I know when I’ve played a good game because I feel the same way I do when I watch a good movie.
After a good movie, all I can think about while the credits roll is how many papers I want to write about what I just watched. (Toy Story 3 is an excellent example; if there’s not a compilation of critical essays out there about the Toy Story trilogy, a small part of us has failed as human beings.)
That said, video games have always connected with me as more than just pastimes: they’ve been sources to learn from and grow through. In high school, I remember doing a literary analysis on a scene in Final Fantasy IV: Cecil, head of the King’s elite Red Wings, recently returned from destroying the village of Mysidia in search of a fabled crystal. Though he’d been commanded by the king to take the action, he felt guilty for mowing down the defenseless people.
The only clip I could find was here on the 3DS, but back in the day I watched this on a Super Nintendo. When I think back about presenting that cutscene to an audience of high schoolers circa-2005, before the age of smartphones and tablets and Angry Birds, I’ve gotta admit that I feel like I must have looked a little weird. But I still feel like there’s so much power in that single scene, so much emotion delivered with chunky, 16-bit sprites…I could feel Cecil’s longing to be more than just what he was, to be a force of good even though the he already wielded so much dark power. That scene meant something to me back then…10 years later it still does. And with my own site, now I can write all the “papers” I want. 🙂
When I’ve told people that I wanted to start my own game culture site, I’ve gotten mixed responses. Most of them are the kind of “Oh, that’s neat” typically reserved for dreams of wanting to travel to Venus and be a moisture farmer (that line originally featured Mars instead…thanks, NASA). But to me, games aren’t just virtual babysitters or ways to kill time while sitting on the bus. Games are new, innovative ways for me to interact with my friends and adventures in to new worlds. Games are thought experiments and lessons and heartbreaks and heroism the likes of which I couldn’t experience otherwise. There’s depth to these gaming experiences we have, and the proof is in the multi-billion dollar industry that’s constantly growing and surrounding us with more and more ways to virtually occupy our time. We’re connecting with these games on an important level; if we weren’t, we wouldn’t be spending so much freakin’ money on them. And it’s more than video games: board games, card games, tabletop role-playing games, live-action role playing and newer experiences like escape rooms…hell, even fantasy sports leagues are bigger than ever. Our play is important to us in a way that makes it more than “just a game,” and “gamers” are no longer just people who hold controllers or roll dice.
Intelligame is a site with a purpose: to help people get more out of their gaming experiences, to think deeply about the situations they’re surrounded by in gaming and connect them to the real world. To help people find others who want to do the same thing. To help people game intelligently. When you come to Intelligame, you’ll see reviews and articles about games, game culture, and the world-at-large meant to make you think. Content here is curated to be relevant and thought-provoking; though I’ll begin this site on my own, I hope to bring on other writers with similar drives as well.
Stories here are meant to challenge your perception, and let you interact with others who want to do the same. Though this may start as a simple blog, I want it to become a community of people passionate about games, people looking for new experiences and stories… I want us to Intelligame together (see what I did there? The site address is https://www.intelligame.us, and I want US to INTELLIGAME together…Don’t worry; you’ll get it one day).
This site is launching on my 28th birthday. I’ve spent roughly 26 of my 28 years on the planet as a gamer, dedicating time, money, or energy (or a combination of all of the above) to the pursuit of gaming. I’ve spent a lot of time dreaming about launching this site. And though I know this is far from what I’d call perfect right now, I realize that there’s a time for dreaming, as well as a time for taking action. I’m looking forward to the future, and I hope you are, too.