Our first official entry is immensely subjective and it'll probably remain one of the most so throughout DatConvo's existence. But, if we're going to talk about gaming, how it relates to the world, and how it's grown, I think it's imperative to first lay out how gaming relates to us at DCD and how we've grown because of it.
"What connects you to gaming?" is the question I asked myself and my comrades, leaving it intentionally vague, for the relationship and experience to be defined by those answering.
I vividly remember playing Crash Bandicoot, Read Dead Revolver, and Madden with my dad growing up. Brute Force, Mark of Kri, and a plethora of racing and hunting games dig to the forefront of my mind too. Waking up at seven in the morning on the weekends to manage my FIFA career before my family woke up. Later on, playing every type of game with Praythendie through middle school, most notably RPG's and street-style sports games, helping establish a life-long friendship. Plant and Thund3r dragging me into the rabbit hole of Call of Duty multiplayer and zombies all through high school-- especially COD Demolition, it was just so great. Until Dawn and Life is Strange with AfricanAlex in college were fully-fledged set-up-requiring event nights. A myriad of great games that it hurts not to talk about such as Sniper Elite, Sonic Adventures 2, DragonQuest, Fable, Combat Arms, MapleStory, Tom Clancy’s Future Soldier, Destiny, The Turing Test, For Honor, ABZU, PUBG, & Rocket League. And the throughline series that probably incited my self-identification as a gamer and evolved as a series as I grew up: Assassin's Creed. The narrative power of the AC games, especially the Ezio trilogy, galvanized me and showed me the profound capacity of interactive storytelling-- and I got to share all of those AC moments with Praythendie.
“Moving from the west coast to the east coast at 9 years old made it hard to start over and find friends. I started playing Runescape in an attempt to stay in touch with my friends still living out west. I began burying myself in games at the time mostly Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts, from there I met new friends with the shared love of gaming. We played everything from Fable to Call of Duty, NFL Street to FIFA. My love of games has continued to grow with a deep love of RPGs to escape the real world and shooters to let off some steam. [Honorable mentions] Kalonline, Trickster, MapleStory.”
“I miss wonderful Call of Duty games and wish they would go back to the old ways. Obviously Rocket League is amazing. Dark Souls is a new-found love of mine given to me by Praythendie.”
“I remember standing in line waiting to see Star Wars in 1977, since then I had always been fascinated with science fiction and space. The idea of traveling to other worlds is fascinating. That idea is propagated through video games; To go anywhere, be anyone, and see [all] things within the realm of human imagination.”
“My father was the original gamer; he spent his childhood spending every spare coin he could find at the arcade down the street, playing the original text driven RPGs on his parent’s Commodore 64, and later saving up to buy any consoles he could get his hands on. It’s no surprise that when I showed up I was immediately rocketed into video game culture. Before I could play them myself, I sat behind my dad and watched him play Final Fantasy but the second my hands were big enough I had his old Gameboy color playing Pokémon. I loved it all whether it be handheld, console, or pc— there wasn’t an RPG I wouldn’t play. Gaming was my escape from the real world; anytime it sucked I would turn to video games where I could be as courageous as Link, loyal as Cloud, or unwavering as Sora. That Gameboy color started a love for gaming that will last a thousand lifetimes.”
You know, I was going to write about literary inheritance and discuss the gaming equivalent in some show of abstracted journalistic self-indulgence, but the DCD squad has shown me, with their responses, that it’s much simpler and purer than that. What connects us to gaming, at the most basic level, are these core things:
Like every form of entertainment, escapism is heavily involved. Therealadyhades and Praythendie both used the phrase, “escape [from] the real world”. I note the profundity of a great interactive narrative. Plagoo is fascinated by traveling to worlds outside this one. And, though Plant didn’t speak on it, I have personally seen him wholly immersed in VR (once, he thought he ‘actually’ saved our lives by defusing a bomb). Plagoo sums this part up best when he says gaming allows us to “go anywhere, be anyone, and see things within the realm of human imagination”. And there’s an important distinction there— not only do we get to go anywhere and see remarkable things, but we get to be anyone.
Gaming surpasses most other forms of entertainment and escapism in that it gives us agency. We don’t just feel the struggles and achievements of the characters and secondarily experience their stories. We, ourselves, struggle and achieve and feel— we live the story and make our own experience. Gaming gives us the opportunity to see things from perspectives other than our own. As realadyhades mentions, it allows us to be courageous, loyal, and unwavering like some of our favorite heroes. It allows us to overcome challenges and grow and do all these things in an environment that’s simultaneously safer and more adventurous than the ‘real world’ in which we all struggle.
And lastly, gaming affects us all through helping us relate to one another. Pray told of how gaming helped him stay in touch and make new connections after moving across the country as a kid. Pray, Plant, and I exclusively listed games or experiences that involve companionship and socialization in some way. Hades and I have gaming to thank as an avenue through which we bond with our fathers, and our fathers to thank for introducing us to the experience altogether. And Plagoo didn’t express it directly in his remarks, but, he co-founded Dat Click Doe, a team-based, inclusive gaming organization, and is always promoting that supportive, positive, social gaming culture.
Together, we love to explore other worlds, achieve things great and small, let off steam, and lose ourselves to fully immersive narratives. We love to share these moments with one another and have a great time with every raid, dungeon, match, and quest—all while racking up that experience. And of course, we enjoy bringing gamers together, entertaining you all, and staying true to our creed: It’s all about DAT CLICK DOE!
Let us know what connects you to gaming in the comment section below and check out our Extra Life 24-hour stream Nov. 3rd and 4th to raise money for the kids at Duke Children's Hospital!