Standing in the Hall of Fame

So I’ve been listening to ‘Hall of Fame’ by The Script a lot over the past few days, and it’s really fired my imagination and drive to write (hence an actual post here). Here’s the official video:

There comes a time in everyone’s life where they have to ask the questions ‘What have I done/will I do with my life?’ ‘What have/will I achieved?’ ‘How did/will I live my life?’ ‘Am I satisfied with this??’. These are the questions by which we guide our lives, and by which we judge the time that we have on this earth. For some, these questions are asked earlier in life – they led me away from a life of study and into a field where I can more tangibly see the fruits of my labor – and nearly everyone asks themselves these questions in their twilight years. I’m of the mindset that these are questions that present themselves in times of crisis in people’s lives – times when one part of their life is over, and another is beginning (i.e. myself, earlier this year when my studies had come to a close; or the near cliche ‘mid-life crisis’) – and, when looking back, are the points that people remember most clearly.

So what does that have to do with the song I’ve posted above? The song is simply a call to remember that there will come a time where you look at your life, and ask those questions. It’s a call to dream – ‘be students, be teachers, be politicians, be preachers. Be believers, be leaders, be astronauts, be champions, be truth seekers’ – and see those dreams through to the end. Because there will come a day when you are standing in the Hall of Fame, and when that day comes, will you simply be watching as others are given accolades for the way they lived their lives, or will you be one of those who will be known as someone who lived a worthy life?

Frank Sinatra sang a song by the name of ‘My Way’, which looks at these same questions from the other end of life – The Script looking from the point of view of those who are dreaming, Sinatra from the point of view looking of those looking back at the dreams they had and achieved – declaring that in spite of all that came his way – the struggles, the pain and the regrets – that, as he looked back, he could declare that he was happy with the way his life turned out. And that is, for many, the goal. Many people, myself included, simply have a desire that, when they are at the end of their allotted time on Earth, they can say:

And now, the end is here
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and ev’ry highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fill, my share of losing
And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say, not in a shy way,
“Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way”

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!

– ‘My Way’ by Frank Sinatra

 

Ministry Woes

I’m going through a tough stretch with my ministry on Tribal Wars. Most of it isn’t anything I can control, but I want to sit and talk about it anyway, so here I am.

For a long time, the tribe I was a part of had been in a cold war with a much bigger tribe – they occasionally took some villages from us, we took a couple from them, status quo mostly returned, etc – and a week ago they decided that they were in a position to wipe us out once and for all. The end result of this was the breakup of the tribe, and because of this I’ve lost contact with a lot of the friends that I had made there. I’m not sure where I’m going with that ‘world’ now, as I can either restart it and build everything back up in a new tribe, or quit that ‘world’ and start on a fresh one.

Partly linked to the second option, I’ve started up a tribe on the newest ‘world’ (less that 24 hours old at time of writing) with my little brother – who’s also had a lot of experience on Tribal Wars. This is something new, since I’ve never joined a brand new world with running a tribe in mind. We don’t have many members yet, but we’re kind of on the fringe in a well populated area, so I’m hoping we’ll grow. It’s been an interesting day setting everything up and discussing with the third member of the tribe – who’s American – and I’m hoping some time soon I can report something about what’s happening there.

Still not sure about what I’m doing with the first world though, I might start over in a different area of the world with a new group of people, feel free to suggest ideas, and I’ll keep you posted about that too.

Cheers,

Fr33

Video Games – not just children’s playthings

Over the past year or so (and particularly over the past few months), I’ve been becoming a lot more involved in various issues and schools of thought, many of which I’ve shared about here. One that I haven’t shared as yet has to do with video games.

Video games have long been an interest of mine, from the early 2D sidescrollers of the early 90’s to the epic RPG’s and frantic shooters of today, games have been a part of my life. Yet it’s only more recently that I’ve become more involved in the wider community surrounding games. This has accompanied a change within myself concerning the way in which I view  games – and a rather interesting one at that. I moved from using games as a method of escape from my life – particularly during my teenage years where I felt I had a lot to escape from – to seeing them as something which I can learn from. This view was further bolstered when I discovered that I was not alone in how I view games. Within the video game community – those who either develop and play games (or both) – there has long been a school of thought that believes that video games are a burgeoning artistic medium that can be every bit as valid as the movies, music, or traditional visual arts. This school of thought holds that, as an artist medium, games have the potential to enrich lives, and cause people to think (and learn) about themselves and the world around them (one example of this, which I really appreciate and identify with can be found here: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/extra-credits/1974-Enriching-Lives ).

This has particularly hit home for me as I was playing the game ‘Dragon Age: Origins’, and several things that the game brought up caused me to think. The first one was concerning free will and the suppression of the mind. Essentially, Mages in the fantasy world Dragon Age is set in are conduits to a dangerous world, and the inhabitants of this world seek to invade the real world through them, and those who are deemed too weak to defend themselves against these dangerous creatures are forcibly ‘made tranquil’ – the things that make them special are stripped away (their personality, emotions, ability to cast magic, etc). Discovering this in the game caused me to consider the value that I place upon my free will, and the importance of my emotions and personality. I realised that if faced with the definite possibility of losing everything that made me human, I would take a similar action to one of the minor characters within the game – I would fight back in any way possible – something that took him to forbidden practices and eventually a life of being hunted.

The second was something that a major character said when she joined your party of adventurers. She claimed that she had received a vision from ‘the maker’ (the chief religious figure of Dragon Age’s world – based closely on the Christian understanding of God), which led her to find and join you in your quest. This, and several other conversations with this character, have resonated with my understanding of God, and the way in which He communicates with people – from the generalities of the beauty of the natural world, to the often cryptic personal answers. (On a side note, this in particular has led me to start writing a book – of sorts – about what we can learn from the depiction of God (and religion) in games).

So I guess my point is that Video Games aren’t just children’s playthings (which an unfortunate amount of people – especially those with power – around the world believe and act upon), they have so much more potential. Potential to cause people to reconsider their views on things, to cause them to learn something about themselves. Potential to cause people to cry and laugh. Potential to do what every other form of artistic expression has ever caused people to do.

As always – feel free to disagree with me, comment on something I’ve said, ask for clarification, anything!