Why Avatar Is Important

I wrote this back in January, and somehow never got around to posting it until now. Well, here it is. Better late than never, right?

There was this other movie that everyone seems to be talking about. I saw that one, in IMAX 3D. I shamelessly add it to my list of favorite movies, along with The Matrix and Lilo & Stitch and other such gems of cinema. I may be excessively indie when it comes to games, but no one can accuse me of being a film snob.

Whatever people are saying about it, what I appreciated in that movie was that it clearly showed what people left behind when they took up agriculture and industrialization and the trend toward global corporate hegemony - I said "hegemony" haha! - that is, the fun. Not moral superiority, not environmental friendliness, not utopian peace and happiness, but a life that, despite the dangers, the high mortality rate, the lack of iPhones or toilet paper or whatever else you want to measure, a life that is richly fulfilling, challenging, rewarding, interesting, in a way that the human mind and body craves and thrives on - in a word, fun.

This pressure gradient between the two societies, the fun and the unfun, is what drove the progression of this story. And this movie drove this difference home in the way no other medium could - except for games, of course - and for that reason, it is important. That's it.

And lots of people feel it. They feel this gradient pushing them away from their own lives and into the imaginary fun of the movie, which is no place to be if you are in fact a real person. But this fun place is real, it's just out of sight, in the past, or in those pockets of the world where the fun has yet to be sucked out and converted into GDP.

But no one's talking about it like that, because the usual sides to pick, the usual ways to debate these kinds of things are so readily available. Yes, kind of sad. But it gives me hope. If you show people what they're missing, they will feel it, and they will desperately seek it out, even if they believe it to be imaginary.

So, hope for the world. I must remember my mission. This is why I chose games. Light the fire, make the spark. Don't crack the whip. Whips don't work very well on rockets anyway.

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