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Remember To Have Fun

Beware the philosophical game rant of Matt deMille . . .

        As Plato said, music, the arts, they are the strongest power we know, and will shape the way government rules and society behaves. I’m proud to be an artist. I am aware of its hidden but perilous power. But to be an artist, you have to be something like a mythical god, at the same time powerful but humbled by mortal form, aware of the ways of Olympus but playful in this world it rules. I am indeed a playful person. Art is simply what I use to play with. Ultimately, the way my work shall change the world is to make it a better place, a fun place, where many other mortals than would have otherwise may enter Paradise as gods, feel like them, even become them.

        I might seem nothing more than an arrogant fool to all save those who are neither arrogant nor foolish themselves. If I am so wise, so powerful as I attest, why do I write games? Why do I read Plato and philosophy, study history, peel back layers of psychology and art, only to build toys? Is that foolish? Is the toymaker arrogant for believing his trinkets as valuable as the Hall Of Records? It depends on one’s viewpoint of what is important in life. I see it as arrogant indeed to believe that endless study for its own sake is the pinnacle of man’s nobility. I see it as being comparable to a viking raid, an endless circle of self-perpetuating futility, each raid’s profit paying for nothing but the next raid. Those who study only for the sake of studying never use their wisdom. Those who save money until they die never get to spend it. Those who do not use what they have acquired in life to actually live are the greatest fools of all. For, as they would certainly argue, they are not gods, but mortals. Indeed, for they aspire to be nothing but mortal, doomed to die and be forgotten. If that is inevitable, why do they even bother to live?

        I believe that my lofty studies such as Plato, philosophy, etc. are empowered by their use for fun. Perhaps even made greater than if I were teaching at Oxford. Rather than the viking raid, my intellectual pursuits are comparable to training for the Olympic games or just a good old boxing match. The far more lofty and noble pursuits of exercise, diet and discipline are done mostly if not entirely for a barbaric contest surrounded by a bloodthirsty crowd. Rather than using all that training to empower my personal life, I spend it all in one night for a mere game, albeit a very entertaining one. Thus, rather than selfishly empower my one life, which supposedly better or at least wiser men would deem is doomed to inevitable death and forgotten records anyway, I empowered the lives of many, many people on that one night of the game, who might be inspired or were at least entertained and indeed truly lived, albeit for a short while.

        Indeed I read as much as any highly regarded scientist or scholar, and I certainly have the tools to flourish in their careers as well as they do, but what purpose would that serve? The world has enough lawyers, businessmen and buggywhip makers. Perhaps too many. What would I accomplish by just raising the bar for them? I’d rather take the gift of my short life, intelligence and spirit to make life better for everyone in ways they can all understand and appreciate. Thus, in the end, no god am I, nor arrogant or foolish. I am a mortal who walks among other mortals, humbled by my own desire, watching other arrogant fools think themselves superior with their contradictory philosophy of bettering themselves so they look beautiful in their coffins. I call them vampires, only they aren’t waiting to rise from the grave before sucking the lifeblood out of the world. Me, I’m quickening that blood, making it stronger. I feel like Rocky flying up the Philadelphia Art Museum stairs.

        The games I design are true magic. After all, if I can be so smart that to waste such power on games becomes some sort of sin, then smart I must be, but it was inspired by games to begin with. And who knows what other noble but as yet untrodden paths such entertainment will encourage others to seek within their own souls?

        When I write games, I try to keep them fun. The top D&D adventures of all time, as voted on the game’s thirtieth anniversary, were all very much filled with neat stuff. They were adventures that focused on building fantastic history or character studies. They were funhouses, filled with riddles, puzzles, colorful narratives, memorable enemies and more. They didn’t waste half their pages with needlessly drawn out introductions for the party, but rather they just dropped you on the doorstep of the castle and said "Go! Adventure!" and let your character be developed by your actions rather than your rhetoric. Indeed, these adventures encouraged you to truly live, to use your own gifts to live, rather than simply study for no purpose. That is why they remained in our hearts and were considered the best, whether we have forgotten that or not.

        Ultimately, what is life about? To live. Have we forgotten that too? Even if your methods for attaining life seem loftier than their ends, remember, we are not gods, we are mortals. Let’s be mortals then, and enjoy. Mortals may never go to Olympus, but perhaps the gods so often come down to earth and walk amongst us, sharing our adventures, because Olympus is boring, because mortality is where it’s at, because the mortal world is . . . fun!

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