Very few games have ever made me feel something. Video games today have come so far where it feels like a step above a movie-watching experience. Instead of just consuming information, you actively make decisions that can shape your experience and even the game’s narrative in some cases. This gaming formula was most certainly prevalent in a game I just finished called Firewatch.
Instead of me simply reviewing this game, giving it a numerical score, and filing it away in my memory of good games, I need to take my experience a step further. Upon completion of Firewatch I remember just sitting still, staring blankly at the screen, thinking, “That’s it?” It’s true; the final act seemed almost lackluster and anticlimactic. The gamer in me wanted more… Like a twist ending that would’ve been formulaic, fitting and entertaining. But what actually transpired was a conclusion that left me wanting more. At that moment of still feeling hungry for more, I started mentally retracing my steps through the game’s story. I was looking for flaws, unanswered questions, or a hidden gem of information.
Yes, this game actually made me physically write out my thoughts. Most games don’t do that for me. Yes, this game made me write a blog post about it. No game has ever done that for me. Which brings me back to what this game made me feel.
Playing this game made me feel detached from societal norms, and was a refreshing simulator in a world full of first-person shooters. I don’t consider myself the emotional type, but what this game did for me was sort of place me in the shoes of one character in particular. I truly pondered what I would have done given the same traumatic situation. Though, I don’t want to specify which character in Firewatch made me feel this way. My intent isn’t to spoil the story because I think it’s an experience that even non-gamers should have.
One final point I’d like to make is that Firewatch made me think there should be a new genre to categorize games that present a thought-provoking story in the time-frame of a movie or short book. I’d like to coin the term “gamella”. Pronounced gu-mella, it’s a combination of a video game and a novella. In order for a video game to fit into this genre, it needs to be a short game. They usually range from $15 to $20 and present a 4 to 6 hour experience. The game also needs to be story-driven, and finish with an overarching theme or life-revelation. Firewatch fits the bill in its entirety. Some other fitting games of the term gamella include Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Journey, and The Unfinished Swan.
In short, I had to write about Firewatch because I really want more people to feel what I felt from this game. If you’re not a gamer, that’s okay because this game has intuitive controls and simple enough direction. You’ll never really be scratching your head, wondering what to do next because the constant dialogue makes your objective clear. If you’re on the edge about buying this game, let me make it simple for you… Just do it.
Disclaimer: The picture featured within this article belongs to Campo Santo. (Video game developer of Firewatch).
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“Solitude is as needful to the imagination as society is wholesome for the character.”
-James Russel Lowell
“Arguing with a fool proves there are two.”
-Doris M. Smith
“I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure–which is: Try to please everybody.”
-Herbert Bayard Swope
This is basically another way of saying you can’t please everybody. You will always find the people who are dead-set in their ways and believe that everyone is out to get them. It’s sad to think about, but perhaps these kinds of people have lost something or someone in their lives that caused them to turn into a negative person. You have to let these people find happiness themselves if they are close-minded.
On that note, don’t stop trying to be a people-pleaser. You are commendable for trying to help as many people as you can. That is a great goal in life that you should never lose sight of.
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I wake up every morning thinking of new ways to be productive each day. If I have an unplanned day I try to make something out of it, instead of just sitting around in front of the TV. The way I look at it, if you don’t get anything accomplished then how could you have been part of the solution that day? Let’s face it… this world needs our help. This world needs us to take action in order to make it a better place. If you just leave the job to “the next guy” then nothing will get done. We are all here for a reason, so let’s all make an effort in discovering what we are here to do, and how we can each be an asset to solving the greatest mystery in life… purpose.
Do you ever feel like you’re life is constantly moving in different directions? You have a hard time keeping up with new responsibilities and never have time to yourself. Where’s the pause button when you need it?!
My life is going to be drastically changing once college classes start in less than a week. Sometimes I worry about what my work load will be like… a professor told me to devote at least five hours of study time a week to each class. My first reaction was, “That’s crazy, when will I have time to have fun?” But then when I thought about it more, a few hours a week devoted to studying wouldn’t be that bad.
So life’s moving fast, but how do I schedule time to do the things I like to do? Things like spending time with my family, working out, keeping multiple websites up to date, and playing the occasional video game. The way I see it is… prioritize. Which of these things are most important to me.
Some things in your life require more attention than others. It’s your job to weed out the important from the less important. You do that, and everything else will fall into place.
“Change is not merely necessary to life, it is life.”