Friday, February 13, 2009

It's all I know

Back when I was still playing D&D I spent a lot of time thinking about the Warmage class. In a game that was all about combat here was someone with all the arcane power of a sorcerer, and access to every single combat spell. This, among other things, made the warmage seem definitively more powerful. That was only true because the normal role for a sorcerer was to blow things up, the role of versatile caster being left to wizards, but the argument still remained that Warmages weren't overpowered compared to sorcerers because all they could do was blast things.

This lead me time and time again to an image in my head. It's a single man, in what used to be a tavern and is now a blackened ruin. There are sear marks on everything around him as he kneels in the one clear space, shaking and grasping his head and saying "It's all I know, It's All I Know!"

That's the origin of the phrase "Warmage effect." Any time someones behavioral patterns are based on an archetypical role that they grew up with, and hence were heavily formed by, and they then default back to that behavior even when it isn't beneficial you're dealing with the Warmage effect.

I think I may have found another instance of it.

On the ride back, and then on the walk aback from class I was thinking about the effect my exposure to violence has had on me. My internal lexicon has certainly been effected, but what got me most is that amongst my friends I seem to be the one most prone to humanistic empathy, even though I'm also the one who plays the most video games, which are my primary exposure to violent imagery. I was running with this train of thought all the way back, and as I went through my mechanical routine of unpacking and moving on to a leisure activity. I had gotten into a thorough discussion of the possiblity that my ability to suspend disbelief, an ability acquired through years of roleplaying, may lessen the impact of the violence upon me because I don't associate the violent acts with myself, but rather with the character I'm portraying. I was ruminating over this when my mind was suddenly alerted to the fact that my mechanized process was over and that my leisure activity was ready to be the focus of my attention. It was at that point that I picked up the controller for Saints Row 2, flipped over to my shotgun, and proceeded to roll on some bitches.

You see my point here right? I can spend all the time I want thinking about the effects that my exposure to violence may be having on me, but as things stand now almost all of my recreational activities include violence imagery. Until I can stop playing video games, and get out of table top roleplaying, and stop watching all violent TV I can't really do anything about it. And thi is the issue. I picked up my first controller at the age of four, playing altered beast on my brother Sega Master System. It's going to be really hard to do any real investigation on the effects that gaming has on me, because it's all I know.


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