POCKET WORLDS I: PROLEGOMENON TO VIDEO GAMES

Welcome, friends.

I’m here to tell everyone why they’re wrong about what they believe… about video games.

I will take a lot of things for granted. This piece is a whole lot more agenda & speranda than credenda; I don’t really do much arguing. More explaining of a vision. You can take it or leave it.

Please realize that this was written in jest, most of it in a single sitting, by a young man who is unwise in the ways of the world. But, if I am wise in anything, I am wise regarding the culture of video games, in which I have perhaps spent too much time. This is my effort to justify some of that. After all, perhaps one of the many thoughts I have stumbled across is a good seed meant to bear good fruit.

Is it so bad to be sincere and self-mocking at the same time? Perhaps I’m just a coward who wants to cover his bases. If I say something dumb, I can say I was only joking! And if I say something very wise, I can say I truly meant it.

I call this a ‘prolegomenon’ because I like the word, but also because it is ridiculous for me to use it.

Such tricks would not be fitting for a gentleman, or a teacher, or a sage. But I am just a young man who respects games and thinks everyone else is dropping the ball, so to speak. I had a lot of fun with this; I would enjoy it if you had fun too. After all, what are games for?

The disquisition contains ten parts, of which this is the first. The following four parts will attempt to describe the role of video games within our current culture, and many of the problems that exist or will soon exist. A prophetic warning may or may not ensue. The four parts after that will describe a more ideal way for Christians to deal with video games in light of those cultural problems; the first two regarding participation, the latter two regarding creation. The final and tenth part will be the conclusion.

——-

I. PROLEGOMENON TO VIDEO GAMES

[THE ‘PROBLEMS, BECAUSE PAGANS’ SECTION]

II. AWAITING THE KINGDOM

III. THE LOVE OF THE CULT & THE GLORY OF THE SPORT

IV. IDOL FACTORIES & AN INDUSTRY OF CORRUPTION

V. ULTRAVIOLENCE & THE NEW VIRTUAL HEDONISM

[THE ‘CHRISTIANS SAVE THE DAY’ SECTION]

VI. MANLY TEMPERANCE & PARTICIPATION IN THE EMPIRE

VII. PAIDEIA & CHILDLIKE IMAGINATION

VIII. IMAGE & ART

IX. GAME & LITURGY

— CONCLUSION —

X. ENDLESS FANTASY

——-

Much of what I say, if it is useful at all, will doubtless be applicable to many other elements of youth life, entertainment, and digital media of all kinds.

I wish to focus specifically on video games because video games involve the creation of new, discrete worlds.

4 thoughts on “POCKET WORLDS I: PROLEGOMENON TO VIDEO GAMES

  1. Caleb J. Warner says:

    This kind of “I am a young man” defense of your thoughts I think can work as a refutation and cred-boost, but maybe it is more of a cred-boost with you than any imagined accuser. I’ve done it so many times–and like I said at lunch, I have always flip-flopped between guilty publishing and defiant publishing. I don’t know if I have found the answer yet, but one of the tools in the inventory for defense against those who might say it is worthless is this kind of self-awareness. It seems like you are trying to respond more to the voice in your head that hates you than a real person out there that could potentially hate you.
    Which makes sense, because I think the only person that would accuse you of being silly and incapable of pulling off something like this seriously is you.

    Ultimately, though, I think the greatest defense against someone who might accuse you of taking yourself too seriously is to never take yourself too seriously. This is more of an internal posture than a real declaration that you don’t take this stuff seriously. I know you do–and it is ultimately pretty hard to show someone who is unfamiliar with your thinking to know where the “taking seriously” begins and the “silliness” ends. I think in a good rhetoric, they are held in an enteral tension and cannot be distinguished.

    side-note: Thomas More’s Utopia does this perfectly, maybe? There is always the thought in the back of the reader’s mind that the author could not, seriously, think he had the right to think a thought or to critique something.

    And the thing that best cues off this internal posture of “not being overly righteous,” I think is maybe the abundance of humor and jokes within something that appears serious on the surface (like, for example, a dialog with a prologomenon on a blog).

    I don’t know–what are your thoughts?

    Be proud that you have a prologomenon!

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    1. Mike Jones says:

      That’s a great point. I suppose here I tell people how jovial I want to be, instead of just actually being jovial.

      But I’m also nervous about the essay as a whole. It wanders a lot and I feel a lot of people could find it incoherent, so I just want to encourage them to find it pleasant, at the very least.

      Remember all those times in Latin with Mr. Sipes debating about how serious Thomas More was? I remember it coming up a lot.

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      1. Caleb J. Warner says:

        I do! That’s kinda what I was referencing. It influenced me a lot, I think, with how I interact with ancient texts. A lot of those highly theoretical works always seem just so dogone playful.
        Like the Republic! I just get the impression that Plato was having so much damn fun writing it.

        Concerning being nervous, with my essays there is obviously part of the art a real imperfection. That’s why we have to perfect the essays by talking them out like this. They are only a discussion, the beginning of a discussion, I think. To say you want them to be pleasant, it sounds like you want them to be read easily, lightly, as if they were being spoken right?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Mike Jones says:

          There’s a danger there, though, especially with something like the Republic. Sincerity is so hard to read across thousands of years. Because a lot of ancient ideas seems so silly to us at first glance, because of their alien nature, it’s really hard to measure how sincere they were. Then again, I doubt self-awareness and sarcasm are a modern invention.

          What would be interesting would be to research historical conceptions of silliness and satire to try and gain the skill of accurately reading sincerity / irony out of the ancients. It seems like something that would require an incredible amount of finesse and poetic knowledge of a language in that specific era.

          Liked by 1 person

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