May 29, 2017 Last Updated 11:00 AM, May 29, 2017

Why do we play games?

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Why do we spend our valuable time when corporate greed and socio-societal norms don't force us to? Why do we burn countless hours staring at boxes? It’s true, we are all going to die, and our generation will be remembered as the one that escaped into digital falsehoods and hollow facsimiles of human interaction to forget the absolute desolation and garbage that the world was, is, and continues to be. We are born, we live, we grow old, and we die in the shadow of our own collective mediocrity, and instead of addressing this, we twiddle our thumbs (sometimes literally), and get lost in the effervescent, twisting warps of other people's dreams and fantasies.

Did I mention I like video games?

What is the nature of a person? How do they come forward and face the day by day scouring of existence in the face of the inevitability of the minute nature of their own contributions? How do they stand firm, breathe ragged, chest heaving, spirit screaming and raging like a caged animal when everything in the world wills them to yield? In many instances, there is no long embrace at the end of the tunnel and there is no sweet reward. Our efforts can be fruitless, our failure is an option, and a game so rarely helps any of that.

I play video games every day.

Some people realize in their hearts that we are not what we are, but what we do; that our time, spent well, can echo through eternity like a stone thrown in a cavern. We stand, in the greatest generation, not in the middle of an era, but on the precipice. Every day is the brink of an infinity where our width and breadth of impact are so wildly unknown to us that anyone you meet on the street might one day be your friend, your colleague, your killer, your king.

There is no greater task than to live, here. Now. To fight back the screaming dark every day and create the infinity we dream of, so that the people who come after us will see not something to despair over, but something that inspires them to the highest heights of hope and imagination.

I play video games because they help me relax.

When we turn on a game, we turn our backs on reality almost as readily as if we shut off the lights. Few distractions are as simultaneously all encompassing yet rigidly non-productive as video games. Despite this, games are exploding. More people play games now than my nerdy little heart would have dreamed when I was a child. Every day the neon gods acquire more followers. Every day a new face hunts down distraction.

When I play video games, I feel like I'm in a whole other world!

The people are exhausted. They are beaten. They are bruised. The fight of today is long, arduous, and omnipresent, now perhaps more than ever in the long history of man. People are desperate for a change from the constant pull of fear and concern. Even the young feel the burden of the age, of a future not yet made but in desperate need of making. In these unparalleled times, when hope seems scarce, when dreams seem so easy to kill, and when all the people of the world stand quivering in anticipation and fear of what the next days, months, and years will bring, games are exploding.

I like games because they're a safe way to try crazy things.

When people are wound so tight is it any wonder they seek some form of escape? Pretending to do something meaningful is safer and more comfortable than real risk. It's a nice, small, comprehensible safe space.

I like games because they're so much more than wasting time.

Sometimes, a small, comprehensible safe space is exactly what a person needs to catch their breath, so that tomorrow, they can raise their heads and scream that they will not be beaten back, that they will not let go, or give in, just because things are hard, or the world isn't fair. Humanity shows her resilience in adversity, her strength in her endurance, and her courage sings in the defiance of her fears. We are not the quiet, huddled masses, desperately seeking a way out. We are not the lowing cattle, scared and overwhelmed. We are dreamers and artists, builders and thinkers, and video games are the canvas of a new age.

I play games because they reinvigorate me, and remind me that, despite everything, human beings can and do create amazing works of art and ingenuity. I play games because, when I'm staring exhaustion in the face, they help me to rise up day after day after day and meet my own flawed nature, and a flawed world. They help me forge, if even in only some small way, a better world for myself and the rest of humanity. I play games because, in their small caricatures of humanity, I can see the warmth and glow of real people who, like all creators before them, sought to capture a small glimmer of radiant dreams, hopes, imagination, and the human spirit. I play games because I believe that when posterity looks back, they will see not a generation of escapist cowards, but of dreamers and innovators, of artists and creators, rivaling the best that history could ever hope to offer.

I believe we play games not because we fear and hate this world, but because we love it.

Colt Kotekaas

Colt has always been a PC gamer first and foremost. His grandfather worked as a supervisor for the city mechanic's shop, and he would always bring home new computers and bits from his friend in the tech department. Where most of Colt's friends cut their teeth in the gaming world in the arms of Nintendo or Sony, he got his first taste with Commander Keen, Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure, and even Doom (when he could sneak it in). So it continued until he got a computer of his own, and with it a shiny new copy of Age of Empires. Ever since, his love of real time and turn based strategy has never waned. These days, that love shares a place in his heart with a wide swath of different games across almost every conceivable genre, from first person shooter to MMORPG, but he always return to my strategy roots. When he's not burying his head in games and gaming content he like to work on art and teach himself to program.

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