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2020: The Lost Year

Things have mostly opened back up from lockdown here in Michigan, but the second wave of COVID-19 beginning to form is more evident than ever, especially using other states and countries as case studies. Our lockdown was better than most in the US, so maybe it will take longer to get back to where we started, but it's definitely going to happen barring some kind of major wildcard like a surprisingly early and effective vaccine or a miraculous change in human nature and American culture. On a brighter note, I'm seeing my son Bobby again, and at four years old he's already hardcore obsessed with Nintendo. My own didn't start until I was six - I went across the street with my friend Kelly to play Super Mario Bros. with her and her Dad and my world was changed forever. As I write this, listening to "Planetarium" from Super Mario Galaxy, I wonder why these other worlds are so alluring - but it's obvious isn't it? The real one just isn't that great. Video games can't give you a hug, or love you, but they can do just about everything else, and it's almost always better (and easier) than it would be in reality. There are those people who will always think of them as "just games," and never be satisfied until they accomplish things in the world of flesh and blood, but those people aren't like us.

In the real world, war is a horrific bloody disaster that few people ever make a full recovery from (if they survive at all). Heroes never receive the recognition they deserve, and the "bad guys," if they exist at all, are often a tiny percentage of those killed and maimed or left to suffer behind the rubble of their homes. Even fighting and full contact sports take young healthy athletes and spit them out with broken bodies and / or brain damage. The greatest works of mankind, though impressive in their prime, are doomed to crumble to dust, leaving no trace of the architects who designed them or the many who toiled their lives away to build them. We've come a ways from the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt and their egotistical pyramids built with slave labor, but not that far. I can't play the guitar or dance or sing for shit, but thanks to Rock Band and Dance Dance Revolution and the like at least I can enjoy it. Most real life adventures on our planet ended with spreading disease and war, in video games you can explore the deepest depths, the highest reaches, the most distant lands, not to mention other worlds and dimensions without a care in the (real) world. You can take on any role, even one you would abhor in real life - the plucky hero can just as easily become the galactic tyrant, the quiet scientist a boisterous warrior, the cab driver a combat medic. Your empire will never crumble, your body will never fail, and the universe never gets to say "fuck you" - or if it does, you can unplug that stupid asshole and switch to a better game.

Back | POSTED BY Robert Otlowski ON June 21, 2020 @ 4:14 pm EST

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