14 Oct 2021

The First Person Journey

Our human energy is invested with our time, our minds and our skills. What we create, participate in, emote and consume are part of our journey, which we all make as individuals, each so intensely our own. As we traverse life's road, slaying or giving into our own personal demons, imps and trolls that block or thwart us from greater goals we read of the Hero’s Journey, staple of literature. The human race, across religion, nation and racial differences identifies with the heroes, wants them to overcome obstacles and outsmart danger because that is what we want to do in our own lives too.

Recently I read a review of Maria Tatar’s book, "The Heroine With a 1,000 Faces", and this is a reference, naturally, to Joseph Campbell’s "Hero With a Thousand Faces."  And I thought as "men" and "women'' we are born and the journey we all  make in life is on the 3D platform known as Earth.

However Earth is not the only platform now for one’s journey as there are virtual worlds, environments and realities created within the past 20 years whose servers and virtual destinations have logged millions of miles in avatar mouse clicks. Neither the Hero’s nor Heroine’s journey per se, but what of those who are playing video games?  In a classic First Person Shooter video game, one enters the game, becomes an avatar and then accumulates points killing things, zombies, bad guys, etc and collecting digital resources. First Person Shooters have their own journeys, also YouTube/twitch/etc channels and social networks.

Now what of those who are not in games such as those, but have taken on avatars in massive multiplayer online worlds? In these places, I believe we as avatars are on The First Person Journey. It’s who you are, what you become that matters, there are opportunities for heroism, good deeds and kindness because you are dealing with other people. Though the player behind the avatar is ourselves, we can represent as anyone and/or anything. What we look like in the physical world doesn’t matter, so what we craft out of the places we go within that virtual environment, what we say and whom we meet transcends that. Anyone who has been an avatar for over a decade has a FPJ within a metaverse containing people you know, places to go, things you are making and more.

My FPJ began in 2002 in 2.5D and then in 2008 in Second Life, being an avatar has profoundly influenced my first person life, not in name only. It has also inspired much content, and recently I completed a work begun in 2006, Mambo Motel the Multimedia Musical!

It is the story of a Prince who wants to escape the hounding of the media, and find a place where he can just be himself, he finds Mambo Motel, where all log-in equally and begins his FPJ. It is the first musical set within a virtual world, it will have machinima and live actors. I wanted to share the introduction because of this line from the protagonist in the play,

"...it’s very hard to pretend to be anyone but yourself, when all you have are words."

Which is what we avatars have in our First Person Journeys to represent ourselves and hopefully make it a hero's journey too.

No. 1 in the series:

Introduction to Mambo Motel

PS:

In thinking about what games can do and the concept of heroism, The 1984 game Raid on Bungeling Bay, where players fly over islands while dropping bombs came to mind. It was there Will Wright found that he had more fun creating the islands, saw there were those who wanted to rebuild after the bombs dropped, and the seeds of The Sims were born to feed the desire to heal, and human need to be productive rather than destructive.

Some questions:

Is it possible to find a game that rewards character building?

In your Quest to free the villagers let’s say, what if the clue involved seeing something from another person's point of view?

Level up after deciding to benefit the character you encounter, not just yourself?

Is there a game where winning means honor, valor and being kind?

Diamonds for stopping the bullies for the good of all? And a bonus for helping them work things out

Can traits be combined, like for a Pok√©mon but they’re positive social behavior ones?

Can you get tokens for making a long term well thought out decision? 

Please drop your answers below:

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