After reading Steve’s (aka Kailios) article, looking at which game he’d like to play with fresh eyes, I’ve been inspired to carry on with the ‘If You Could…” theme of question. When it comes to video-games, (and I’m sure that I speak for many people when I say this), I often live vicariously through them. In real life, I would never be able to save the world from a dictator, smash zombie brains in with a cricket bat or score the winning goal in the FA Cup final – but through Call of Duty, Dying Light and FIFA, I kind of can.
Through video-games, I’m able to “live” my wildest dreams, accomplish the impossible, and escape the mundanities of real life… like bills, doing the washing and updating my LinkedIn profile. But, sadly, video-games aren’t “real”… not yet, anyway. So, eventually, I have to put down the controller, turn off my console and get on with my day. But what if I didn’t have to? What if I could plug a cable into my brain, and live the rest of my life as a character in one of my favourite video-games? But then I’m faced with a conundrum… which game would I pick?
Imagine if you could only pick one game, and that game was going to be your world for the rest of your life. There are hundreds of great games to choose from, in a variety of different genres – would you want to live your life as a soldier storming the beaches of Normandy, in Call of Duty 2? Would you want to spend your time frolicking in a tranquil garden full of wonderfully bizarre animals, in Viva Piñata? Or would you be most happy solving endless puzzles, in Portal? The choices are so vast, so near endless that picking a game has been near impossible for me.
I could pick one of my favourite games like Fallout 3, or State of Decay. But would I be happy trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. I love playing those sorts of games, because I can do so from the comfort of my own home, safe in the knowledge that if I stepped outside, I’m not going to be torn to pieces by the undead, or exposed to high levels of radiation. But what if that was my reality? There would be no off switch – survival would be my existence. I could pick a game like Call of Duty: World at War, but then my entire existence would be the endless repetition of World War Two. The death, the horror, the constant sounds of gunshots and bombs falling. Is that how I would like to spend the rest of my life? What’s more, what if I got shot, blown up or stabbed? Would I re-spawn like I would in the game, or would that be it? Despite how hardy I might think I am, the chances of me surviving for the rest of my natural life in the setting of WW2, is pretty slim. Heck. I’d probably be dead within the first few hours. And I mean, would I want to re-spawn and continuously experience the horrors of war? I don’t think so.
If I look at it from another angle, though; assuming that I can’t feel pain, that the laws of the game in the “real world” would govern my existence, and that death is only temporary, I could pick a game like GTA V. Sure, it’s manic and it’s violent to the extreme, but it’s also an incredibly “alive” world. It would give me the opportunity to go crazy with a variety of exciting weapons and to feel the exhilaration of racing in some incredibly fast cars, or sky diving for an adrenalin boost. But, at the same time, I can socialise with the NPCs who populate the world, and the other players in GTA Online. I could play tennis, go for bike rides, compete in triathlons, play golf, go scuba-diving or even just laze around on the beach. I could live my life on my own terms and enjoy a variety of different activities whilst doing so. On a smaller scale, the same could be said for games like Skyrim or Oblivion, or other great RPGs, like Red Dead Redemption, or even in games like The Sims.
But, despite the endless opportunities that spending the rest of my life in an RPG style game like GTA V would entail, one game always pops back into my head. That game is, perhaps unsurprisingly for some, Pokémon. For me, the original Pokémon RPGs (Red and Blue) were the first games that truly captured my imagination. I would fantasise about what it would be like to live in that world, to actually be a Pokémon trainer and spend my days catching and battling epic Pokémon – like Charizard, Nidoking or, the fan favourite, Pikachu.
On my GameBoy, I would catch Pokémon, like my personal favourite Nidoran, and train them up to become the ultimate fighting machines. The sense of achievement that I would get when my Pokémon would level up, or evolve, was a feeling like no other. It was a feeling of pride mixed with excitement, as I battled my way toward the Pokémon League, and the prestige of being the ultimate Pokémon trainer. Sure, it was a little lame, but when I was playing the game on that black and white handheld games console, I felt truly immersed in the world. It’s a world that I could quite happily live the rest of my life in – until I’m old and grey… though I’d already be grey because the original game was released on the pre-colour GameBoy. Still, I’d be more than content to live my life without colour if it meant that I could catch Pokémon, train them up and collect those highly sought after Gym Badges!
So there we have it, after careful consideration, I would like to live the rest of my life as a Pokémon trainer. But, you know, that’s my personal choice. If you had to pick one game to live the rest of your life in, which one would you choose? Let me know in the comments below!