I got drunk about a week and a half ago, banged out a rather heartfelt smattering of words. And I’m not sure if I made it live on this site or not. I hope not. Because that will make this version a bit more awkward.
A friend of mine is sick. I suspect he’s dying. Sweet guy, tragic life. Law and Order SVU kind of a life. But he’s got a degree of optimism about him. A desire to be understood and loved that has survived all the bad shit. It’s one of the reasons why I like him. One of the reasons why I stick around.
Media has had a lot of impact on us in the last few generations. Many boomers and earlier dream in black and white because the movies and television of their formative years were as well. And that nature of reality seeped into their minds in an irreversible way. I’m starting to see video games play a similar effect on me as well. Not so much in as drastic a sense as monochrome or color. But in how I perceive time. Time has always been a bit of an abstract to me. School, relationships, other eras. I’d have a chance to redo them. Better, stick the landing. 100% completion. I’d knock out this version of life, then grind out an 80’s themed sequel. Then load up an old save and play it again.
It was when a friend died that it all crashed down. I loathe to admit he’d been a much better friend to me than I was to him. It’d been a few months since I talked to him. I said hello in the chat, then found out his body had failed him. He was waiting for a transplant, but his life had been a hell of dialysis 3 times a week. 3 days later he was dead.
My mind reached for those magic words, the cheatcode, the save. It didn’t come.
I paid my respects in a way befitting my online nerd tribe. And limped on. And everything kind of shifted into focus. Many things stung. But these are just parts of our lives. All lives. Not so much wallpapered over, but instead put up a load bearing fucking cement wall.
Video games as a medium are at most a generation and a half old. We’ve seen a handful of people pass. But the Bachs and Monets of our culture of choice are still mostly alive. And they all do things that mostly empower you. The mechanics and concepts are ones where death is easily ignored. Forgotten about. Mistakes undone. There are outlyers. But this has always been the main selling points for games. A reality in which the rules are mostly fair, and you can get ahead.
They will die, of course. They will be our Bowies and Princes and Steves. That’s how things will play out. And others will take their place, and hopefully build even greater things. Making our efforts look like handprints on a cave to Rembrant.
I’m just a bit sad that there’s not too much language in games to express death, and loss, and fear.