Why We Play

As Franz Kafka gazes upon the bleak gray desert of the real and J.R.R. Tolkien constructs his alternate reality, climate scientists inform us that humanity has a matter of decades left before mass destruction unless we can seize political control of the world away from concentrated capital and it’s banking and corporate affiliates. The goal of these latter forces is to hold onto political control long enough for technology to develop to allow them (not us, of course) to escape the earth, and preferably to then maximize the exploitation of their new homeland.

In this context of the real there exists a serious, if usually undeclared, debate between gamers of despair and gamers of hope. Gamers of despair view games as an escape from the desert of the real, as offering the last possibility of lush, green, nubile paradise prior to human extinction. Gamers of hope view games as the only form of art which can save the world, by enabling new human psychologies and interactions which are then “brought back” from virtual into traditional reality.

Opposition to games like Call of Duty is one salvo in this ongoing debate – military shooters offer the fantasy of power over life and death, of waves after waves of murder in order to achieve personal security (to maintain one’s own existence). The question of how one can morally murder thousands in order to preserve a single life is not addressed, in the same sense as it’s not addressed in Invasion U.S.A. or (preferably) not addressed within zionism. That 80% of mainstream games feature killing as a primary mode of gameplay tells us a lot about the ideological position of the game industry.

Gamers of hope can also be described as gamers of ignorance, as there’s nearly no understanding of how exactly games are going to save the world. Gamers of despair are fueled from this weakness.

As gamers of hope view games as having the potential to save the world, we are “addicted” to games, in the same sense that Superman is addicted to helping people. All humans are “addicted” to doing what’s right. Hope is a hell of a drug.

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