My Top 10 Favorite Video Games

I have been playing games for more than 40 years now (if you count Pong). Nothing has been more captivating for me as a form of entertainment than video games. I have said before that, when perfectly executed, the video game can be elevated to art (even more than film) as it combines all forms – music, visual art, narrative, and thrusts you into the midst of it, making it all interactive.

Now most games do not aspire to this but it is a possibility.

I like most styles of game – driving/racing, shooters, RPG, MMORPG, horror, strategy etc. Specifically I favour big, immersive, open world RPGs. I also prefer the first person perspective. I am not as fond of strategy games.

To that end here is a hastily assembled, probably rough, list of my top 10 favorite video games. These are the games I would want to have on the proverbial desert island (that is equipped with power, shelter, food and a 65 inch flat screen tv).

encrypt

as a youth
i placed my soul
inside of a box
and locked it solid
encrypted
with 72 characters
hoping one day
it would appreciate
in value

little did i know
that i would
forget the pass

it is as if
i never had a soul
in the first place

but i know its there
floating in the ether
lost and disconnected
perhaps even better off
a ghost to haunt me

i am words

i am words made flesh
words spoken across my skin
words spun through my bones
and wound round my brain

i am words of sense and nonsense
like a living tome or testimony
to something beyond my own
wit and wisdom

i am words of question and query
mostly wherefores and whys
tumbling about without completion
disconnected without continuity
a dictionary upended
whose letters have come unglued
and have fallen into some chance order

i am unbound pages without spine
scattered across a lengthening time
with no clever title to call mine
just words spilled out

Blame and the need to Believe

On February 27, 1933 the Reichstag, the main legislative building of the German state, was set ablaze by arsonists.

The event was key in the establishment of the growing authoritarian/fascist power of the new Nazi government who quickly moved to lay blame and assume emergency powers.

Communist party leadership (the biggest threat to Nazi authority) and members were blamed and quickly arrested. Whether the Nazis were complicit or not they used the event to galvanize popular support and secure a majority in the next election.

There was so little evidence to convict that four of the five people blamed eventually won the trial against them and were freed.

On the following March 2 the Nazis were able to convince the Reichstag to pass the Enabling Act 444-94 transferring all legislative authority to the Reich Cabinet effectively establishing the dictatorship which led to World War 2, the holocaust and the other atrocities of the Nazis.

There was opposition to the Enabling Act but it was small as evidenced by the vote. Otto Wels of the Social Democrats spoke in the Reichstag against the passing of the act warning of the authority it gave a party that already held a majority:

Since there has been a German Reichstag, never before has the control of public affairs by the people’s elected representatives been reduced to such an extent as is happening now – and will happen even more, through the new Enabling Act. The expansive power of the government must also have serious repercussions, as the press too lacks any freedom of expression.

But in the wake of WW1 and the economic crisis that ensued along with the recent fire at the Reichstag and the Nazi propaganda machine working overtime to convince the people of conspiracy and enemies all around seeking to undermine the will of the German people.

When people feel oppressed, when they feel hopeless and attacked they deeply desire to believe leaders who claim they can help them. Despite a lack of evidence they will believe them when they lift up scapegoats for self-serving and sacrificial means and it is difficult to convince them otherwise.

None of these things comes close to justifying what occurred and what the Nazis did. Nothing will. They simply provided fertile soil for mass numbers of people to abdicate moral and ethical responsibilities to the state.

We need to remember and be reminded of our history.

someone said

someone said
you were the best of them,
and i hung with you
to find out if it were true.
but i came to learn that you knew,
that i knew nothing about you –
and so i went away all on my own.

and sunsets are best left to the experts.
yes some sets and sunsets are best left to them;
but you know i can walk through the dark
cuz my eyes have grown accustomed,
cuz my heavy-lidded heart has grown accustomed.

so someone said
you were the best of them,
and i hung with you
to find out if it were true.
and i came to learn that you knew,
that i knew everything ’bout you –
and you were just like the rest of them.

someone told you
i was the best of them,
and you let me hang with you
to find out, to find out if it were true.
until you came to see,
that you could see everything ’bout me,
that i was just like the rest of them.

and friendships are best left to the experts.
yes some ships like friendships are best left to them…

To be…

Not only do we want most in life to be known, as Aristotle stated 2,400 years ago but to be known authentically, as we are.

This basic human need is why so many religions often spin their message around the idea of being known etc.

What does it mean to be authentically yourself, let alone, known authentically? I do not know who I am really and so I would be a great disappointment to Shakespeare’s Polonius.

I know a few things about myself. I know that I believe I am most authentically me within my inner life – that is my thought life, my secret life. Who I am in the place no one else can know, not because I try to keep people out but because they cannot access this space.

Who I am in the “real world” is a shadow of myself cast upon the wall of the great cave we all live in, to use Plato’s analogy. People know me based on the shadow they see.

Now aside from an accumulation of experience and knowledge, who I am has not changed an iota from who I was at 12, 20, 30, etc. When I look in the mirror who I see is not who I am. I see the vehicle that transports my self.

I have railed against tendencies and axioms to “act your age” etc. because, frankly, this is bullshit. I act who I am. I regret the accumulation of certain sadnesses and traumas but this may be chalked up to the human experience in the Buddhist sense and so I do not lose sleep over it.

With all this in mind I think the older I have gotten the more I have desired to be known authentically. Ironically, despite the fact it may be our greatest desire, we struggle to know people authentically and to be known authentically. We put up walls. I think this is rooted in the great fear that if people truly knew us for who we really are they would run in horror.

And so we create great charades and facades to project an ideal version of ourselves based on what we believe the ideal to be. This ideal is based on advertising, marketing, society, mum and dad etc. We can so buy into it that we can even deceive ourselves into thinking we are what we are not. It is an endless vicious cycle.

I desire to be known, authentically. I desire to know, authentically.

untethered

untethered and drifting
in the drying of the sea-salt sun,
turning brown and going
who knows where
or maybe standing still.
for the wind has run away;
have i moved a meter or a mile
my swollen tongue cannot say
but fear and fearlessness take turns
playing hide-and-seek in my brain
and i am a passenger deep within
as reality falls away
like an un-keeled boat