By Jeff Harris
This week’s Jeff Crunch is rather an oxymoron, as there is no physical gamer crunch, at least not of the sort I suspect you have come to expect from me. However Willow has something much deeper that I want to talk about. Magic acorns and polymorph gone wrong are great, but within the movie there is a subject of much greater relevance, not only to gaming but to life.
That subject is “what is really important”, on an ethical and personal level. We see it in the characters of the movie, which if you have not watched, after your read this, you should. It may not have the most advanced CGI or the best FX, but what it does have in spades is far better, it has real meaning and heart. Madmartigan is introduced to us as a crow cage bound scoundrel. Through the course of film however the loyal friendship of Willow Ufgood and the love of Sorsha change the course of his life, revealing the selfless champion within. Willow himself shows us again that love, in this case love for an innocent child (Elora Danan) who is not his own, and love for his family, is the greatest weapon, not magic, and not tyranny. Sorsha learns the lesson of love at the side of Madmartigan.
What does this mean for gaming and gamers, well, for me anyway it means this. At the heart of what it means to gather at the table and role-play is the fact that it is a microcosm of our reality. Our bad days at work filter in, but also some of the positive aspects of heroics filters out. In character how many times do we fight for the good of others or stand fast in the face of terrible odds? How many innocent folk are shown simple acts of kindness, or defended from the cruel and merciless? Many I would suspect, and just as often in character, we also covet gold, or power, or lust for that which we do not have. We inflict our will on others because we have the power to do so, and we judge those different as “monstrous.”
Well now, that’s starting to sound quite a bit like the real world isn’t it. A world in which money is power, and where the many work their lives away, for the good of the few, a world full of injustice, inequity, hate, bigotry, suffering, and war.
Thus this is the lesson to be learned from Willow, the lesson we can learn from the mirror that is gaming. The lesson is to know what really matters, not gold (money), or power (things and station), but hearth and home, loyal friends and loved ones. What matters is the love and friendship of those people, what matters is how the world remembers us, whose lives we touch, and what good we did. Sales at the mall and buying just the right gift during this holiday season seems allot less important when we step back a ways and really look.
I know this isn’t my usual fare, and is perhaps a bit more personal than normal, but that doesn’t make it any less true. During this holiday season, when enjoying time with family and friends, I urge all of our readers to do just what I suggested, think about what really matters in your life, and make sure to tell the people in your life that matter just how you feel and how much they mean to you. Because in the end, those people and how we touch their lives are really the only things that do matter.