Wednesday, August 21, 2013
The Pronoia of the Video Game
I just finished watching a walkthrough of Uncharted 3 yesterday (yes I know it's 2 years old), and was thoroughly pleased with the gameplay and action. I'm also an avid watcher of CinemaSins, a channel of youtube videos nitpicking nearly every continuity mistake in movies, so it's made me very sensitive to the patterns at which movies adhere. I noticed that in Uncharted, it's based upon putting you directly in the action to engage you, but, just like a movie, the action is planned, the close calls are supposed to be that way, and the bad guys, right when they have you, decide to capture you instead of kill you right out and end their problems. Even when you die in the game, you're brought back to a point just before to continue playing!You don't even have a limited amount of lives! Of course these themes expand into other video games, so then I thought, video games are pure PRONOIA. Pronoia is the concept, opposite of paranoia, that something is out to help you succeed, not destroy you. If you really look at most video games (at least the recent ones) you can see this clearly. This video shows one ending to the popular and masterful game Batman: Arkham City, where he (spoilers) dies. WARNING, MORE SPOLILERS AHEAD: SEE?!? No matter how hard the game gets you always can start back at a check point and do it again, and, having become wiser, you beat that level on the train, or that boss with teeth for hands, or you found that hidden room with the tool you need to get across the chasm. Hmm, it's kinda like life, and though life has its own character separate from a video game, it certainly shares the same concepts. In a video game, everything is there for you that you need to succeed if you look hard enough for the tools or the secret. The developers WANT you to get to the end of the game! Why? So you feel that your money was well spent! And guess what that means? They make their money! So every force in existence wants you to play and beat this video game. In truth, you're just supposed to enjoy the ride, wherever it goes. Huh, this is starting to sound really familiar... So I guess the pronoia of video games can really be applied to life, can't it? I mean, it's life itself that produced the video game, so why can't life be like a video game? Sure, if you fell off a cliff you wouldn't reappear right at the top of it with a booming narrative voice saying, "Try again!" but we do have adventures--they are the issues we deal with day to day. We have character arcs, we have 'bosses' that we must battle, and, if we're lucky enough to not physically die, we have several chances symbolically 'die' or as I like to call it 'fuck up'. Oh, excuse me, 'make mistakes'. If you really look closely, you can see that for every challenge in our lives, like a video game, all the tools are there for you to succeed. Maybe it's a person you need to call, or a tool you need to buy. Maybe it's a book you need to read or movie to watch that illuminates your mind with the 'ah-ha!'you've always wanted. Maybe you just need to shift your thinking from seeing things negatively to seeing things positively. Maybe you need to get more engaged in whatever it is you're doing. Maybe you need to back the fuck off whatever it is you're doing. All the tools are there. The Universe is conspiring to help you succeed in whatever you want to accomplish--you just need to see it that way, and, maybe seeing it that way is the only tool you really need. Excelsior, G.A.B.E.