Long, philosophical post ahead. A bit of rambling, thrown in.
When I was younger, I loved playing video games. My most favoritest ever is the Halo series, when it was run by Bungie, not Microsoft. Oh, there’s a huge difference between the two! Halo created a story of humanity. After the first game came out, they authorized a series of books that tied in to the game, fleshed out backstories and such, and gave personhood to a first-person shooter that normally isn’t there. Take note, Disney, when you deleted the expanded Star Wars universe, you ruined the franchise. Why? Because you can tell a better story in a book rather than terrible movies, and people related to those books!
Honestly, after the Halo books, I was hooked. I read them in college. I’ve had an open homage to the game ever since if no one ever noticed.
Being able to relate to fictional characters in a game, wow that is pretty crazy, right? And I definitely did. At the end of Halo 3, I was sad because I wouldn’t get to interact with those people anymore. The video game people. I had been with some of them since childhood! It is a big deal!
The last Halo game that Bungie made was the best, called Reach. I won’t spoil it, but you are a human team fighting an invasion. It is a prequel, we already know we lost. But unlike Star Wars a Solo story, the conclusions weren’t written in catchy one-liners about the Kessel run. Reach sucked me in, then devastated me, then offered the hope from Tolkien, a eucatastrophe, as Kreeft puts it.
I cried at the end of that game. I’m a dirty civilian, but I felt a tiny portion of what combat camaraderie would be like.
THAT, Reader-land, is the mark of a great story.
I got made fun of for it by my co-workers, but I still think it is the best. The reason is that it embraced human nature, and we ARE HUMAN! Sure, the game is about a genetically altered group of humans fighting off an overwhelming alien invasion, but the point is that it is humanity! I always say it’s ok to play violent video games if you are fighting the Nazis, or aliens. Because humanity! These games did a great job of it. They also have the most kickass video game music!
So why? I mean, that’s a cool story bro, but so what? Well, Reader-land, I’ll tell you. Contrary to public perception, and unless there’s someone out there in space, the only people reading this are human beings.
Yup, not liberal or conservative, not Christian or Muslim, not atheist or agnostic or shinto or any of that, but human. This means that something that touches my consciousness as a human should be explored and shared, because we can reason and kittens can’t! That is why we matter more than kittens, Oregon. We have emotions that are far deeper than instinct and that bind us together as humanity! It’s incredible to think about, more mysterious than the science saying we are made of stardust! Another great Rush song reference, btw.
I bring all this up because we should be aware of emotions. I don’t mean search your feelings, that is heretical bullcrap. I mean be aware of your own and others emotions. It used to be called empathy, but right now no one knows what that means. It’s the reason I deleted my Twitter, and took a break from Social media. What was happening to me was the loss of the awareness of emotions.
Let’s play a game. Have you ever been right on the Internet? I have. But I still lost. Why? Because I didn’t engage the person, just the facts. Facts are important, but as Dave my brother in law pointed out, it’s not the right way to engage. When Ben Shapiro says Facts don’t care about your feelings, what he has done is dehumanized the opposition and beat them over the head with a baseball bat of rhetoric. It sounds cool, but it doesn’t change anyone’s mind. The reason is that facts are concrete things in a place and time, whereas humans have more dimensions than that, we have emotions. I hear emotions get in the way, but they also are a part of what makes us human. Heck, I have some facts that would hurt Shapiro’s feelings, but I won’t hit him over the head with them because he won’t change.
So when you are debating online, or in person, don’t forget that the one thing you share with your opponent is humanity. That should be a great starting point to understand each other.
I’m the first guilty one, because sometimes the thing is so frikken obvious that a simpleton could figure it out. But, if I’m honest, it doesn’t work. We have to meet in common ground first.
What does it have to do with video games? If you think about it, the best stories, even in sci-fi, are ones that embrace humanity. If a video game series can do it, can’t we? I’m open for discussion. Online, because I can’t talk anymore.