Play And Learn In Your Spare Time

There's a group of people out there…a shrinking group, but still very vocal, that maintains that games are a empty art form, if they are considered an art form at all. On the surface, it's hard to disagree, especially when you see games like Dead Space. I'm as big a fan of that game as anyone, but while it offers a fine view of Hell's three ring circus, there's plenty of reasons why someone whose never played it could view it as little more then an excuse to hack apart horrible distorted human corpses. The flipside of this is Bayonetta, which also involves beating things up, but has the added wrinkle where Bayonetta's clothing is actually her hair and often has to be removed from her body to kill her enemies.

You can almost see the stern looks of disapproval, can't you?

In the words of Tony Stark, though, I must respectfully disagree. The truisms that you can find in games, which admittedly can be exaggerated or over dramatized, are still truisms none the less. One of the ones I remember as being applicable to so much of life in particular comes from a place I certainly never expected it to come. For players of Fallout: New Vegas, this may be a slight spoiler, so considered yourselves warned.

You're going to watch a video here…dim the lights where applicable.

There's a similar theme running through this expansion which can be difficult to hear above the gunfire, explosions, and the beeping of the explosive collars. However, the theme is still there, and it's this: obsession. Everyone you encounter in the expansion is gripped by it…Father Elijah is obsessed by gaining control of the hotel and it's technology, Dean is obsessed by getting revenge of the long dead Sinclair, Dog is obsessed with keeping control of himself, and vice versa, Christine is obsessed with getting Father Elijah, either out of revenge for separating her from her lover, or out of a sense of justice. Even your character, The Courier, is in the grip of an obsession, finding out who tried to kill him/her, and why.

In this case, though, all these disparate obsession have solidified into the form of the Sierra Madre Casino which exists in a state similar to that of Schrodinger's Cat…two places at once, in other words. The casino can both be viewed as an engine of liberation or destruction, of tyranny or justice, and others things besides depending of which character looks at it.

Each character is trapped by the casino until they can find what they need in it or die trying. That's just what -can- happen if you're playing the bad guy, but if you're a more beneficent sort, almost everyone in the casino can be saved from death. As for Elijah, there's only two choices for ..he can be trapped in Sinclair's vault, doomed to die of starvation, or dead outright. A cautionary tale indeed, and with all good cautionary tales the morale comes right at the end of Dead Money's last cutscene:

“Finding it…that's not the hard part. It's letting go”.

That's what all of us should take away to keep in mind on a day to day basis. We hold tightly onto a lot of things we feel to be important, but if one of those great paradoxical twists life throws at us, the things we view as important can do us more harm then good. In that case we can do what we almost never get to do…do what do in the game.

Let go.

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