So I was having my usual conversation with my bro’s more wilderness affiliated friend, where we basically go back and forth over the importance, or lack thereof, of video games. He feels that I am wasting my time staring at the “demon box”, whereas I find video games to be a much more profound form of fantasy. Sure, I’ll admit that in all actuality, I’m sitting on the couch staring at a screen; but when you read a book, you’re sitting for hours in one position staring at dead tree scraps. Video games have more in common with books than my opinionated advocate of nature will have you believe. To me, both are gateways into another world. The difference is that in the written word, you simply follow along in the adventures of the character; while in the world of games, you become that character. Video games can be classified as interactive stories, in a sense. You can become anything from a mutated ninja to an intergalactic bounty hunter.
I almost feel that I am preaching to the choir here. I know that if you are reading this, you are no doubt a fan of games, and therefore on my side of the argument here. Still, it’s always good to justify your hobby, and even more importantly, to look at it from a whole new perspective. Before this month’s Awesomer, did you really think of games as profound worlds with infinite possibilities? Call me passionate about my medium if you must, but I can honestly say that there is much more to video games than just a way for me to kill precious time. Aside from the game itself having meaning to me, it seems my mind works much clearer while playing Dr. Mario than it does when I’m lying in bed wide awake at four in the morning. Often I will reach new dimensions of thought when I am operating my Nintendo Entertainment System, and if you think that’s saying a bit much, take a moment to let the following sink in:
It was while playing Nintendo, like all vivid realizations should occur, that I was struck with an epiphany. It seems that there is much more to Bucky O’Hare than one might think. At a first glance, the game seems innocent enough; a rebellious animal force raging against the tyrannical onslaught of the evil amphibious toads. You know, the same old video game stuff, right? As it turns out, according to my highly advanced abstract reasoning, the game is pro-war propaganda for an animal race that may very well exist in a galaxy far, far away. The mammals of this war are presented as the heroic protagonists while the toads are seen as infectious maniacal scum. I can hear you now. “But Neal, what is it about the situation that has you in a fuss? Why can’t Bucky O’Hare merely be a fantasy with no connections to events that may or may not have occurred?” That would be the case, loyal reader, had it not been for another game that tells otherwise:
Battletoads. Think about it. A lot of the same components here, people. We have a war in outer space between toads and mammals (the Dark Queen is as much human as Willy Duwitt, and the Pigs and the rat boss Big Blag are just as mamally as Bucky and Jenny), and it can be clear in this game where the forces of evil are evident. Is it really so hard to grasp? Now we have the very same war from a positive protagonistic toad point of view. This is what got me thinking that both games project a glorified image of the war and should therefore be deemed null and void. There is a war going on, and the children of Earth have been bombarded with propaganda for more than 10 years. As with any war, I’m sure the US will get involved in one way or another.
Until that happens, this has been Neal, and unless you’re Freddy Mercury, I am awesomer than you.