Start Button Rant #2 – You Are Not Your Game

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I think…no that’s not enough.

I know that this is something that I need to get out there now.

Buttonmashers, I want you to do me a favor. It is a small one, don’t worry. Please think about your favorite game. I don’t care what genre you choose. It could even be a sports game, if you are into that sort of thing.

Now, in your favorite game, because it is your favorite game, you must have your favorite character. This could be male, female, in between, whatever. Now imagine yourself as that character, doing whatever that character does that you like that makes this character your favorite.

Still imagining, right? Cutting down the enemy? Saving girl? Getting the guy? Defeating the boss?

Now, this may come off a bit harsh but I hate to tell you…you will never be your character.

“Mr. Gamer, why did you go and do that? I was enjoying that!”

I know you were but you have to have realized, or at least I hope you realized, that no matter how hard you imagine, you will never be that character. Hence the title, “You are not your game.”

No matter what world you are in, Celestia help you if you don’t know that what you are playing or experiencing is not real.

As Mr. Gamer’s Dad says, “I am not bashing you, son.” There are many parts to this so just stay with me.

You will never be the quarterback of whatever team you are playing in Madden. You will never be the mage defeating the dragon in Dragon Age. (If there are even dragons in that game) You will never be (insert chosen name here) forcibly catching animals against their will for them to fight for your honor with the help of a man who never seems to age.

That will never be you.

I am only a little sorry if I have popped any bubbles. This is not meant for you to not enjoy your game. This is meant to give you the sight to see that it is just a game. It will never be anymore than that.

If you are playing GTA XI (and will keep making them if you keep buying them) and one of your more sensitive friends ask you, in a serious tone, whether or not you enjoying beating up hookers for money or doing whatever morally questionable thing you’re doing, my hope is that you will say “No.” and look at that person stupidly for asking a stupid question. This is isn’t high school or college. There are somethings like a stupid question in the real world. Oh! What were those key words, “real” and “world”?

That’s freaking right! In the real world, you can’t use a rocket launcher to propel yourself over a barn and smash the enemy’s head in with a shovel. In the real world, you can’t quickly pick a “heavier than you fucking think” sniper rifle in a warzone, squint real hard down the scope, and kill the other guy across the mortar bombarded land with one bullet.

It doesn’t work that way.

Let me turn things around by adding this: If you play a videogame where the character you are controlling is doing morally questionable actions such as using his or her smartphone to hack into the pacemaker of an old person on the other side of bullet proof glass to kill them, that doesn’t make you a bad person. Do not punish yourself for that.

Just like you will never be your character in real life, the things that the character does is not a accurate reflection of you. And remember, this is coming from Mr. Gamer.

And if someone says that you are bad person because of that, what the character you are controlling did in the videogame, I am not telling you to smack them but I am saying that they need help, not you.

Videogames are forms of entertainment. Sometimes they can teach us something but that is not their primary function. Nine times out of then, they are here to entertain us. They take us away from the real world for as long as we have them powered on. Then, when we are done, we turn them off.

Done.

Your clothes don’t make you. Your hair doesn’t make you. Your piercings don’t make you. And Dear Celestia, your freaking videogames don’t make you. They are all a part of you. Just one part of a big thing, You. And You are awesome. I’ll be here to make sure to let you know about the good games, but enjoy them all the same.

And please remember, it really is just a game.