How Video Games Changed the Way I Perceive Life
The author discusses how video games have transformed his perspective on life, unveiling hidden philosophies and thought-provoking quotes that challenge conventional wisdom.
Indian parents often worry about their children playing video games as it is considered a non-physical, idle activity. Spending time on screens other than for school-work or other learning activities is something that is frowned upon in almost all Indian households. There is also this concern that screen-time is bad for the eyes. Although these games help in refining cognitive abilities in many forms, there is a societal taboo against them.
Every activity has its own set of advantages and setbacks. I have found computer gaming very useful. However, I am not going to get into defending video games. I am just going to write about how these games have shaped my understanding of life.
Beyond entertainment: exploring philosophy
Video games are said to improve response times in humans, making their decision-making ability swifter. I found this to be true. These games did not just help me think on my feet; they also taught me how to act with empathy even when I must take a decision at a moment’s notice. Ignore the entertainment aspect of these games, if you take a closer look, you will see that some of the games are actually plot-driven, and they do not always glorify endless action-packed sequences. Some of the plotlines in these games are so good that you may get a bad case of the blues once you finish them. Like a really good book or a movie, these games can leave your mind wondering and curious.
Tamizh (Tamil) literature talks about three modes of entertainment iyal, isai and nadagam which translates to literature, music and drama respectively. Music and drama are an integral part of all video games, whether we like it or not. But some wonderful games also delve into building a compelling storyline and use literary tools very effectively.
In this post, I would like to talk about some of the oft-quoted phrases in the video game culture that help us look at the world differently. They often help us develop a perspective that lies beyond the mundanities of our existence. They make us take a broader view of life.
This is what an omnipotent being says to the protagonist of Half Life 2, to help the latter do the right thing. This one sentence changed the whole course of the story. This quote has affected me profoundly. It immediately reminded me of a real-life politician, a very influential orator, who was not a conventional academic but had instead self-taught himself on various literary masters of the world. It was Winston Churchill, who was the prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1940–45 and 1951–55. During the time of World War II, when every nation was bowing out against the might of the German army, faced with humongous opposition, Churchill gave a formidable speech to motivate a nation that had almost lost the battle. Later this speech was immortalised in the following terms: “He mobilised the English language and sent it into battle”.
This is what words can do. They can positively or negatively impact the actions of millions. Without the presence of Churchill at that time, the course of World War II could have changed drastically. It is imperative for any human to be the right person in any given situation to make a difference in the world.
This quote is taken from the game The Talos Principle. The actual sentence was written by Philip K Dick in the short story “I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon”. This is a very simple but poignant sentence which makes me wonder how much time we spend focusing on things that might or might not happen. What remains the truth is the present, and what I have felt the best course of action to take is to do what is right at any circumstance and not worry about how others will feel, as long as we do not act against our conscience.
Initially, this quote might feel a little unhinged, but looking past the oddity, we can try to understand and appreciate life from a different perspective. This quote is from Far Cry 3. This, I felt, is a variant of the saying “Be the change, you want to see in the world”. We have people in our lives who complain about how dirty a place is, yet they continue to litter and argue “What difference will one piece of trash make? The place is shabby enough already”.
People don’t understand how much difference every individual can make (it makes me think about the first quote again). We have the power to shape our own destiny, and that concept is lost among many who worry about unnecessary details in life.
With the advent of social media, the desire for validation, which was once a necessity, has multiplied. I have seen people do something that is on the borderline of good and publicise it in social media for followers’ attention. Yet, the same person would not care about others when they can really do something good in a situation that cannot be recorded for public consumption later. And yes, you have guessed it right! Thanks for paying attention! I have got a quote for these people too. I will end this note with the final quote:
This post is written by Srivathsan H.
Srivathsan H is a teaching associate at L&T EduTech. He identifies as a socially awkward gamer cum structural engineer and bibliophile. He is a big fan of comic books and movies. He loves to solve puzzles and play games.
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