Medium Doesn’t Matter: Whenever We Interact We Tell Stories
Defining what a story is feels like an ancient rigid hangover. I have no doubt that video games, board games and sports are legitimate storytelling mediums. What these mediums have in common is what every medium has in common— the user is human, and humans tell themselves stories.
I think defining “what is a game” is limiting to the creation of games, just as defining “what is a story” can cause you to forget that we are always telling stories. A game is a thing people interact with. As is a movie. They give an experience to the user that was deliberately crafted by a creator. The user will tell themselves a story of their interaction regardless of the quality of their experience.
There is a stable world view inside of most of us. It exists in the mind, and is founded on the experiences lived inside of the societal circumstances around us. We tell stories to ourselves to organize our individualized experience. Storytelling became innate at some point in our past. We’ve been doing it reflexively for a very long time.
We are changing, our world is changing, and our stories are changing. There used to only be bards and soothsayers passing wisdom and whimsy along to the rest of us. But now we have so many more ways to experience stories. Now we have so much more to say.
I would like for us all to have more self awareness of inevitable change, rather than become annoyed at the addition of a new word in the dictionary that sounds made up. All words are made up. Why not keep making up more? Words are awesome! We couldn’t stop exploring words if we tried. But our view seems to be limited in the short term. Whoever invented the word reciprocity couldn’t have made the word bootylicious. And I think it’s amazing that the first words in our dictionary were not the end of the story. Language doesn’t get demeaned, it simply changes.
Newness is all around us as we progress together. Changes in the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the music we listen to are inevitable. Those changes come right back around to effect the experiences that build our mind. Our minds and our world are changing constantly. Why build walls when you will have to knock them down?
We often hold zeitgeist over change. The main problem for me is not that change can happen frustratingly slow. The problem is the labels. They become fortified walls between concepts.
It’s a nasty habit of the human brain to declare what things are, and what they aren’t. That is good and that is bad. This is a story. This is a game. These things are different. These things cannot be the same.
As we have changed, stories have changed. As we have evolved, the ways we can interact with the world has evolved. Assuming that our internal storytelling abilities will continue as the basis of our self understanding, we will keep telling stories. And I’m glad that video games exist as a storytelling medium, even if it is only coherent in my own mind.