Growing up I’ve had quite a weird taste in things according to popular conventions. I grew up as a black kid in the hood not liking hip-hop or mainstream music but instead having a fondness for video game music and JPOP. I always found what I listened to on the radio to be quite distasteful, stories that I still don’t resonate with to this very day. Growing up I watched anime in a world where anime was still a niche entity compared to nowadays were it’s becoming increasingly mainstream.
I’ve always had quite an eccentric personality, always seeking things that I found to be niche or interesting to me. To be brutally honest I find the world that we live in to be trite and boring with regards to what is possible. This world nevertheless always will be filled with marvels to behold so I shall elaborate on what I mean.
Do you ever notice that many of the houses that you see in your city or neighborhood look eerily the same? Or the clothes that we wear look the same? How about video games? Do you ever notice that most video games are designed with combat/violence as the central mechanic? What about an undesirable condition such as family tension, war, or poverty-stricken areas in your community?
For me I notice these things and think of all the possibilities for our world. I’d love to see a town that looks like it was stripped right out of a Tim Berton or Nintendo property. Or a Super Mario Warp Pipe protruding out of the ground that leads to an underground playground beyond my wildest dreams via a looping slide. Imagine a city that was designed from the ground up by architects, urban planners, skateboarders, and game designers to create a city dedicated solely to skateboarding. Commerce in this city will be centered around the activity of skateboarding and those who associate with skateboard culture, it’d truly be the Mecca of Skateboarding.
Or how about this, an escape game/restaurant experience where patrons can signup for a meal as well as solve their way through a series of mind-boggling puzzles to escape the establishment. This restaurant would be a little paracosm filled with zany characters and lore tucked away from the humdrum of everyday life. The external world would be irrelevant, you could leave everything behind just for a brief time and dive into this wonderful experience. It’d practically be Alice In Wonderland, the employees wouldn’t perceive themselves as simply going to work from 9-5 but entering a new world from 9-5. No one would enter this restaurant with the preconceived notion that it is a typical restaurant but that they’d be entering a completely different world, “isekai“. It’s easy and “realistic” to think that “work is work”, but why must it be? Why can’t work be made much more interesting? Why can’t work be play?
*Sigh*, but sadly I haven’t seen anything like these in the real world. What would it take to implement any of these ideas? As a gamer I’d like to see the potential of the video game medium flourish, as a musician I search for and create new sounds, and as a storyteller and anime fan I want to see stories that I’d like to read and watch. Why is the world so boring? Of course the world isn’t that boring but you get what I mean. If I can’t have any of what I just described then can I at least have rainbow cobblestone roads and supermarkets that aren’t inundated with the typical fare such as Lay’s chips and Coke products? Or video games that are as or more engaging than the yearly blockbuster that doesn’t involve violence as the central mechanic or no violence at all?
From what I’ve observed, it can be hard for many of us (myself included) to envision greater possibilities because we’re always stuck in conventions for prolonged periods of time. A number of gamers are afraid that their favorite toys will be taken away from them if the video game medium matures and expands. I’d never have thought that, if not for musicians like Iannis Xenakis and Mark Applebaum, music itself as we’ve come to know it can be dramatically subverted to go into uncharted territories. Boredom can be a powerful catalyst for creative change, when one is dissatisfied with current tastes they then can feel compelled to create what they want to see in the world.
Given the infinite possibilities and creative capacity of human beings, why do we get so bored with life? Could it be that one of the reasons is that the sand pit has grown old? Life Online isn’t static, always dynamic. What contributes to our boredom is only ephemeral. If we are bored with our lives or what we create for ourselves, then we are responsible for our enjoyment.
In that regard I believe the world to be boring, however there’s always much work and enjoyment to be found. This world will always be one of opportunity whatever realm one may find themselves in, whether it be personal or on the world stage. If we’re fed up with the fading allure of conventions or any other undesirable condition, why not create something new? This capacity to create and destroy I believe is a profound design choice by The Master Game Designer. I have to remember to remind myself of this for I too forget, for we are not simply players bound by established rules and conventions but we’re also creators of those very same rules and conventions.