I remember the days of old when I would sit around the table with a bunch of friends and roll a 20 sided die, just to determine if I hit or miss the orc that came charging at me. I would cling to that die like my entire life depended on it, and then with a gentle kiss, I would toss it onto the table like a last farewell. We would all hold our breath as we stared at the die, wiggling as if to laugh at us and then coming to a complete stop resulting in uncontrollable laughter or a complete facepalm of disappointment. The dice controlled your destiny, no matter how perfect your character was.
When I graduated from tabletop role playing games, I moved onto MUDS, or Multi-User Dungeons. The first of its kind on the computer, where text-based game play was a story train that you had to fuel yourself. I still see the black screen with bright green text flying upward in a constant motion … /n, s, sw, eat cake, kill wolf … everything had to be typed out. There was no room for spelling errors when you were in battle and you had to know how to type rather quickly to win. There was a lot of creativity left floating around and completely up to your own imagination. It was almost like reading a book that you wrote your own chapters to, but alas, perfection was lost in limited coding.
Over the years I found more of myself through character creation.
As video games advanced on the PC, I found a rather peaceful connection to the characters the artists designed and the storyline behind each world the developers formed. Over the years I found more of myself through character creation. I knew who I was emotionally and it was only reassured through the questions I had to answer when creating a character. I knew I was a good person because it didn’t feel right turning a peasant down, even if I took an evil alignment, I couldn’t get myself to read the entire conversation because I knew I would feel bad for the NPC. I knew I liked a particular look in a female character and I knew that I really enjoyed leading people over following when I was content taking a warrior to lead the party. I realized each of my characters were a copycat of the previous ones in other games as well. Was this who I wanted to be?
I also knew I wanted a beautiful character because beauty is always something that matters to people, no matter who you are, beauty is a first impression whether you believe it or not. Charisma can be a very persuasive means to an end in both real life and video games. I don’t think I’m unattractive, but as a woman, I always find room for improvements and I wanted my character to be the improvement I sought in perfection. I also wanted my storyline to be something I knew I would never be able to accomplish realistically. I wanted my story to move me in a way that was above and beyond human capabilities. If I were to play a game, I would at least win at perfecting my life story.
There are only a few games that have really grown on me, but two I can honestly say have shown me the past and present future of myself, or how I would have lived.
Video Game Past
The past side of myself would have been a life in Dragon Age by EA Bioware. The series of Dragon Age was the love of my life in gaming for a long time. It brought the age of beauty back with all the worldly charisma through its historic story lines and music.The close resemblance to life in the dark ages was perfected based on real historical cultures, divided societies, and religious backgrounds. The entire game made the player feel as much a part of that century as the people themselves and the decisions I had to make certainly contributed to the type of lifestyle and friends I would have had. Every step further into the game brought me closer to understanding the past side of myself and the consequences I would have endured during that time.
Video Game Future
The future side of myself would have been Commander Shepard in Mass Effect /Sarah Ryder in Masss Effect Andromeda by EA Bioware. Heroic, good looking, and stunningly courageous,these women are the perfection hard sought by many. In all three Mass Effect serious and the follow up Andromeda Bioware truly tested all sides of my emotional thinking and completely captured an intense curiosity for the future. Bioware brought more worlds together beyond our beloved Earth, with a wider range of friendships on all levels, and tough decisions that were real and challenging. The game challenged my decision making, my goals, my morals as a human being, and yet opened my eyes to humanities self-destruction in a whole. Through this game, I saw the universe in different colors rather than a single world.
Why seek this perfection in a character through a game?
Because we are not challenged enough as humans, we are given things so easily, decisions are made for us, and we live such short lives, we cannot reach the perfection we so desire our characters to be in games. If we lived longer, we would be able to respect the beauty of the past, as in Dark Age of Camelot, to enjoy what we have now and not take it for granted. If we could travel the universe with alien friends in a universal fight for life, as in Mass Effect, our Earth would seem so small and the racism, politics, and hatred would mean nothing when humanity is no longer the dominating force.
Though they have departed my life now and are no longer perfect, they helped me find a part of myself that I might not have ever found if I did not play them. These games are not bad for humans, but rather a dusty window of ourselves that we wished we could open to see clearer in our lives.
These games have shown me that the perfection I am seeking in myself is really there, I just haven’t expanded on them. And between playing both the past and future parts of myself, I’ve realized, I’m actually not so different from who I really am now. That’s a good thing.