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Ain't life just a game sometimes?

Last week’s look at Nintendo Wii was great for a good few reasons, not least because it gives us all the chance to look like demented nut cases in front of each other. But in playing the new Zelda game, despite the sublime new control mechanics, I was invariably left with that most familiar of feelings: being disconnected from it all somehow. Characters move about the screen and it just doesn’t matter what happens because there is no consequence; you are literally free to do as you choose.

In computer games and badly made films alike, a common characteristic is the lack of respect for what is going on, and the characters that are making whatever it is going on, go on. Stay with me.

You watch someone play a game such as Grand Theft Auto or Zelda for the first time and chances are they’ll run about like a lunatic, trying to reach the boundaries of what is possible in the character’s array of pre-defined movements. In GTA, new players are thrilled at the freedom they have to do what they like, and will inevitably use this to mow down as many people as they can before the cops come calling. Then they don’t give up when the police show up, they try and kill as many of them as possible as well. In Zelda, I found myself rolling out of control around the lush playing environments, picking up chickens and hurling them into rivers, and picking off the townsfolk with slingshot pellets.

Likewise, in films we all secretly yearn for the leading star to get twatted one.

Of course, in any of the above cases, you would not personally even entertain the notion of doing these things in real life. OK, maybe entertain, but never do. But really what would be so bad about this? I’m not talking of mass murder here clearly, but wouldn’t life be better if we all just took things a little less seriously?

I was out walking the other day. I came to a crossing that overlooks the new waterfront area, which houses that god awful new entertainment complex (my personal opinion there). There is a lot of construction going on over that way; it is spectacular concrete mess at present. It occurred to me that everything I could see in front of me was serious; all built for purposes. There was nothing there for the sake of just being there, and there rarely is anywhere else either. The traffic lights, the road works, the scaffolding, the big trucks, even the completed stuff like the cinema or the swimming pool, all serving a pre set purpose. The scenery lacked all sign of spontaneity, which really serves as a microcosm of the lives of all of us here really.

So we are all following the rules, worrying about whether our actions are compliant with expectation and complying with every facet of conformity society chucks our way (we will go to work here, then we will spend our credits at this place here at this allocated time). No one is throwing chickens, no one is running round in circles in the middle of the street like some daft crazy. Metaphorically and literally speaking that is!

I’m not saying that fun things aren’t fun, cos they are. More that within a dull work-based living landscape, a willingness to set aside our inhibitions somewhat, even for a few minutes while playing Wii boxing, seems to me to be a step in the right direction.