There is a very interesting conversation happening in a comment thread on David Peak’s blog about video games, mythology, nostalgia and personal narrative.
In particular, I liked this comment of Matt Bell’s:
I was on a panel on “derived stories” at &Now and read my Super Mario Bros. story that was in Barrelhouse a few years back, and talked very briefly (and not as well as I would have liked, thanks to being a bit hungover) about the “blankness” that’s in the middle of all these old stories, that makes them ripe for our retellings. I see them somewhat as containers, with their spare stories ready to hold certain kinds of fictions and essays if we fill them right. It’s really the same thing you do when you retell a myth, or use the structure of a fairy tale or other archetypal story (the taboo, the contest, etc.) to structure your own work.
It’s obvious just from the number of people and the excitement level in this thread that these video games–the games themselves, the stories and art, the experience of playing them with friends or in “constrained” situations at friends’ houses–is part of our generation’s shared myths. I know I’m being a bit grandiose, but–speaking at least for myself–video games have been an important part of my life long before literature was, and so I respond to this sort of work pretty readily.
So… thoughts? About video games as mythology? As derived from mythology? As creating their own mythology? As containers? As personally formative?