Friday, November 13, 2009

'Twas the Night Before Starcraft

by C.T. Hutt

A light snow falls on the good simple folk doing their business downtown. Amid the bustle of the marketplace is a seasonal spirit of good cheer, bright wreaths hang from shop doors and colorful garlands frame every window. Gentlemen tip their hats to each other and good ladies curtsy as they pass. It’s a magical time filled with hope for the future and warm memories of Christmases past. And what’s this? All the excited children are gathered around the window of Old Man Bestbuy’s Software Shoppe. See them press their adorable little faces against the glass and watch with doe-like eyes as the newest toy goes on display. Is it the latest model train? Or perhaps a lovable stuffed bear? No, this year it’s Dragon Age: Origins developed by Bioware.

“Callooh! Callay!” The children shout.

See them dance in the street and flare their little nostrils against the window pane. How very adorable the entire scene is, except this is not a Dickens novel and those are not children, that’s me and Daniel and we are in our mid twenties.

We may not be as cute as we were when we were kids, but unlike our mannerisms, our stance toward vegetables, and our general outlook on life and the world around us, our enthusiasm for video games has refused to grow up even a little bit. Also, who the hell asked you what’s cute? Take a hike, buddy.

There is more to enjoy about video games then just playing them. While that is, of course, their primary function as entertainment, I would put forward that the anticipation is an important part of the fun. In the often humdrum monotony of our adult lives, having a few things that we are genuinely excited about is invaluable. It gives us something to monitor and study that is fun rather than vital to the operations of our lives, like the market or the news. Even after a particular title has been played to its completion and retired, it gives us something to talk about (or write about at great length) for years to come.

This child-like enthusiasm is not without its pitfalls. Along with this juvenile “need” to have a particular title comes a childish tantrum when our desires are not met. For example, ever since Blizzard’s announcement of Starcraft 2 back in the late eighteen hundreds, I have been beside myself with anticipation for its release. True to form, Blizzard has dangled this sumptuous carrot in front of its avid fan base for years now and every time we think it is in biting range, they announce another delay. So far they have been completely un-responsive to my letters claiming that if they don’t finish developing it I will hold my breath until I pass out. Daniel is equally unsympathetic to my woe; every time I pout about this subject he enjoys a hearty laugh at my expense. This is hyperbole of course, but I do feel an irrational frustration that I am forced to wait for this release. It’s the same frustration I felt in 1999 waiting for the original Starcraft, and 1995 waiting for Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness. That was fourteen years ago, I was twelve, and it still feels exactly the same. It may be frustration, but in all honesty it is a fun sort of frustration.

We fixate on these games; we follow their development with great interest, play them, and then analyze everything about them. And why? Partially because of the reasons we have so often espoused here at Press Pause to Reflect, that video games are a socially important artistic medium worthy of attention and respect. Also, we simply enjoy the act of playing video games. But aside from these reasons, there is the fact that it just feels good to have something in the often dour and serious world of adulthood that makes us feel like kids dancing in the street, excited for the next big thing.

1 comment:

  1. I definitely agree, and it is this phenomenon which has contribituted most to the growth of the industry because it is SO conducive to the concept of stocks and investing.


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