2020’s version of Blaugust is in full swing, and it’s my turn already. Thank you Dragonray for handing over the baton, I hope I’ll be able to meet the high expectations you’ve set for me. 🙂
Blaugust Promptapalooza – Prompt 3
What are some key sources of media (games/movies/etc) that have shaped your worldview?
As I’m writing a blog that mainly focuses on video games in general and MMORPGs in particular it shouldn’t come as a surprise that those will get a mention here. I was born in 1976 though, so I’ll have to start off with some earlier types of media.
You know, it’s funny. I’ve been working in radio broadcasting for almost 20 years now, and during that time I’ve often said that I enjoy it despite not being and never having been a radio listener myself. While thinking thoroughly about today’s prompt I’ve realized that it’s actually not true at all.
I couldn’t for the life of me tell you the stations’ names, but back when I was little the radio was always on at home. My mom also played vinyl (and shellac) records, of which I mainly remember The Beatles and ABBA, but mostly it was the radio playing.
I liked it a lot, and it didn’t take long until I begged for my own one with a built-in cassette recorder so I could record my favourite songs. Once I’d got it I would sit on my bed for hours on end, listen to the music and record the songs that I liked the most. To this day Depeche Mode’s Everything Counts is one of my all-time favourites, for example.
I guess radio shaped my worldview insofar that it taught me early on how beautiful, heart-warming and life-enriching music can be. I can’t imagine a life without it.
Growing up during the eighties in an urban environment also meant watching a lot of TV. Until about 1985 we still had a black-and-white set and a grand total of three programs to watch, but around my 9th birthday we got a color set, a VHS recorder and cable TV. From then on there was no stopping me.
I soaked up everthing a boy of that age ought to like (at the time): shows like The Muppet Show and Sesame Street, reruns of The three Stooges or Laurel and Hardy; a bit later I was really into The A-Team, Knight Rider, Airwolf and so on. I even got my first taste of Anime (without knowing it) with Captain Future and Saber Rider.
I wouldn’t call any of that life-changing experiences, but the things I watched have undoubtedly shaped me in some way or other.
At the age of twelve or so a true landmark event happened though: I got to watch Return of the Jedi – and thus a Star Wars movie – for the first time. I believe I’d never been so enthralled by anything in my life. Other stuff I’d just watched, but that movie took me to a galaxy far, far away indeed, and I think it really changed the way I watch movies. Nowadays I get totally absorbed by the story – usually even if said story isn’t all that great – and forget about everything else until it’s over.
I have to admit that it can be somewhat demanding to watch movies with me as I don’t tolerate talking, cell phone usage or anything else that might distract me (chips are okay though as long as I can have some too), but that’s just the way it is now and the price, I feel, for being able to immerse oneself completely.
Great movies and shows take me to places and let me experience adventures I would never see and have in real life, and I’m extremely grateful for that.
You probably wouldn’t be reading this now if I hadn’t been a huge fan of reading all my life.
It started, unsurprisingly, with comics, mainly Mickey Mouse, Asterix and Clever & Smart. I tried to like Marvel and stuff, but those were just too ‘loud’ for me, if that makes sense.
At age 13 or so I shifted away from comics and started to read ‘real’ literature – if you’re willing to call penny dreadfuls literature, that is. John Sinclair is written by a German author and tells the stories of a Scotland Yard inspector specialized in paranormal investigations. I used to read those every week for a couple of years straight, and that’s what kicked off my turning into a serious bookworm. I assume it’s also where my penchant for horror movies came from, to boot.
For the next ten, fifteen years I read a hell of a lot, mostly science fiction and fantasy, but also thrillers, historical fiction and even non-fiction (the latter especially about ancient Egypt).
These days I’m not reading as much as I’d like, but I still do of course.
If you’re reading this I don’t need to lecture you about the power of the written word, do I? Suffice it to say, without reading so much I wouldn’t be the person I am today, and I’ll never stop enjoying it.
Playing video games is pretty much the earliest memory of consuming any type of media that I have, and it has always been my main hobby, if you will. It’s much more to me than a hobby though.
A really great game can, in a way, be the culmination of everything I talked about above. Experiencing adventures I could never have in real life? Check. Music that evokes strong emotions and makes the ride all the more enjoyable? Absolutely. Thrilling, touching or funny stories with heroes to root for and villains to despise? Sure thing. Well, sometimes anyway.
Add to that the ability to play an active part in all of it instead of just consuming passively, and in some cases to even fundamentally affect the outcome, and you get something truly marvelous.
Unfortunately playing video games has also helped to shape my worldview in a negative way though, as it has taught me that even amongst ‘normal’ human beings (i.e. not counting scum like terrorists, rapists and so on) there’s a frighteningly large number of dickheads out there. I’ve had stretches where I outright refused to play online-multiplayer games because I just wasn’t willing to take it anymore.
Apart from that though, what can I say, I just love playing video games. They’re inextricably a part of me.
And there you have it.
Tomorrow the wonderful Roger Edwards (thanks for all the great movie reviews by the way!) will be there for you with the fourth installment of Blaugust Promptapalooza 2020, so head on over to Contains Moderate Peril and have a look. I sure will.