2. Wherein the Writer Doubts the Cause


From the beginning, every time I think about writing about video games, I have a difficult time taking myself seriously. I feel, and have felt, that everything I have to say on the topic is juvenile or shallow or undeveloped or obvious. For example, the realization that games offer me escapism and that that escapism is part of why I like them so much. I have had such a strong desire to focus my work in this area that I so enjoy, that so delights me, but every time I’ve lifted my pen to do so I’ve been plagued by this feeling of being unprofessional, trite, and childish. And in a way, I feel like petulant child, insisting on writing on a topic that increasingly seems impractical and pursuing a path rife with obstacles. So, convincing myself that I deserve to try and write in an area that I want, and to give myself the time to figure out what that means precisely has been the challenging first step.

I was compelled initially to try and write a very traditional research paper. This was in part so that I could fit in academically, but also part for me, that I might be able to finally say in concrete terms whatever it was I had to say about the games that have played a part in my life. The question of whether it was valuable to write about games didn’t cross my mind until later. I know that much writing, scholarly, popular, personal and otherwise, is done every day. I want to contribute to, even stand out in that discourse somehow. But what I have struggled with is determining and refining what I have to say. My first thing I think to write is always, “games are great!” “Ocarina of Time is the best game ever made!” “Kingdom Hearts STILL makes me cry!” I just want to shout about all the things that excite me about gaming. All the awesome stuff I’ve done in game worlds. All the wonders I’ve discovered, all the riches I’ve amassed, all the lives I’ve saved, and taken. Even when I’m not in the game worlds, it’s all so exciting to me. And I just want to gush about it. I’m holding back gushing about it now, a bit. And I think in order to develop my thesis I have to work through that in some way, to get to what I might say that might really contribute. Because when I’m gushing like that, that’s when I think that what I’m saying doesn’t matter. I’m just excited about something that I like, and I want to talk about it. So I’ve been discouraged when I’ve been trying to brainstorm and I keep asking myself, “why do I like video games so much?” And my answer is, “they’re so much fun. They’re freeing, they’re inspiring, they’re riveting. Saving the princess, saving the world, earning the sacred sword and defeating the forces of evil- how could I not like video games? How could I not love them?” And while I do feel strongly about that emotional entreaty, it has been difficult to refine that sentiment into a thesis. So I’ve kind of floundered. I think the thing to do at this point is to just start writing about my actual experience with games, rather than circling the subject in an approximate way, and maybe something good will come out of that.

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