How would you like your life to be? Exciting? Fulfilling? Full to the brim with endless possibilities of exploring and discovering something new everyday? Would you like your life to be happy?
Of course you would. In a world where everyone is in a conscious or subconscious flux about how they interpret happiness, we would all like to be happy in some way. But how we would like our lives to be and how our lives actually are, are never the same. We try to understand what we want, and we behave differently in trying to get to the place we want to go to. In those differences lie who we are, and although we take separate paths and experience disparate consequences for our actions, life invariably finds a way to screw us over anyway.
Storybook happy endings in life happen rarely. Instead, life is mostly made up of a few joys, some more heartbreaks, and a whole lot of sniffles. Life is a journey of nightmares and anticlimaxes, but thankfully interspersed with some moments of genuine happiness. We play video games as an act of escape from a widespread drudgery that surrounds us to no end. By definition, we wouldn’t like our games to hit too close to reality. We wouldn’t like them to remind us of how deeply flawed our worlds are, nor would we like to know even more about the issues that trouble us.
But maybe sometimes, a game comes along that does precisely those things. It intrigues you at the beginning, then takes you on a journey full of stunning sights and flights of fancy. But it all comes crashing down at the end, only for you to seethe in rage, and when calmer, to be disappointed at how it all came to be. That none of those fantastic things came to being. That the result seems nothing more than an ordinary man’s attempt to escape the drudgery.
In doing so, perhaps the game does more than it was ever expected to accomplish. Perhaps, by making us aware of the futility of what we do, it helps us become more aware of what we want from life. Of being in a better position to answer that tantalising question:
“How would you like your life to be?”
That game is ‘Firewatch.’