<edit: hey i'm going to rewrite it this weekend now that I read it to some people today so I will repost the revision later this weekend but until then enjoy.>
Some of you may know me and others not so much but as of the last 2 weeks I had to write a speech for a high school speech competition. As you can tell from me being on this site I love video games and every thing about them so when asked to write a speech the first thought that came to mind was video games. Now that I just finished it I decided I would like a little feedback on what people thought of it so I turn to you dtoid in hopes that you can help me revise/add/remove to make it better and win state :) I will warn you before hand there are spoilers in it for the end of Braid so if you don't want to be spoiled please skip that part.
I hope everyone enjoys it.
OK OK LETS DO THIS
Video Games and Life
An original oratory by Shawnzzy
Video games originated as a new form of relaxation back about 30 years ago, with the first ones being just basic ideas and basic goals. But as time has gone on they have grown into a far greater thing spanning to all walks of like. Today I would like to show you how video games can compare to life and human nature in almost every sense. I hope by the end of this you will see them in a different light instead of just some escape from reality.
For a game that truly parallels life in the most minimalistic of terms we look towards Geometry Wars. Geometry Wars is a game where you are small white shape in a square arena, in which everything is out to get you. Think of the arena as your life and pressing start at the beginning is you being born. You start off the game with zero points and the most basic of weapons, the game also will only send at you its most basic enemies in a much smaller amount than what is to come. This is perfect to show the beginning of your life, you are are only exposed to what they think you can handle and you must decide from there what you will do with these basic obstacles to to prepare you for what is to come. As time goes on and you start destroying more and more of these enemies or life obstacles you gain a multiplier that multiplies the number of points you get according to how many enemies you kill without dieing, showing how in life can being going so well and as things start going well it becomes exponentially better, but it could all be taken away by something as simple as making a wrong turn. So as the game goes on your weapons change just as your skill set in life does giving you new ways to the problems or enemies that are increasing in frequency also. As you meet these new enemies or should I say people you must do your best to keep them from stopping your success. Just as in life, its you that decides how far you will take yourself, some will die before they reach one hundred thousand, and others will make it to a million plus, it's all just how you look at everything and deal with what's in front of you at the time.
Freedom is another point I would like to hit on, showing how humans can show their true selves in video games that allow them to. For this example I will use the three games Fable, Grand Theft Auto and Halo. These games allow you the freedom to choose what you do in them, with things such as killing, speech, and morale choices. Some more than others but all of them do in one way or another. This lets people show their personality in ways no other entertainment medium can, which is one reason why video games can explain life in ways movies, books and music can't.
Halo, being my first example, doesn't allow much freedom, but what it does do is allow you to kill you allies during the story mode. This may seem completely meaningless but if you think about it, it shows a person's true self in the simplest fashion, will they kill their allies or not. Killing your allies has no effect on how the game plays out and they don't help you very much but what I have seen is two ways how everyone deals with them. Some just let them come along and don't mind if they help much but just feel too bad to kill something for no reason. Others will kill them off just because they see no purpose in them coming along, think they will just get in the way or simply want to for fun. Think of that for a second, it may seem completely irrelevant but when it comes to the plethora of times I have played Halo with people, the same people always respond to it the same way, letting you see their true personality without even knowing it. That same effect happens in Grand Theft Auto to a slightly greater extent, because there are consequences for there actions in this time around. This is when you can tell the people who kill the marines from Halo for fun apart from the people who kill them because they think they are slowing them down. People who kill for fun don't care if they get their selves killed or arrested in the game because it is fun to kill the people to them, but the people who thought the marines just slow them down try to keep from killing the innocents because they see the police coming after them as more of a problem. If you watch people play you can always tell the different play styles apart because they are very different.
Now we move on to the place where you can see visually where people stand on the moral scale, Fable. Fable is a Role Playing Game where the person playing can do things however they see fit, from marrying people, killing anyone they want, stealing things or even making fun of people. But for every decision they gain a point towards being evil or good and their appearance changes accordingly. A persons first play through is the best way to show a persons inner self. Some people, like myself, can't help but be good their first play through. It seems to me that when I'm trying to play as myself I feel to bad to do many evil things and most of the time when I do I have to reset the game because I feel I have made the wrong choice. Some of my friends on the other hand take this new found freedom as the chance to do anything they can't in the real world, thus they become extremely evil their first time through. This shows that when people are given the freedom to act how they please they tend to act how they normally would or how they would like to act. It can be almost scary to look at how some of the nicest people you would ever meet can turn into a tyrant as soon the freedom is in their hands.
Now for the final point I would like to bring up, emotion. True emotion is something that is hard to capture in any art or media form but is the one thing most artists strive for. In my 15 years of video game playing I would have to say only one game has touched me enough in this why for me to even think of it. This game is called Braid. Braid is a simple game in almost every way but the story. The story is where the game pulls itself into the extraordinary by touching so close to home to so many people. The entire game is told through books and what you see which leaves most of it up to your interpretation but that is where the beauty of it all is because it makes you start relating parts of the story to yourself and you wonder if it was speaking to you instead of telling you the story of the game. But what blew my mind is the ending that can only be seen if you collect all of the puzzle pieces throughout the game.
The idea of the game is not a new one, find the princess. But at the end of each world when you see a castle a guy comes out and says “The princess is in another castle.” When you get to the final castle though something different happens, the same guy comes out and says “I'm sorry the princess isn't here in fact I don't even know if she exists.” Since you have been looking for the princess this entire time and leaving everything behind to search for her it dons on you that maybe what you have been searching for this entire time isn't real. This was the first time the game touched me because everyone gets the feeling at one time or another that maybe there is something better out there but I just have to look for it. This thought at times can cause you to make decisions that you normally wouldn't and in turn make you leave what may already be a good thing behind.
Like I said that was the first way the game touched me but pales in comparison to what happened to me next. You see after collecting all of the puzzle pieces you get to witness the true ending of the game. It begins by showing a rope dropping down and a knight holding the princess sliding down it. The Princess is yelling “Save me, save me!” and escapes from the knights arms. But there is a problem she can't get to you because you are in a tunnel underground so you both start running because the side of the screen starts to catch on fire. This is where the games main mechanic starts to play a big role in the ending, you can rewind time. As you run there are traps and the princess pulls levers at the top to disarm them so you can get through, but to make it with enough time to get through you have to do everything before hand perfect so you rewind time if you mess up. You run through this whole tunnel until you get to the end where the princess ends up laying in her bed asleep and you are outside her window. When I got here I didn't know what to do, just sat there thinking is this it? Did I do something wrong? So I decided to rewind time to see if I missed something, But as I started to rewind I noticed everything reversed. Now it was if the princess woke up and was afraid of me and started to run away. Now I noticed that all of those traps she saved me from before, it seemed as if she was trying to set them to stop me. But because I did everything so perfect I just barely escaped each one. Once we got back to the start you can see that the knight is there to save her and she is yelling save me save me to him and not you. This is what blew my mind because it showed an emotion I could never describe with words. What I took away from it was that you can search for something better and maybe you will find it, but you will be blinded by the idea of it to notice that the entire time you thought you were doing your self better to find it, it was just trying to destroy you. This explains how many people first find love and what it is like for them. It is how I felt with my first relationship, blinded by the idea of it to notice how much it was hurting me. And I think many others can think of an instance that they felt like this also.
In short I just wanted to say video games are far beyond something just to escape from reality. They are tool for showing people things they don't normally see or maybe can't see from where they are in their life. When it comes to art showing life in the purest since, video games go above and beyond the Call of Duty. :)
I hope everyone enjoyed it. please be nice. sorry for the wall of text.
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