Real life sucks. Ever since evolution saddled us with self-awareness, we've been wallowing in a mire of existential angst. Why are we here? What does it all mean? What's the fucking point? Life is complicated enough without the added burden of unanswerable questions plaguing our every thought. Add to that our inherent ability to feel guilt, shame and paranoia and you begin to wonder how we ever make it through the day.
So then, how to cope with the problem of being a living, breathing human being? The answer, of course, is videogames. Of all the brightly coloured baubles we have to distract us from our slow slide into the grave, videogames are the most consistently engaging. Sure, HBO has been a worthy contender - The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Boardwalk Empire, The Wire, Band Of Brothers – but it’s videogames that are the true king of entertainment. And here’s why:
Achievements and trophies provide a digital library of every gaming triumph you’ve ever accomplished. You simply don’t get that with films. Managing to quash an awkward boner when Jessica Rabbit saunters into view is surely deserving of some kind of accolade? But no, all I’m left with is a nasty pang of self-loathing. Rubbish.
The iconic videogame characters who we love and cherish will never disappoint or disgust us like their real-life celebrity counterparts.
Mario will never place a shotgun in his mouth and pull the trigger at the thought of his music becoming part of some bland corporate mechanism. And it's highly unlikey that Master Chief will ever be accused of child molestation. The iconic videogame characters who we love and cherish will never disappoint or disgust us like their real-life celebrity counterparts. Apart from Rayman. He’s a total cunt.
Ignore the naysayers. Videogames bring people together. And not just to shoot each other’s faces off in Call Of Duty. Bejeweled Blitz, Pokemon, Boom Blox, Animal Crossing – these are just a tiny handful of games whose creativity has enchanted all ages and crossed cultural divides. Videogames are even challenging the assumption that art is a passive experience for the audience. Beat THAT Tate Modern.
In no other medium can you realise your geekiest fantasies with such heart-pounding gusto. Every niche is catered for, from the heady heights of saving the universe (Halo), all the way down to your run-of-the-mill fishing simulator (Sega Bass Fishing). Wish fulfilment has never been so accessible.
Despite its rise in popularity, gaming is still a relatively esoteric pastime. One of the last and most explosive bastions of anti-videogame ignorance in the UK, The Daily Mail has often demonised gaming culture. But it’s okay. It really is. Being reviled by the Daily Mail has become a badge of honour. At least Ricky Gervais seems to think so...
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