gaming

Monday Musings: Caught in a Creative Cyclone a.k.a. An Overly Creative Mind

There is such a thing as too much creativity or, perhaps it would be better said, too little constraint for creativity.  Yes, good readers, it’s true!  Unconstrained, rampant creativity can lead to the exact opposite of creativity’s intention (to create), leading to a perpetual state of whirling ideas and useless pontification.  Worse, sometimes unconstrained creativity leads to a giant mess of a creation, so wrapped up in its wild, disparate parts that it scarce resembles anything cohesive.

I suppose I’ve always known this, but I received a lesson on this yesterday.  I am an avid pen-and-paper gamer, good old school roleplayer for decades now (a subject that will come up sometime soon, be assured!), and I was tasked with coming up with a new character for a small Pathfinder game.

“Okay,” I told the gamemaster (the person referring the game and telling the story for the uninitiated), “what are my parameters?”

“Whatever you’d like to play, as long as it works with the other player,” he replied.

“Wow, cool, this is a great chance to try out some of the more unusual things out there!  Thanks!”

So I went out into the world with a blank check.  Couple that with a fellow player with few quibbles with what I wanted to play and I could do almost anything.  Any kind of character could be my creation.  Therein lied the problem.

Unconstrained, my creative mind ran wild.  I had hundreds of ideas, intriguing notions I had stored up from years of gaming, and they all flooded in at once.  That led to hours of consternation, trying to sort so many rapidly evolving ideas and notions, half-baked character concepts all tangling up into a messy ball of unrecognizable dough.  I was being tripped up by my own creativity, having set no bounds for myself or having none set for me.

You can see this same effect in other creative ventures.  A writer with no editors or beta readers can spit out lurching masses of pages, tangled up with too many characters, subplots, and half-baked ideas to form a solid narrative.  A renowned filmmaker, in much the same way, might be let go creatively with no studio or editorial oversight and steer a beloved cinematic universe down an erratic and incomprehensible path (NO I’M NOT STILL MAD ABOUT PHANTOM MENACE, THANK YOU FOR ASKING!).  All creative people need filters, be they self-imposed or, better yet, imposed by others outside of the direct creative process, lest our imaginations all run off the rails.

Until next time, good luck, good reading, and good writing!

Getting Political: What the hell, ‘gamebros’?

Reading the news is always something of a roller-coaster.  There are high points and low points.  Maybe I should say, though, that the news is more like riding a rickety roller-coaster, because at the end, I usually wind up feeling off-balance, confused, and a tad sick to the stomach, with little of the rush riding a good coaster gives me.  Today is sadly no different in that regard.

Maybe, if you’re a past reader, you will notice that I am something of a feminist.  I feel strongly about women’s issues and am not afraid to have my voice counted among others who share my beliefs.  Naturally, for whatever reason, I am a life-long fan of some things that do not normally fit into the feminist toolbox: comic books, video games, and pro wrestling.  All of those things have had more than a few problems in the realm of women’s issues, especially in the realm of sexist depictions and attitudes towards women in the industry.

So suffice it to say I’m pretty damn appalled at the actions of those who think that ‘Social Justice Warriors’ (which as a name is really quite awesome … please call me a Social Justice Warrior!) are ‘ruining’ video games and that they have to ‘fight back’ against their ‘oppressors’, which amounts of petty death threats, ruining reputations with false information, theft and distribution of personal information, and a host of other disgusting acts, quite a few of which are actual, you know, CRIMES.  ‘Gamebros’, grow up.  Seriously.

Whether you realize it or not, you are doing a fine job not at saving video games, but ruining them.  Gaming has the potential to be an incredible new media, at least as highly regarded as film and theatre, and the interactive elements present an unparallelled chance to bridge cultures and give people a glimpse into the life of others.  It should be PROMOTING equality and unity, not causing greater division.  If you knuckle-dragging fools would wake up and realize that, you wouldn’t be doing these horrible acts.  Instead, you’d be doing everything in your power to welcome the people that make up over 50% of the audience of the media you purport to love.

Instead … well … we get what we currently have going on.

So, in essence, what the hell, ‘gamebros’?  What will make you wake up and join the 21st century?