Extra Life: A farewell to DGO

by DGO Web Administrator

The world is a fascinating and very strange place.

On a small level, it is even more fascinating that the mechanics of everyday existence are so simple, relatively speaking. It’s beautiful. Given a certain set of rules, a few avenues of physical probability, one could hypothetically work out not just the way things are, but the way they will be. It’s like chess when you’re down to one corner, or pool when there’s only a couple balls on the table. The thing that seems impossible to understand is the seemingly endless layers of those small details.

I like thinking about how closely identical we are to one another on a certain level. In terms of genetics, there’s not much differentiation between you and me. In terms of chemical makeup, there’s not much difference between us and mushrooms! Take it just a couple steps further and there’s little difference between us and Earth. It’s not hard to eventually recognize that there’s no difference at all between us and everything.

We experience our differences through our stories alone. As the late, great Oliver Sacks wrote in his book, “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” – “We have, each of us, a life-story, an inner narrative — whose continuity, whose sense, is our lives. It might be said that each of us constructs and lives, a “narrative,” and that this narrative is us, our identities.”

Playing video games as I grew up led me to feel wildly different from most people, but unbelievably close to others. Through layers of shared experiences and even shared emotions, I remember building close friendships very easily. It’s easy to make friends with someone who lives in your neighborhood or goes to the same school, but even easier to develop a friendship with someone who has also fought to save the Lylat System from Andross, played the most regular human basketball, or endeavored to unite the universe of alien races to push back against the Reapers.

Being a gamer means many different things to many people. I can only speak for myself on how it has individually shaped me. And in that sense, it has left me with an indelible sensation of connection with others. It’s difficult to see someone as being so different when I have experienced such a deep and varied range of emotions with people otherwise completely alien to me. The hierarchy of complexities in all of us are the stories worth celebrating. This is especially true when we collect and recollect our own stories of self.

Curiosity is the exciting half of learning about things. The world is not only layers of physical structures and interactions, but layers of story. Video games, by the very nature of their design to be engaging and puzzling, instilled in me a confidence and pleasure of finding things out. For all it has contributed to society, markets, culture, and industry, gaming has endowed my life with an unreal quality of connection and curiosity.

If there was one thing I wanted to achieve through writing this column, it was to bring video games to a place that could be appreciated by everyone. Whether you like story, gameplay, design, interaction, sound, or just the relieving ability to let off some steam, there is a game out there for everyone. They are movies, books, music, architecture, anthropology, sociology, psychology, mathematics, even business. They can be unifying and they can be dividing. They can inspire community as well as enable isolation. They are not all good and they are not all bad. Video games, after all, are made by us.

Farewell.

Brett Massé is currently playing Contrast by Compulsion Games

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