No Age Limits on Imagination
Sometimes I’ll pause and migrate beyond my being, step outside of myself, and objectively analyze what I do, really do, for a living. I make things up. Sometimes I’ll imagine it as an extreme absurdity, for the gravitas of game design is not in the same shared spectrum as writing or literature. I can fancy things up a bit and define who I am as a publisher (which is so very real and grown up) or a creator of interactive media experiences, which is also true but misses the mark. Some folks want the illusory gravitas that what they do is of deep and consequential importance, and this resonates strongly with each and every one of us. If you diminish my work, you diminish me. There is no separation between the two, so every insult you make upon one leaves an indelible mark upon the other. The lines so readily blur today when many of us creators are easily accessible, sometimes no more than a click away if you know where to find us. (Take me, for example. I am found easily enough on our website, but more immediately on Twitter or Facebook.) While online interaction is nothing new, if you pause to think about being able to instantly connect with someone you respect and admire or have them connect with you in a fraction of a moment is undeniably cool, bizarre, and very much becoming the norm. I’ve had both social transactions occur today. A follower, Josh, interacted with me on Facebook and we talked about Kickstarters and he enjoyed the experience. On the other hand, John Rogers, whom should be busy working on Leverage, popped up to comment on my considerations of whether to buy the iPad or iPad2. We live in strange times. We trade a social currency constantly and to be out a day is to be out a week in real time. The internet world is like the Land of the Fae. Time travels very differently there, but you don’t really notice. Seconds slide to minutes slide to hours and you are mesmerized, transfixed, by the desire for one more click, one more page, one more refresh, one more new experience.
We crave new experiences. We want things to feed our imagination. This doesn’t matter whether you’re five or five hundred. Entertainment is what I do. We strive to keep entropy at bay. We drive back boredom and the slowing of time with our dice and our rules and our chants. We are the flint and steel creating fire in the night, driving the darkness back.
I said I pause to reflect upon what I do and I come back, time and again, to a strange happenstance that occurred last year (when I was buying far more video games than I needed) and was in a local Best Buy. A spry, older gentleman walked in front of me as I was scanning the rows for something special [1. There is always something special. Right? You know what I mean.] and I nodded and he nodded back with a glint in his eye and a sly smile and he started scanning the rows. I’ve been known to strike up a conversation with strangers from time to time and this man intrigued me, so I took the bait. “Looking for anything in particular?” I asked. “Well, I need to get my granddaughter something–one of those kid games–but I really used that as an excuse to come in and get something for myself. I love those roleplaying ga-” I continued to listen, but my mind froze. That one specific idea revealed to me that gamers never really change. We never really grow old. We may be pixel junkies or dice-a-holics or have any of another dozen game related maladies, but they don’t go away with age. They’re in our DNA. I reengaged my mind. He went on to revel in all the free time he now enjoyed in his retirement home and how he can game all day if he likes. He sounded just like a teenager and he put a little spring in my step. Sometimes now, when I pause and wonder if I’m truly crazy (as some of my friends suspicion), I think back to that slender slice of time when I meant a man who said, in his own way, “Game on!”
Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!