Bout Of Books August 2014: Update #2 (And An Unexpected Rant About The State Of Video Games As An Art Form)

Bout of Books 11

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

I admit, I’m a little disheartened. I have had a very tough time living up to the goals I set for myself at the beginning of this week. I have not read every day, nor have I read for at least an hour per day, and my updates have been kind of sporadic. I also didn’t start at the beginning of a book, and I will by no means get through two by the end of the week. In short, I failed at all my original goals. However, as my friend who got me into participating in the read-a-thon pointed out, “If’ you’re reading at all, you haven’t failed.” So, since this is a no-pressure read-a-thon, I am once again amending my goals. My new goal is to simply read something this week, and I want to finish the book I’m currently reading, which shouldn’t bee too difficult because I’m about seventy percent of the way through it.

In my defense, I have been busy this week with work and with writing, as I’ve begun writing my novel for the second time (the first one turned out to be a false start with completely separate characters who had nothing to do with the plot of my book, so they’ll get their own story sometime if I ever come back to them). I’ve also had my hands full with playing some awesome video games. As much as I do love literature, video games are my first love, and though I do sometimes overload myself on them, I always come back to them.

As weird as it sounds, playing video games is actually a creative outlet for me. I don’t know how, because I’m not really creating anything that can be shared, other than a save file, but throughout my life when I’ve felt the need to create flowing through me, the desire to write, to draw, to make music, I have found video games to be a great release. I get all that creative energy out customizing my characters (since I tend to gravity almost always toward role-playing games, particularly those with “Final Fantasy” in their name) and battling enemies and immersing myself in a deep story. It’s a part of why I feel very passionately that video games are an entirely legitimate art form, comparable and sometimes far superior to novels or films, because the experience is both thrilling AND personally engaging. Unfortunately, games like the Call of Duty franchise have not only lowered the bar so much that many game designers just pump out horrible crap that makes millions of dollars, but it’s also given a false impression of video games as a whole, and there are people in the world who think video games are still just beep-boop-bop noisemakers with PacMan on them, or that they’re all shooting games where people blow each other’s heads off. The amazing creativity, lush and beautiful art and music composition, and engaging systems of battle and play in games like the Final Fantasy series or Journey (which is as much a masterpiece as any video game ever produced) are completely ignored by most of the world, both gaming and non-gaming, because many gamers only play shooters or massive multiplayer online games, or “western RPGs” that are nothing but glorified shooters with slight RPG elements thrown into the mix.

But anyhow, my new goal is to finish The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice (or any novel, for that matter) by the end of the week. Wish me luck!

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