers don’t let you kill kids. I like that. I still tried, mind you. Let me tell you. I threw grenades, I made bottle cap mines, I had explosives to the nines for Christs sake. If the game were any more realistic it would have ACTUALLY sunk the ship. It killed everyone else in the room, their heads and other assorted body parts scattered around the place as if a drunken contemporary artist had PMS and suddenly broke up with her boyfriend and lost her job and found her cat died because it ate the last thing in the fridge which was 9 months old anyway.
The next time I played the game, I was nice. I made myself the hero of their town. Little did they know, 5.8 something megabytes of saved data also said they were no longer NPCs.
I love that games can do that.
This is something my mother, along with a lot of my friends have never been able to comprehend. Going back to my original ‘Sparkle sparkle’ comment – people have often asked me how I can sit in the same place and stare at a screen for hours on end.
I usually reply with something like ‘Well, it’s not uncommon for people to read a book all day, it’s not uncommon to sit in front of the television all day’. All the while I’m thinking:
We’re not just ‘staring at a screen for hours’ and as a matter of fact, that’s so far from it. Amidst the fun-size chocolate bar wrappers and empty coffee mugs, there is a mind in over drive. Escapism at its finest. We are experiencing a fantasy life, and we are loving every second of it.
So the next time those of you who don’t like that your kid has been in their room all day playing that ‘stupid game’, instead of telling him or her to go read a book or something, actually try to get involved yourself? Ask them about it. See how much they light up. You never know, you might turn in to a level 80 Dragon Slayer in no time.
Who is Furious George?
I’m Furious George.
I drink coffee and write lengthy eccentric pieces of work more for my amusement than yours, but if you enjoy it, power to you.
I play guitar, I sing, I play video games, I read, I like to walk the dog, I enjoy the pub, I love heavy metal and jazz. I don’t like stupid people.
I am a self proclaimed expert on life.
If at any stage I offend you, or you disagree with something I say – good.
You can keep an eye out for more from Furious George over the next few months, he might pop past with a new post.