Den här texten är gömd i en guide till spelet Deus Ex: Human Revolution på sidan Gamefaqs. Det är synd, för den är verkligen läsvärd. Därför tänkte jag slänga upp den här. Berömmas den som berömmas bör. I creditsdelen av guiden står det att guiden är skriven av Absolute Steve. Men här kommer texten iallafall:
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU PLAY A VIDEOGAME?
What a ridiculous question, right? I don’t intend to bore you with a long philosophical interpretation on what happens when you play a videogame, but I do wish to make a comment on it, if only to give some appreciation of the enormous potential hidden in videogames, and to show that this is far from being used to its full extent.
To answer this question: You start to live in the world of the videogame. Your ”lifeworld” merges with another lifeworld – a world fully created by human beings. This is different from reading a book or watching a movie. One certainly reflects on literary and cinematographic worlds, but the subject’s free will plays no role in those other lifeworlds. Not only is their narrative linear; more importantly, the feeling of “exploring” that lifeworld is not as strong as is the case in a videogame’s lifeworld.
We can expect the videogame industry only to grow over the next few decades, giving the following reasons for this expansion. Generations of gamers grow older and don’t completely quit playing videogames. Our (grand)parents might not be avid gamers, but at least some of us who are currently in their twenties will still play a videogame occasionally when they’re twenty, thirty years older. Furthermore, the industry is looking to find new audiences; even our parents have heard of Wii Sports. Videogames in which interactive narrative is an important aspect of gameplay add an extra dimension to the exploration of their lifeworld. It would be premature to call games like Heavy Rain the predecessors of this genre, but it’s likely to eventually see an increase of games aimed at different, larger audiences.
It’s important to realize that videogames are changing the world in their own way. Thirty years ago, no one would have thought that they could’ve had such a large influence on popular culture. The improvement of hardware’s mobility - in other words, the increasing ease to merge lifeworlds – comes in the form of handheld consoles, but also with the possibilities the internet has to offer. Massive Multiplayer Online games even allow you to interact with other people who experience the very same world as you; how can a world not be real if two people experience it at the same time, better yet if millions of people literally live a “second life” in an other lifeworld?
While this broadens and enriches lifeworlds in a sense, it is interactive narrative – like Deus Ex offers – that teaches us more about things like ethics and communication. It makes the secondary lifeworld realistic, livable, and explorable. Unfortunately, many games still have linear narrative storytelling.
Because of space constraints, it suffices to say that other lifeworlds have their benefits. In a mythless and increasingly rationalizing world, limitless abilities in other lifeworlds are not only appealing, they’re wings of freedom in various ways. It is obviously important we don’t forget about our primary lifeworld – we need to drink, eat, be physically safe, and make love every once in a while. The highest danger lies in neglecting our higher needs; esteem and self-actualisation. If we put our secondary lifeworld above out primary lifeworld in terms of importance/value, we will slowly estrange from our primary lifeworld. Trophies, achievements, leaderboards and all the like are fun, but sacrificing parts of your primary lifeworld can lead to addiction and in the long term to regrets. Fortunately this warning only applies to a handful of gamers.