Some of us might survive in a post-apocalyptic world, but what’s going to happen to our beloved hobby of gaming?
For some reason, I often think about this late at night. What if the world suddenly experienced a “2012” or a zombie epidemic? Society would need to rebuild and start from scratch. It would be inevitable for people to start prioritizing citizens based on what they could contribute to the new world. If you’re a doctor or a scientist, then you’re pretty much on top of everyone’s list.
How about me? Well, I write about video games and I occasionally make them. They’ll probably think I’m better of as food instead. Sure, the world would need video games but it isn’t an immediate cause. First of all, we need the scientists to figure out electricity first and it’s not exactly like our hobby is the first priority.
It’s not just the whole idea of people not needing a video game enthusiast. It’s the whole idea of losing an entire medium. Music can live on without our MP3 players and we can just easily make plays as an alternative to film/television. Video games would die until society stabilizes and I bet that it will take more than a hundred years if the entire planet is ravaged.
We will go back to playing hide and seek, board games, and other games we used to play. Games would still exist, but it’s not the medium we love. It’s a sad thought especially when I consider video games a part of my identity. It’s my hobby and to some degree it’s a career that I’ve started to build.
This sentiment kicked in more when I was watching last Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead. Carl walked into a teenage boy’s room and saw a stack of video games piled up. He poignantly smiled as he touched the games like it was some delicate treasure. It’s like finding the ancient city of Atlantis, yet not knowing how to use the magnificent technology the city once had. Carl sighs and resigns himself back to reality. I know that there’s much more meaningful things to mourn besides video games, but that doesn’t make it any less significant. Our hobbies and passions are a part of who we are, and what’s more scary than losing our own identities?
However, I do believe that video games are worth preserving as art and other artistic mediums even if they become temporarily inaccessible. Regardless if they were good or not, video games are also a medium rich with history and culture. I thought about this while I was in my Roman Civilization class last week. In my class, we were learning about the era through literature instead of textbooks. We didn’t believe that the Iliad or the Aenied actually happened, but how it’s written, the themes and the context can tell a lot about the society that existed when it was published.
Movies, books, painting, and television shows can do this and video games aren’t an exception. Let’s say it takes the world hundreds of years to rebuild and the society we know is nothing more than fragments of what people tell their descendants. We will be looking back at different mediums to reconstruct a world that history records can only partially restore. People would be looking at the games we played, how it’s built, and how we played them to get a sense of who their descendants were. Imagine their horror when they discover our addiction to Angry Birds, Candy Crush, and Flappy Bird?
When the world suddenly decides to have an apocalyptic event, video games may not be an integral element towards restoring society but it plays a far larger role in years to come. It will help people remember and uncover a time forgotten and lost by many. Of course, don’t sacrifice your life to a horde of zombies just to save a copy of Call of Duty. I wouldn’t even do that for Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
I guess that the main point of this article isn’t really about the apocalypse or the fact that I won’t get to play NBA 2K14 anymore when something catastrophic happens. It’s more about the idea of recognizing the worth of video games beyond its entertainment value. It can tell a story about who you are and the world you live in. It is a medium with cultural and historical value.