Wherefore Art Thou, Video Game?

So many preconceptions.

This! That!

So many adamant fighters.

Bang! Pow!

So many boobs — doubly so!

Video Game, Video Game! Wherefore art thou, Video Game? Is it because you were born as a game played on a video screen? O, Video Game, deny thy father and refuse thy name!

You have grown and are not so easily defined. You are not so much “Video Game” as you are “Videogame”. The same sound, with a different soul. The space removed shows how open you are — you require neither video nor game; you are one being that is so much more than two together.

Romeo and Juliet by Frank Bernard Dicksee (1884). ‘It creates the impression death is close but love will never die. Romance is a dream that still lives in the hearts of millions.’ - Art critic, Godfrey Barker.

Romeo and Juliet by Frank Bernard Dicksee (1884).
‘It creates the impression death is close but love will never die. Romance is a dream that still lives in the hearts of millions.’ – Art critic, Godfrey Barker.

I only intend to say what you aren’t only, and not what you only are. I must restrain myself from playing that dangerous game, as others have already taken their roll and I’ve seen their snake eyes. Instead of accepting you for you many call you names: Toy and Edutainment, Interactive Fiction and Experimental Media, Serious and Service. They are embarrassed by you and they want to be taken seriously, but does a game by another name play as sweet?

Then there are those who accept your name but take who you are to be what you were as a child: Points, Challenges, Objectives, Wins & Losses. If the same judgement was placed upon them would it be fair? Cry babies!

Others still think it will help them perfect their craft of you by telling you what you are and aren’t. They hold you to mean something concrete and thereby block their thoughts towards you. Your potential becomes limited by their potential.

The fighting has only set these people further in their trenches, and they’ll hold onto their beliefs until they die (which, fortunately, will be before you, but which will, unfortunately, be after they have passed their beliefs on to their offspring). So in this war of attrition if you cannot refuse your name, be but sworn my love, and I’ll no longer be a Video Game Designer.

If you are a toy, then I am a toy maker. If you are an interactive fiction, then I am an interactive writer, or an educator, server, scientist, producer, engineer, analyst, artist, composer, movie maker, painter, architect, constructor, choreographer or playwright.

I will be what I need to be for us to be together. For what good are any of our titles? They are just different masks worn to the same ball — and there it’s all about the dance. And I don’t speak of the dance between the businessman and the banker, or the dance between the manager and the mook, but the dance for the experience of the dance between two in love; between you and me.

Yes, the experience. When we dance together let us not worry about how we ought to look for that is how true selves are expressed, and how new dances are made. Different dances with the same dancers. Is it so absurd?

But let us not stop there. What is the border between a dance and a walk? Music and sound? Painting and paint? Why draw borders when colouring within them has not garnered the industry high grades? Let the templates, paint-by-numbers and fill in the blanks be filed under what you have been, rather than what you are, will, or can be. As who you are, O Video Game, is understood intuitively from what video games are being made, and yet never do all the video games being made encompass all that you are.

So you be you and I’ll be me — Video Game and Designer — and if my family says what your family says about what our families can and cannot do, then let us run away together and die in each other’s arms, as something a little bit more than anyone ever expected we’d be.

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