Metamodern Gaming is here! As one commentor recently noted in Dawn of a new era: why the best video games are not about saving the world in commenting about the fantasy game Horizon Zero Dawn:
“…Aloy is not so much motivated by some grand mission to save humanity, she is motivated by intellectual curiosity.”
As we move from the past 50 years of Postmodern violence and into the new Metamodern Age here in 2017, young people who build games are “questioning” the old ways….why all our games and fiction are about beating the “bad guy”, winning, making money, and getting the princess.
Horizon Zero Dawn (screen image) is one of many such games leaving behind the “conflict-gaming” motivation for boss level victory and embracing a more enduring meaning through fantasy exploration.
That patterns perfectly the Metamodern Age we are today entering where young people are rejecting the rebellious drug and violence culture of their Baby Boomer parents and exploring their “mythic selves” through gaming. In so doing they are searching for some Humanity in society that’s been lost the past 50 years, looking at who they are and want to be in its new utopian future they just now are starting to envision.
Leaving conflict stories behind and seeking, say learning or friendship in cyberland, is for them just as true and viable as the real world. The older Postmodern generation saw gaming as a separation and easily embraced the escapism of Postmoderm entertainment. But the Metamodern kids not only embrace the cyber world as real and relevant but seek to use it to seriously define meaning in this world and themselves. That is 180 degrees different from the past 30 years of gaming and fantasy fiction.
But the Metamodern Millennials have a new view…..which is the embrace of the cyberworld of gaming as a “Modern Hope” of something both relevant and self-actualizing to them. That’s a very Modernist view actually, and pre-1965.
But the act of taking gaming so seriously and rejecting their unhappiness in the outer world or rather doubting the artificial conflict in gaming is very Postmodern…..very rebellious even now. For if they were truly Modernists they would still see human themes in current systems and value in current trends rather than attempting to remake them. Thus they are Modern-Postmodern or Metamodern, embrace both as we transition quickly into this new age.
As new games get created that avoid violence and embrace more positive human-centered stories for the first time, we will be seeing reflections of this Metamodern movement post-2010 increase…..nobler views that says Humanity and our society can be “good” again in this world (as well as in cyberspace). Society can be kind, the end-goal isn’t about money or winning, and you donning need rebellion or drugs to cope.
The two worlds now created – the real and the artificial fantasy – are more connected now through this type of game where as before they were not in their minds. And through their more meaningful characteristics we can take more seriously their revelations and nurture their more intellectual characteristics. In so doing the kids are not rejecting epic/mythic hero-takes but remodeling them through fantasy…..changing battlefields to the mythic landscape of the self, moving towards more serious acceptance of those landscapes versus the shallow entertainment or escapist use of them in earlier games.
And so new meaning and hope for the future now lies not so much in the real as online. In that sense “meta” is a rejection against this world and embrace of the fantasy one. As such experiences in gaming evolve they will reveal how young people are exploring their mythic selves….a need to explore what lies beyond reality and in their subconscious minds using the visual of gaming and it’s connected Internet. That is no different than how young people 50 years ago used the libraries of old, watched movies, and took immersive drug geared towards self exploration and meaning beyond pop culture fiction, syndicated television shows, and the newspapers of old that filled their lives.
From this new online Metamodern experience these new cyber worlds will allow them to discover new meaning in this world beyond the Postmodern rebellion and denial of it’s government and established institutions by their parents 50 years ago. Young people seek acceptance and serious expression. And so they must move beyond Postmodern themes in which violent bloody gaming until now has so sadly super-saturated our books and entertainment.
But it’s the mythic exploration of their inner selves that fantasy gaming must now create and help them to evolve if it’s to fit this new less violent, less drug addicted, less dystopian Millennial Generation’s needs…..the new kids on the block with new value systems who have such hope for the future despite the real world’s dire flaws born of his violent past.
In so doing I see a rebirth of hope and of the views of the good people that passed away 50 years ago. They sought two change and hope for Humanity through technology. But it was lost after 1965. The kids today can remake Modernism and derive beauty and truth through the cyber worlds and games now being built by them.
– the Author