I don’t play games as often as I used to, but I remember quite well one of the reasons why I was attracted to them so much. Besides the chance to immerse myself in another world where experience can defy ordinary reality, I found non-linear aspects of a game to eventually be the deciding factor in how much I enjoyed them. Of course, there are exceptions such as Ms. Pacman which will remain a classic even though it has no real story to speak of. In general though, games that offer random generated items or events, multiple playable characters, story lines, and endings were the most fun. In my opinion, Deus Ex and the Fallout series are incredible examples of creative achievement. But before I had a computer there was a book which I could read over and over again. I no longer remember the title but it was a ‘choose your own adventure’ in which you search for a lost crystal. In this genre of literature the reader chooses how the story will progress depending on what actions he decides to take and to what page he will then turn.
For years I wasn’t ‘into’ reading very much until I met my English teacher in high school. She was pretty tough, even wanted to place me in a lower level class initially. Most students probably wouldn’t put her on their list of favorite teachers but I learned a lot because of her approach and found a passion for in depth analysis. I prefer to be presented with a complex play or poem rather than a novel because more focus on each line is required. I love Shakespeare and John Donne because there is so much to work with, it truly boggles my mind how these people could think in such a way. The texts are like mysteries that beg to be unraveled but cannot solved without the reader inserting a part of his own psyche. An interactive medium will never tell you the answer, it needs to be searched for.
I’m well aware that I have a particular world view and a selective awareness. I pay more attention to information that fits my ideas rather than that which does not. Since I’m conscious of this, when I do come across contradictory information I pay twice as much attention because it could stop me from spreading possible fallacies as well as equipping me with the perspective of the opposing side. I also know that a lot of the ideas I’m exposed to come from friends who think like me and therefore spread information that is similar in content. It’s just that recently I find myself exposed to seemingly random sources that have a specific meaning for me. Television and radio don’t pull me in at all, but other media – enhanced by the user selective nature of the Internet can be a wonderful tool. Maybe I’m becoming more narrow minded, or more aware, or possibly some ideas are just becoming more popular in mainstream culture. Most likely it’s a combination of all three but I never experienced so much correlation and synchronicity in information before.