Games emulate Experience

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… which means that games are based on reality. Well, okay, someone’s imagination of reality.

A game (computer games included) is a way to explore experience. What is it like to lead an army? Chess can answer that, to a point. A game is a kind of metaphor. It is a tool to find the ways in which complicated things can be made simple, and simple things made complex.

But people’s imaginations interfere with both their experience and their memory of reality.When you are playing a game, you are really engaging in experience of the real world removed from reality by at least three extra layers. The game maker’s experience, memory, and communication interpose between you and the world. If there’s art, music, a story, or other players, then you are even further removed. Of course, perhaps this removal is what you want. The world is an often confusing and uncomfortable place, and experiencing it through a game is usually much easier to assimilate than first hand experience.

But we must never forget that games are based on the real world. Games mean something, and they convey that meaning in a very direct way. Our filters which guard us from misinformation are at their thinnest when we are playing. If the game maker holds ideas, goals, or methods that are in conflict with our own, then his games will bend us against our aims. This is why it is so important to think about games; A game’s form and goals are highly refined, and abstracted information penetrates more easily into our consciousness than brute data. A false view of reality in a game can mask our own experience, and skew the way we think about the world.

On the other hand, playing games can help us in real life. Games allow us to process and explore daunting situations. They develop and hone skills which are both useful and powerful for solving real problems. Much of the planning and analysis of enjoyable games can be put to good use by our intuition. By approaching real problems in a playful way, we can often achieve understanding that would elude us if we stuck solely to serious analysis.

Playing a game is no innocent task; A lack of innocence is required to even approach play. Babies do not have games; They experience life directly. Be aware of how you see things. Take into account the views of those whom you communicate with. Play to experience, and to see life anew.

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About dudecon

I'm a Christian, one of the "crazy fundamentalist" ones perhaps, depending on what language you speak. As an engineer by trade, and an artist, computer wizard, and musician in the off hours, I keep pretty busy. Plus I'm married with kids. Life is good, even when it is hard. People tell me that I think too much, but I can't think of how that's a bad thing. People also tell me I'm scary. Occasionally they tell me to stop singing so loudly. If you really want to contact me, you can try e-mailing dudecon on my old fashioned Hotmail account. Or tweet dudecon on twitter. Or come to my house some time. I'm sure you can find me if you keep trying.

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