Whenever I hear the word “dissertation” I think “expertise,” whether that is right or wrong (does it matter?). I’ve struggled for a long while now as to how to fit a dissertation – a dissertation that was in my own voice, that was focused on something that I felt that I had a handle on or, god, even just barely hanging on to – into a gaming/ludology literature that is constantly shifting and evolving and I think I finally have the answer to where it fits. It does not. (p.s.: did I mean to say where “I” fit?) There must be a comfortable sense of place that comes with knowing your place, knowing exactly where what you do fits in when there seems to be a polarization, a way of thinking in terms purely colored in black or white. If we are to believe the headlines either video games will save or destroy us all: There is no middle ground. Each side, desperate to disprove the other, moves slowly to either side of the dance floor with every research study conducted.
But I can’t find my way there to either side and I give up. I thought, at first, that I’d tell this wonderful story, this insightful narrative on how people offer help, ask for help, and accept help in a gaming environment (see how good video games are for us?). But I’m not going to. Not really. Every word I type feels like both a liberation and betrayal of my self and I’m not comfortable telling you that and that’s exactly why I keep writing. I need to move on, I need to move forward and this is the only way not out but in.
I’d like to offer you an invitation to the dance. Or at least the dance I’m at. I’d like to give you a chance to see what I see, even if we’re spinning on the dance floor, losing our footing, or we end up motion sick and vomiting into a trashcan in the corner of the room. I won’t lie to you. It’s not an easy or a comfortable place to be and it may cause a false sense of wellbeing or bring about suicidal thoughts (as the label on most any psychotropic medication will tell you). But let’s stay here for a while, at least until the sun comes back up (will it?) and we’ll sit on the shore and pass that bottle of whiskey back and forth until we all agree that this was the best idea anyone’s come up with in the last five minutes. Whatever it was.