There’s always a nervous unease whenever the video game I’m playing expects me to drive anything. My palms sweat and my heart rate speeds up to levels I’m convinced will send me into cardiac arrest. If people think driving in video games is the same as driving in real life, well, they haven’t witnessed me behind the steering wheel as my character. It occurred to me that no matter how many games I play, I’ll never be the one you’ll want to rely on to drive the getaway car.
Concluding a video game can come with an array of emotions. There’s a sense of completion and satisfaction when you finally get to the point of seeing how the journey ends. You can be filled with a pang of longing and a bit of sorrow that there’s nothing more to do, except say goodbye. Or you can feel shock and anger over a conclusion you did not expect, a pay off that can feel like a colossal waste of time. Endings, especially in video games, can provoke a strong reaction from players. Far Cry 5’s two endings have made such an impression that I’m still unsure how I’m supposed to feel.
Video games are often a form of escapist entertainment. We play to have fun, lead lives that are different from our own, and forget our real world problems for a little while. But what happens when you combine fictional stories with today’s commentary about current events? Can we still view these games as pure fun and escapism when these messages, subtle or overt, become unabashed in their intention to drive a point home?
My friend and I started a tradition of playing games that offer an online multiplayer feature or cooperative play ever since I joined the vast and wonderful world of video games. We have played everything from Borderlands to Overwatch. It’s quality time we look forward to scheduling every other weekend when we may not always see each other in person due to conflicting work schedules. It has made playing and finishing games easier and fun when you have another person uniting in your cause to seeing a game through to the end, or at least having a partner to fight a particularly hard boss. The latest game to be added to our small but growing collection of games we can and have played together is Far Cry 5.