Last night, I went with a group of friends to see a belated 4th of July fireworks display. My girlfriend and I were of very different minds on whether it was worth going as she seemed very excited by the prospect and I was very much of the "been there, done that" mindset. But I decided, "what the hell" and tagged along.
After an interminable walk from where we parked to the open field that we just had to see the show from (I was under the impression that we could have set up camp anywhere nearby and simply looked up), we settled in for what promised to be an orgy of color and sound.
The display was, as fireworks displays go, fairly good; an adequate variety and a suitably rapid-fire finale. And it left me entirely bored, so much so that I began falling asleep half way through.
Afterwards, I began to wonder if I was the only fireworks scrooge in the world, or if maybe there was another reason for my apathy. We gamers are constantly bombarded by explosions of sound and light, and not only do we stare at them with awe, we are tasked with navigating around and through them, taking them for granted as simple obstacles on the way towards a goal. I couldn't help thinking to myself, "I've seen better in any number of games, and there, I also get to run around with Force powers or command a squad of soldiers. Sitting in a fold-out chair in a grass field just isn't quite as thrilling."
I didn't voice any of these Debbie-Downer thoughts at the time, because the guy who craps on fireworks is also the guy perceived as having no joy in life. So I agreed with everyone as they repeatedly talked about how cool it all was, what great seats we had, etc. But I also observed that it was the non-gaming women that were most impressed, with the gamer guys showing considerably less enthusiasm. It led me to ponder this question:
"Do more and more visually elaborate video games desensitize us and take the joy out of simple things like local fireworks displays?"