I’m playing The Witcher 3 – reluctantly – for at least 30 minutes every day. It is part of my “game literacy” project that I’m putting myself through in order to increase my library of played games. I play a lot, but alas, only a few games.
When I was playing, I had to make a choice, and not being familiar with The Witcher, I looked it up on a fan wiki that pretty much outlines the whole game from start to finish.
It kind of struck me then that as players (I hate to use gamers because of the negative association), we’re really fond of making artifacts for our games. Well, some of us are. By artifacts I mean everything from recording a session to just writing down notes from a D&D campaign.
I suppose that having a tangible reminder of what happened in an ephemeral world is a nice thing.
We can always return, both to digital and pen and paper games, in theory. But in practice it isn’t that easy. Especially if we’re talking any kind of experience where you share it with multiple individuals. Just as we commemorate a party or an event by taking pictures, we also commemorate campaigns by making notes or making sure there’s a trail of our choices and existence.
Despite it “only being a game” it has meaning. We should be grateful that it does, and that we create these artifacts to share. I’m hoping that at some point, we realize that it is not only digital games that deserve preservation but that analogue games do as well, and that not only the mass produced books are part of it, but that the maps, the chronicles, the drawings, the scribbled fan art is also worth preserving as part of gaming culture.