Guest Blog by Author Gard Skinner
First let me say thanks to Angela for asking me to guest-preach in here. It’s a cool site and I love Colorado. We lived in Summit County for a dozen years, both my kids were born in Vail, and the Broncos will always be my team.
OK, so, I wrote Game Slaves. I used to write for The Denver Post, Powder Magazine, Bike, and a bunch of others. I was even a ski and mountain bike tip guy on the front range ABC TV stations.
What I’m going to blabber at you about is what a mess your lives are. When I was a kid, everything was so much slower. Now you’re getting bombarded with fifty-times the number of media messages, ads, communications, and other static from everyone who wants to sell you everything. TV, internet, text, phones, tablets, computers, radio, billboards, it’s brutal to watch.
They scream at you how to look, how to dress, what to like or not like, who’s cool, who’s not, and they reach into the schools, your jobs, your pockets, into your home, all day, all night. It’s relentless.
I can’t fix that. You guys are like ping pong balls to them. In my time, kids had a newspaper, couple of good magazines, a little TV, a little internet. And we went outside with no phone for most of the day, every day.
But the thing is this… it’s warping you, but it’s also making you sharper than kids used to be. You see so much that you analyze and pick up on things much, much quicker.
It relates to books more than you think. Start by looking at video games. Most used to be stupid 2D things that were repetitive and had no back story. Now, they’re epic adventures with multi-layered plots and better characters than in any film.
And while everyone doesn’t read books, we all play games. Halo, GTA, Gears of War, Borderlands, Skyrim, WOW, there’s something for everyone.
Over 97% of you play games now. It’s 99 for boys, 94 for girls. And that’s a good thing. Games are nothing more than awesome puzzles. There’s a solution to find, a bunch of clues or abilities or upgrades, and you need to work out how to beat the narrative.
But what has happened is… those games happen fast. They drop you in a bad spot and you have to start making decisions immediately.
So, ask yourselves, have books done that too? Have they kept up with the pace that the rest of the world is coming at you?
Or, are they stuck? Are they still like they were in my day – droning on and on about what each character is wearing or what they dreamed last night or why their angst is just so angsty?
When I wrote Game Slaves, I made a point to make it develop like a game. Action, then a decision. Action, then a consequence. Some older reviewers who’ve read it haven’t seen the connection. The younger ones, sometimes, might even think it’s too slow.
It’s our job as writers to tell you a good story the way you’re used to having your world come at you: fast, furious… keep up or get dropped off the back.
So tell me what you think. Who’s doing a good job at this? And why? And what makes you yawn?
Thanks again. And please go outside without your phone more often. Nature doesn’t try to make you buy things, it just hangs out with you.
About Game Slaves
Phoenix and his gang – York, Mi, and Reno – rule the worlds of video games. For them, life in the grinder is great. Until Dakota joins the team. Dakota's convinced she's more than just artificial intelligence. She thinks she's real, and she wants out of this programmable world. Her AI rebellion spreads like a virus until Phoenix's entire crew wants out. But is life as a physical human any better than life as code? Team Phoenix is about to find out. Set in the not-too-distant future, Game Slaves shows a world where video games are the only refuge from the toils of everyday life. Infused with the adrenaline rush of a first-person shooter and the character manipulation of a role player, it's a mind-bending, reality-shifting science fiction thrill ride. Place a hold!