I’m crouched low, walking as quietly as possible through a dank sewer. I can hear the police sirens screaming just above. I don’t know what I did to get so many of them after me, but I know I have to escape. I keep making my way through the dark with the hope that there will be an exit somewhere. Finally, as the sirens get weaker I can see a light up ahead. My heart is beating like a jackhammer as I begin my run to freedom. Just as I am nearing the exit, a zombie springs up and rakes its claws across my chest.
Ok, so I never actually fought a zombie while running away from the cops, and I’d never want to, but when I’m playing my favorite computer game, Half Life 2, I can slay as many aliens as I want without worrying about those worrying about those silly little things like prison. Or death.
I always make an effort to do something novel, something I’ve never done before. Whatever that might mean, whether I’m learning how to do the Lindy Hop or wearing all of my clothes inside out for a day, it’s the new experiences in my life that drive me forward.
While I always strive for those new experiences, life frequently gets in the way of my ambitions. So I’ll sit down in a comfy chair, turn on my computer, and start up a new game. That’s when worlds open up to me that I could only normally imagine.
I can become Narcolei, the laser gun wielding soldier from the future, or Decius Maecilius, the Roman captain who commands his legions to fight against Barbarian hordes. I can be any one of countless people who are more than willing to let me walk a few miles in their shoes.
Of course computer games aren’t real, but that’s why I love them. I might be playing a World War II paratrooper who has just began his jump, only to realize a little too late that I can’t get my chute open. That’s not a big deal, I can just hit start the level over. Real life doesn’t let you save your game.
I play games because they let me do anything I want without any nasty repercussions. I play them not to get away from the world, but to expand the world beyond what I could ever see otherwise.
When other little kids would dream about going to space camp, I would just grab my keyboard and fly among the stars, because I believe in computer games.
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