Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A balance between games and real life

There exists for gamers an incredible challenge - to find a balance between the irrational lust for more of the game and the necessity to preserve some semblance of a normal life.  Of course many gamers sink deep into the pit and come out only when compelled by physical necessity and some folks never touch the things in the first place; there is a continuum of different styles.  The struggle for people like myself who desire to communicate about their gaming passions is that speaking in a language that a non gamer can understand makes it extremely difficult to keep the interest of gamers because they find the conversation too simple and tired.  When instead we try to communicate in a language that gamers really understand and at a level that they find comfortable any non gamer simply has no idea what is going on - we might as well be speaking Greek.  I am not at all sure I actually achieve any sort of useful balance in my blog, as even though I try to make the gaming posts accessible many people find them incomprehensible and I am sure I could write better content for gamers if I gave up on accessibility entirely.

I must therefore give mad props where mad props are due, which in this case is to The Guild and Felicia Day in particular.  The Guild is a web based show that chronicles the lives of a group of extremely hardcore gamers.  They are ridiculous caricatures of gamer stereotypes, thoroughly understandable to those outside the gaming world and yet very sympathetic to gamers who have seen people just like that.  The Guild has the nigh impossible task I just outlined above, that is to make a show that somehow is appealing to the people who actually game as seriously as the characters in the show while still being accessible to the rest of the world.  They succeed at this quite dramatically, much more so than I do.  Somehow they manage to sneak in all kinds of awesome gaming references and yet make sure that someone who is not a World of Warcraft player could easily get the show as a whole.  The key parts are the characters, their loves, challenges and neuroses, and those translate very well across the gap between the gamers and the normal folk.  Certainly those who are hardcore gamers will find even more to laugh at but the appeal is very broad.  It also probably doesn't hurt that the lead character Felicia Day, who is also the writer and producer, is a beautiful redhead who is a longtime game geek and who writes awesome online shows, comics and books.  It is hard to imagine a more desirable girl for the legions of geeks out there.

The Guild has 4 seasons of shows online Here

And two awesome music videos Here and Here.

Watch them.  They are wonderful, and if you aren't the sort of person who knows these archetypes personally you must understand that they are exaggerations - but only very, very slight ones.  If you are the sort of person who knows about online gaming then expect to have hours and hours of your life vanish before you can drag yourself away from your screen again.

PS:  The actor who played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek:  The Next Generation plays one of the 'bad guys' in the show.  He is bloody awesome, much to my surprise.

PPS:  Wow, watch this if you are a gamer.