Saturday, April 16, 2011

Forefather of modern day pwnage, 70, dies

Death roflstomps us all  =(
Take it easy breh, wherever you are.
It’s Saturday, and I delivered on my promise to assault Jesse Jackson’s integrity yesterday, so I figured that I can take a slight break from political and moral commentary to talk about something that is near and dear to my heart: video games.

Yes, I’m a gamer.  Now, I’m not old enough to be all nostalgic about Atari, but this is significant to me nonetheless.  The creator of the first cartridge-based video game platform, which predated Atari, died yesterday.  Gerald “Jerry” Lawson, 70, was one of the people who paved the way for what video games are today.

“Well Jack, what the hell are video games today?  Aren’t they just time-sinks that rot out children’s brains and keep them from doing important stuff like reading?”  Eat my ass, HTNS.  Although some kids get completely obsessed over video games, and admittedly there are plenty out there that are designed to be addicting, games are not entirely the evil menace to intellectual and social development that people think they are.

Games have come a long way over the years.  The first one I have memory of playing is Super Mario Bros for Nintendo.  A lot of my younger friends mock me because the game is incredibly old, and they deem it to be “shitty,” because it’s linear and is not very challenging, but do you know how frustrating that game can be to a 5 year old kid?

If you have a turtle shell,
he will fuck your life.

Anyway, games these days are way more complex than the days of stomping on koopas or running after coins, and that’s a good thing.  The situations presented in some modern RPGs can be very complex, not just in terms of how you play, but a lot of RPGs today tend to buy into the whole moral dilemma thing.  You’re given an incredible amount of freedom in terms of how your character interacts with his or her virtual world.

With the idea of morality coming into games, this means that the gaming experience has the potential to be something more meaningful than a time sink.  I am going to go out on a limb here and say that video games, the good ones that care about things like compelling plot and themes, are going to bear the significance as the modern day classics.  Just as we have classic literature and films, some games today can fall into that category.

Solid Snake is code for
Baddest Ass Mother
Fucker Ever, Ever
Think I’m full of shit?  Just go look into the plot and themes of the Metal Gear Solid series.  Just as books and movies aren’t entirely for entertainment purposes, neither are video games.

Although Ebert denies this fact, video games can indeed be art.  They don’t have to be artsy video games, just as not every piece of literature is “artsy” (in the sense that it presents itself as being a bit lofty and specifically as a form of art).  Some games convey shit that is as epic as the Iliad, or as tragic as Julius Caesar.

So thank you, Jerry Lawson, wherever you are, for being a pioneer in something that has truly shaped an entire generation for the better.  I just may pwn a n00b in your honor.

1 comment:

Harrison said...

I guess he died of a heart attack. I had heard of the Fairchild system he invented. I always had the Odyssey 2 myself.