War Games: Creation gone Catatonic

War Games: Creation gone Catatonic September 4, 2013


He walked over with a wooden cane, asked if the leather chair near me was taken.

No, I replied.

That other seat is in the sun, he said. I don’t want to be in the sun.

No, I agreed. Pumpkin Spice doesn’t have the appeal in the heat of Georgia that it does in the cool of Oregon. It’s still summer in my hometown.

He’s a good-looking fellow. A cloud of white hair, expertly cut, nice cut of the jaw and nose. He wears expensive jeans, the kind made to look old but isn’t, coupled with suede moccasins bought from one of those high-end zines.

He’s too young to be retired but it’s mid-morning and he’s sitting in Starbucks playing a video-game.


And here I thought Zelda was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tragic wife.

He wears a colorful t-shirt: Legends of Zelda.

I told him I liked his shirt, thinking he would say something about the legend I know. In high school, I read everything I could find about Zelda. I was attracted to studying upon the contrasts of light and darkness even then.

A child who studies the juxtapositions of life is doomed to be either a preacher or a writer. Be forewarned if that is your child. You might want to get Mary See’s Making a Literary Life and prepare yourself.

Zelda’s struggles captivated me. The question of why couldn’t she just be happy? She had money, fame and a man who loved her. What more did she need?

I think about that a lot. I have always thought about that a lot, apparently.  What makes a person fulfilled? What makes them tick? What makes them feel most alive?

I am lucky, I guess. I know what makes me tick, what fulfills me, what stirs me: Creating, pondering, and the exchange of that creating and all that pondering.

I can count on one hand the number of hours I’ve spent playing a video game in my lifetime. The last video game I played was with my then 12-year old son. He’s 34 now.

My brother, a brilliant fellow, can spend countless hours playing video games. He plays war games which makes no sense at all to me. The notion of blowing up anyone, even in a pretend world, is disturbing.

I don’t want to be destroying stuff, even in make-believe. I am by nature a creator. In truth, we are all creators, made in God’s image. I think we are at our most alive, our best selves when we are creating.

Does that which diminishes our creativity diminish the whole of creation as well?

Could it be that a diminished creation is a bored one? Creation gone catatonic. A creation in search of ways to titillate imagination. Or maybe a diminished creation is one  in which all thinking is suspended.

Perhaps in a diminished creation the only imagination a person can muster is one that only thinks of ways to destroy others.

Perhaps that’s why Senators play video poker games during Congressional hearings on whether we ought to bomb Syria, and then flippantly tweet about it when they’ve been caught. Perhaps, we’ve become the people for whom war has been reduced to nothing more than a video game.


“All I want is to be very young always and very irresponsible and to feel that my life is my own – to live and be happy and die in my own way – to please myself… And Scott, Darlin’, don’t try so hard to convince yourself that we’re very old people who’ve lost their most precious possession. We really haven’t found it yet”
– Zelda to F. Scott






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  • Timothy Weston

    Men have dreams and desires of worldly greatness. Role-playing and war games are reflections and outlets for those desires.

  • Robin

    I agree with the post, however the legend of Zelda is more of a hero type game, so the motivations can sometimes be noble.