It’s your Turn

17 years of my life I spent as a videoconference professional. Back when I started it was a bigger deal than now. Now, decent quality video conferencing is available on your phone.

Among us professionals, it was a widely acknowledged truth: the most important part of a videoconference is the audio.

The image of the person is all fine and good. A smile or a frown tells you something. But if the video is great and the audio is choppy, it is unbearable. I might see a frozen image of your face, but if your voice is clear, we can have a conversation.

It’s not something the salespeople tell the CEOs. But we all knew it. Things aren’t always what you expect.

I’m not a video conferencing professional right now. In my new job, a whole lot of my co-workers are into video games.

I have not spent much time becoming good at video games. This Christmas we bought our daughter a Nintendo, and I spent some time revisiting how bad at video games. I regret my lack of expertise.

I talked about it with co-worker Steve, who hosts his own streaming channel devoted to video games. I asked “Since you’ve been playing these games so long, don’t you want to get involved in making them?”

He said no. But since I asked, he told me the three considerations for judging a game. It has to have a good story–naturally the part that fascinated me. It has to have good graphics. I argued that point, for a bit. Wouldn’t a good story override the quality of the graphics?

Then he dropped a Z-axis into my roadmap:

There has to be good gamesmanship.

What is THAT?

This is a whole new way of looking at the world.

Coincidentally, this weekend was spent reading The Hunger Games trilogy. These books are not great works of prose. And yet I could not put them down.

Because of the game. I know exactly what the author was doing. She told the game, and like all the audience in the fictional story, I was riveted. I had to find out what would happen next.

Unlike Steve, I found myself wondering if could concoct a game story like Collins. I want to get behind and make the thing I love–stories.

The ancient Greeks–no strangers to the excitement of games! –had two kinds of drama stories. They divided it up into Comedy and Tragedy.

Tragedy ended in death and Comedy ended in a marriage. Those were the rules.

Every game has rules.

I wonder. Maybe all the stories are telling how the game was played. All the little puzzles, the obstacles that must be overcome and resolved, this is gamesmanship.

So perhaps all the world’s a game. And we are merely players.