I was all set to write about something else today. It can be pushed to next week. I felt compelled to write something else today, however brief it may be.
The state of the world feels like it is in turmoil. There are a lot of people out there hurting. There are people out there hurting and driven to do terrible things because of it. This begets more hurting.
But I’m already off the subject.
When I read things in the news, I feel hopeless, lost, and impotent to do anything that will have a positive impact, even in the smallest way. Inversely, this makes me think about all the good things I’ve done in games. How I made my town the best it could be in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. How I saved the little sisters in BioShock. How I took out all those viruses in Dr. Mario. How I restored nature to the land in Okami.
In the grand scheme of life, these accomplishments may be inconsequential, but they allowed me to make changes for the better, changes I could see with my own eyes. I did something and it had a positive effect and I saw that and perhaps that made me feel even remotely better about some of those hopeless feelings.
I’ve never much felt that games allow people an escape, but I’m sure for some they are. For me they are a way to explore. They allow me to do things I may never get the opportunity to do in reality, in this case, make real changes that could impact people (or creatures) for the better.
It may not change anything in reality, but it does help me feel less at loose ends. Less like I am powerless.
In Okami, you restore nature to the land bit by bit, and it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in a game. Using the Bloom brushstroke on withered trees to bring them back to life. Feeding the creatures you come across to increase their happiness (and your own). It was a beautiful game about bringing something wonderful back to the land.
I’ll never forget what it was like to feed any given animal, to sit across the large flat rock from them while offering up food. The camera spinning gently while cherry blossom petals float around you.
It’s nothing short of magic.
After reading the news last night, I felt hopeless. Things happened, senseless things, things out of my control, and sometimes I don’t know what to do with myself. Concentrating on anything can be difficult in times like that. But to be able to put myself into a game and to try to be constructive and productive, albeit in a digital format, is helpful.
At least to me.
I’m sorry if this didn’t make sense, but I was thinking how awfully grateful I am for games that allow me to make a difference. I know games aren’t real, but the positive effects I feel after accomplishing something that helps the world within the game, those positive effects are real for me.
I hope everyone has a safe weekend. Please be kind to one another, friends.