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When Games Come To Life

 

 

Anyone who plays video games, and plays for their story, has had that moment in their history of the medium we love and cherish. That moment when skin tingles, you get goosebumps, and you feel all of your focus driving into the heart of the screen, down into the game you're playing.  Many have been driven and empowered by the tales and legends they follow in games with powerful narratives.

Gamers left and right will almost always have a wide-ranging memory of experiences like such. The stories and characters we play and emulate impact our very soul. Nothing is so unique and special as the time when you open that new game, eye the disc and case over, place it in the disc drive, and begin to play through the story it contains. Few things leave you in an entranced web of awe and discovery, which you fail to achieve ever again with that game in that same way. 

The environment, the voices, the setpieces, the characters, the setting, the music, the emotions--it all helps shape together the games we play. Not simply the game itself, but the message of the game. The soul of the game. Any piece of media is a powerful tool to reach into the heart of man. Story games have the ability to cut to the depth of our being and leave a little piece behind. 

 

But when exactly does a game come to life? Is this an achievable goal? What is life to this medium? We live many of them in video games, all the way from first person shooters to puzzle games to role playing games. We fight through levels and cut down any enemies in our path; jump, block, kick, and dodge foes, obstacles, and environments; we build relationships with our fellow companions(which can, every now and then, be deeper than the shallow relationships we share with some of our fellow human beings); we watch fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, friends, and strangers die to fight for their freedoms, for their very existence. 

That moment when you put the game into your console or computer and start living the life of the game's character is the moment when video games come to life inside of you. You pour your heart and your time into that game, and that game repays you with sorrow, joy, and a memorable experience that can leave you depressed, excited, determined, or weakened to the core and weeping. 

A video game means nothing if you haven't played it. If you do not play a game, then it is dead to you. There isn't anything that your mind can turn back to and recall a memory from. There isn't any pull in your soul that brings you to a wounded reminiscence of what was once a new experience. There isn't any awe, any love. That game is buried on the shelf of a video game store because you passed it over, legitimate reasons or not. 

It doesn't matter if the game has been released and published. A developers' work doesn't hold any true worth to a game user unless it's been played. A developer can pour so much into his work, long hours, late nights, infinite cups of caffeine, stressful debates with cooperating publishers and co-workers, but it holds no emotion with you. Is it waiting for you? Yes. Could you be interested in playing it? Yes. But it holds no meaning with you. And if that game holds no meaning to you then it is dead. Dead. Yes, it exists, and yes, to others it is alive. But to you, personally, it is sealed in a coffin and buried six feet under. 

 

It is the unspoken objective of many video game players to play as many games as they can. For various reasons. To some it is to experience new innovations in games, to others it may be to critique and judge as many game magazine editors do. To another group, it is to flip over the pages of the virtual tale and uncover the meaning and life poured in by the developers. Whatever the reason is, the moment video games come to life is the moment when you open your heart up to the game you are playing, and let it leave a mark on your soul. 

 

It isn't always a happy moment, but neither is life. Life is full of ups and downs. It is wrecked with travesty, tragedy, comedy, harmony, and dissonance. It is a mold of so many conflicting messages, motives, words, feelings, and goals. And to a certain extent, video games reflect this with the various stories that they present to us.

 

The moment when games come to life is a powerful time indeed.

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