Out of Two Thoughts, Half of One

A writer is simultaneously the worst and greatest planner at the flashpoint of creation. He or she sets out with one goal, and may achieve two or three others before ever arriving in the first place. It should go without saying that words carry the author away like a sluggish ocean with unsuspecting undertow.

Basically, that’s my way of saying I set out to write one essay, this thought peered through pi, and half a thought later we’re left without a complete solution.

There is a missing element to contemporary drama. It is something ancient Greeks figured out more than two-thousand years ago. That is to say, in the stead of the soporific mode inevitably filled to the brim with cultural euphemisms, there could be a message, a moral, to our dramas. I am, of course, referring to the Greek tragedies, which in and of themselves were intended to relay moralistic lessons from the elders and educated of the community to a less interested or educated milieu.  Meaning, they were meaningful stories – pragmatic as creative, with the intent to unite a diverse people with a common thread. They entertained – and taught.

Willing or not, there is an essential lesson to every tragedy. Sometimes it is simple, like realizing an unassuming mistake can result in grave consequences. Other times it is more complex, inspiring a great deal of personal, and thus cultural, introspection. Shakespeare knew it – and in an English community stratified by disparate societal norms, he wrote his tragedies to appeal to the English conscience as a whole. Why can’t we have the same? Does The Walking Dead teach us anything meaningful about ourselves and our culture? What about others? Some like Breaking Bad make the attempt. Of course, there are places where intelligent drama does live on in our popular media. Shows like Black Mirror can convey complex and provocative themes in an imminently accessible format.

Can video games do the same? It is my opinion that we are at a point in video game development that this answer is, unequivocally, yes.   Modern graphical capabilities give games an unprecedented deal of verisimilitude.  To this ‘realism’ is attached an increasingly mature appreciation of the narrative. Together, they can relay important ideas and themes to a select audience as effectively as Netflix’ Black Mirror or Aeschylus’ Oresteia do.

It should, however, go without saying that most games are vehicles for the insipid as much as their mass-televised counterparts. Nonetheless, it is worth considering that video games are of an age of considerable maturity.

Can we entertain ourselves and learn in the process? Yes.  I don’t think this is something we can force upon ourselves, as a refined appreciation for the sophomoric can distill sanity in its own awkward way. On the other hand, it wouldn’t exactly hurt us to hold our dramas to this higher standard.


~ by nyelome on November 13, 2016.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Poems & People

what if poems could be symphonies, and people their orchestra?

Of Particular Significance

Conversations About Science with Theoretical Physicist Matt Strassler

Callum's Vault

Poetry and various ramblings by Callum Davies

Nhan Fiction

"Hope is my catalyst."

The Heart Drive

nosce te ipsum

%d bloggers like this: