Imagination

One of the greatest qualities of video games is they allow people to suspend their disbelief and use their imaginations to fully immerse themselves in a make-believe world.

This characteristic is very obvious in the earliest video games, when technology wasn’t great enough to produce realistic images. During these times, players had to almost fully create an image in their head based off primitive symbols. A screen dotted with green globs was a lush forest, a solid brown rectangle was a mountain, and blue squares were bodies of water.

The first magical foray into the wonderful land of Hyrule.

Computer technology has improved at a rapid rate, and with it programmer’s abilities to create realistic forests, mountains and oceans. Players no longer have to construct entire areas in their minds, although I still think, to some degree, people project properties they know from experience onto anything they see. However, as the graphics increase, people need to start imagining less what the world looks like and more what is possible in the world.

You see a stretch of land far off in the distance, and you have to use your imagination and grasp of the special attributes of the fantasy world you are in to figure out how to get there. Or maybe you have a mystery to solve and it is up to you to decipher the clues concealed within the world you are in.

In the GameInformer issue 222, Jeff Cork, one of the editors of the magazine, described his first time playing The Legend of Zelda.

“As other kids in my school got their own copies, we hoarded and exchanged tips and secrets. ‘Did you know that you could push that tombstone?’…There was a collaborative spirit surrounding the game and its mysteries that’s impossible to recapture. I really wish I could go back and play it again for the first time.”

The setting wasn’t the only aspect of games that required the use of imagination. You had to imagine what the characters were like, and what they meant to you. Certain characters will remind you of particular people you know. Your experiences will also determine the relationships you see between all of the characters.

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