Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Gamer's Dilemma

Imagine this: Your house destroyed, one of your family members killed and you are hunted because you have an ability that others deem as "dangerous". With the rest of your family members, your brother, your mum and yourself, you travel across the sea to where your mum used to live, got hired by a gang of mercenaries due to your "dangerous" ability and for the better part of a year was able to create a place to lay low and settle down as you pay your debts.

In order to hide your true self, you try to enroll yourself in an expedition in the hopes that the treasure you find will make you go up in the world, thus allowing you to hide your true nature. In order to get the capital needed for the expedition you went through all sorts of funny, hilarious and dangerous odd jobs including being hired as a bodyguard, search missing items and unfold a conspiracy among the authorities. During your journey for capital, you stumble across a few individuals who wanted to also change there fortune as well, and thus joined in your company for all the glory, adventures and gold that was worth.

To make it a story, the jobs you undertook made you involved with some really famous (and dangerous) people as your reputation as someone who gets the job done is revealed.

With the determination of getting the capital you wanted in order to support your family and protect your own identity, you finally muster enough capital to go forth with the expedition. During the expedition you found unfathomable treasures and artifacts that you believed people would pay a huge fortune to get there hands on it. Eventually, the expedition was a success and so you literally "moved up" in the world by buying yourself a mansion and living among the elites. Life is good.

Even so, you still wouldn't put down any jobs that are worth gold and is more than happy to make more gold if the opportunity arises.

As you live in the life of luxury and adventure, the authorities calls you "by name" because they have a problem which they believe only YOU can solve. It seems that, due to the success of your past jobs, you have been seen as trustworthy to handle jobs that are deem as "important", jobs that may tip the balance of power in your residence.

Eventually, while trying to solve these problems, which in some way you yourself may have created due to your greed for gold, a power struggle arose and in order to save your new home and the wealth you have accumulated, you venture into this power struggle and took down the person responsible for creating this chaos. The country now considers you their "Hero".

As time passes, and the country is being rebuild after the turmoil, different factions in the political arena starts to fight in order to move on after that devastating tragedy. Each faction has rights and wrongs, each one makes good arguments, thus you, as the hero and (as everyone would put it) most influential person in the country, they ask you for guidance and to support their own faction. You choose to be neutral in this conflict, thinking what could such political battle really do the life you have now.

Suddenly one day, chaos broke between the two factions, an ex-member of one of the factions has murdered a public figure of the country because he believed it was the only way to end this conflict. And thus it turned into an all-out war. Having to choose one faction over the other due to some other interest than gold, you took down the other faction.

Even with your old companions help, your efforts seem in vain as each faction destroys one another. It was then revealed, that whatever artifact you had excavated during your earlier expedition was the source of this madness! It turned one of the leaders of one of the factions into a crazy psychopath that is fanatical with the ideas of her own faction. You destroyed her, and to ensure your safety and the people you cared about, you ran away from that country.

Even so, the war between the two factions still continues. It seems that in your pursuit of happiness and security, you have literally "Changed the World".

*                           *                           *

This is a story I took out from a game I played (Surprise Surprise!), one that made me think and wonder.
How in the world some "out-of-nowhere-dude" did all this?

and so I tried playing it again (to the disappointment of my parents), with different character choices, and what do you know? If I stick with a particular type of choice, the effects will be more detrimental, but if I continue to change my type of choices (like choices between gold or glory) then the impact will be lessen.

The reason why this character was able to to accomplish what he wanted and eventually caused what happened was due to the choices he made.

The idea was actually quite simple, stick with a type of choice that would eventually define you. Put enough pressure on the choice and eventually people will start noticing. Due to that character of yours, base on the choice you made, people believed you were "the best suited" for the job. Sticking long enough with such choices, eventually it will be your character that makes that sudden push and then "change the world".

In simple terms it's called: Passion.

This passion with enough determination can shift mountains.

but passion can only be realized with belief. A belief that in turn defines our choices and actions. Stick with them long enough and you create passion.

Almost everyone knows this, but we are too afraid to follow it. The society right now chooses their actions not base on what they believe in, but what the norms are.

We always wished that our lives was like in the games, and yet we are too afraid of making those choices that would develop our character. This is the Gamer's Dilemma.

We have to move out from this dilemma and make those choices that we really believe in. because the only way, you want to get out of this cycle of norms and NPCs is through not just by playing games, but making your life like a game, literally.

Stop wishing your life was like a game, if you could have made those choices in the game, then what is there to be afraid of in making those choices in real life? You need to bring that virtual reality into the real reality.
Only then will you be able to achieve something in this world

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My 3 Musketeers: Uddeen, Ayesha and Aziem

On Saturday afternoon, 3 small heads will be popping around the garden of our wondrous 5 acre lot, checking periodically at the bridge beyond the river. They would hear the horses and sheep as they would wail, cry and even shout to the arrival of a 900 ton monster in white.

Waiting patiently by the balcony and even behind bushes, finally the gargantuan white monster has arrived, giving out a loud creaking voice like an old rusty truck that has seen better days before, the sound as you would notice would give away it's presence and it's age, and it's age, it's age is that of very old has it stayed with this family. the person driving it was even older.

As the white monster came about,  making itself comfortable under the shady artificial perches facing the hills and also the river beyond, the loud creaking voices it would make suddenly came to a stop, signalling that it's a sleep. And so the rider then came out.

Slim and skinny, with shadows under his eyes, a beard that would have seen better ages, and the most irresistible smile as some folk would say, waiting was the 3 young ones for this man was. 

As the young - man - with - old - and - pale - features came scurrying about his belongings, a huge satchel which he would use to keep his belongings and a large case where he place his most trusted weapon, the eldest of the 3 came galloping forward, eager to help carry what treasures this old one has brought back.

The young man would then enter his room, as neat as it was the day he left it, and proceed to removing the items in his satchel.

The 3 would then burst into his room, celebrating by jumping up and down on the bed and floors for they know that there will be fun and happiness and excitement in the presence of the young man and his prize possessions. 

*                    *                   *

That is the norm as I would come home. There was never a silent moment at my arrival.
The sounds of Aziem asking whether I bought him any presents or Fiddauddeen asking whether he can borrow my laptop and play games or my little Nadiya asking whether I could accompany her shopping and help her with her arts and crafts.

My parents have been, and I forgive them for it, been busy with work. I know that they may have to be committed to certain agendas that may put the little "Malaysian" siblings aside for a moment.

As I get older, I realize many of the experiences and adventures I had during my childhood could not be experienced by my 3 smaller siblings. My childhood as I vaguely remember was filled with the most thrilling things that made me appreciate the little time I had with my ever growing family.

When I was a small boy, I remember going to Disneyland, Florida. I would run away from the gigantic teddy bear, while my sister and my mum would pull me to take a picture together. I had the fun of being tutored personally on how to swim by my dad, I would climb his back and paddle, my dad would toss me high into the sky and I would sky dive into the swimming pool. I remember proudly bringing my mum to my class in Virginia, I would show off to my friends how my mum was cooler than theirs (she looked like a ninja!!!), and she would tell a story about Malaysia and my friends would listen intently, I even had the pleasure of bringing my mum over for my birthday at school.

Nadiya learning how to skate -
next week we'll go again
We were a close - knitted family then. So close that it would be hard to imagine how my siblings felt while my parents were busy with work.

And thus it came to my realization that I wanted the same thing for my little siblings too. A few weeks ago, Nadiya asked me to become her "parent" for family day. I was caught off-guard, I had classes on that day, her eyes were glittering with hope. My dad used to tell me that if you wanted to tell something important to a child you should lower your body so you will be at eye level with the child and they would see you as a friend rather than looking from above like a grumpy - grown up.

And so, I stooped to her level and held her hands and speak, explaining clearly that I couldn't come. her face would change to a disappointment, but the good news I told her was that next time I'll promise to bring her out Ice - Skating when I come back home. Her face quickly brightened and she hurried to find her memo and jot down that promise I made to her.

Fiddauddeen would keep himself locked up in his room upstairs without taking notice of the events below, he would either be reading a novel that is more advance than his age, study or play games. How lonely has he been up there? When I was his age I couldn't fathom being separated from my sister, I would tally her wherever she would go from her hobbies to the school she went up to the point I almost wanted to go to the same University.That bond we shared was a power - boost for me during my hard times.

As I looked up, I wonder how does it feel like to be him? Mum and Dad would ask so much from Fiddauddeen from athletics to studies to also being the elder brother while the other 4 of us (Naf, me, Afaf and Mujahid) are gone pursuing our dreams. Has the burden of becoming a brother so fast for him that he shut himself up in his room to run away from these problems and immerse in the books and imaginations he had upstairs? Was he hoping a helping hand from the 4 of us? I never really understood Uddeen. In the end did the high scores in exams and gold medals really meant anything to him? 

When I was a young boy, I had an eye for creation and inventions. My dad realized this and bought me a lego set, then it expanded to the mind storm Lego set with which I finally won my first ever Robotics competition and now as I told my dad that I wanted to become a Computer Software Engineer, he bought me a 2.7k Desktop intel i5 with GTX graphic cards. When my mum knew that my asthma was severe, she would insist that I don't push myself in sports, but I was stubborn, I wanted to show that I was as capable as any other kid in sports, so she found an alternative, swimming and archery. I had it more in archery than in swimming, I would tell my mum I wanted to do archery and she would buy me a 3k Compound Semi Hunting bow, with full knowledge that I might not be able to win anything with it, but she told me she could sense my passion in it, that's why she bought it. 

In Uddeen's case, is it a repetition of what we 4 wanted or was that really what he wanted all his life? Is he afraid to tell our parents what he really wanted for fear that he might be different and cast in our shadow? That, evening I would call him down and tell him why don't we play outside? He would offer to play basketball and badminton. We had a duel on his behest, with me coming out victorious of course. But the smile of satisfaction of playing with me was brighter than what I could tell. It was him who wanted to play badminton with not the other way around. Nightfall, we would gather in my room and I would teach him the latest tactics in Skyrim and Torchlight. how awful it felt that his level was over mine. He would ask me what would be the best way to fight bosses and gain loots. It was this short time he was out of his room and downstairs. And when I told him play time was up, he would willingly comply and asked whether we could play again, to which I agreed.
Let's go exploring outside!!!

Aziem was the most thrilled one when I came back home, to the point if I didn't came back for some time he would ask my mum where I was. At a very young age he had to go to kindergarten because our parents were working. I only remembered going to kindergarten periodically and seldom I think more than a year I would be at school at his age. 

When I was young my parents were young too, so many of the fun things I could do could be enjoyed by them also. But as time passes, and I'm growing up, they are getting older and maybe lack the energy they used to have. I once played PlayStation with my dad, he would even go as far as buying me games he thought was cool like Football, Digimon World and Street Fighter to the point we could be up all night. The real thrill of playing with my dad wasn't the fact that he would buy games, but the fact he would actually give time to play with me even though he was an adult. It made you felt happy and exciting when we played, that somehow adults can become children.

Coming back home, I will try and make a point of being with Aziem as much as possible. There was this one time he wanted to see me play a horrific zombie game, he was gripping my hand, and yet I was laughing as I shot down the zombies and he would clap in excitement. Can I become a companion to Aziem and make him feel happy the same way how my father did? Was he searching for companionship and friends to play with him? Was his time filled with joy and happiness? One night, Aziem saw me doing my assignment on my laptop, he asked what I was doing, I replied it was homework. he didn't looked too happy at that reply, but nevertheless he took a Dinosaur children's book. he would flip the pages and ask me what were the dinosaurs in each page. I would stop momentarily from my work and tell him, he would repeat it over and over again, till some point he slept right next to me. I went into my bedroom and grabbed my pillow and blanket. I covered him with a blanket and slept next to him, he snug towards my pillow, crickets chirped outside as night passes.

*                   *                  *

I have 3 adorable little siblings whom I think, was't able to go through the childhood I went through due to certain complications. I don't, and would never blame my parents for the differences in childhood experiences I had with them. If anything, I believe I should be responsible now for creating the childhood memories of my younger siblings, to be there when they ask for help, to let them show me what they truly want and to be there friend when others won't. 

Maybe I can't create an exact replica of the childhood I had with them but I promise, I'll come back home as often as I can and continue to play with them and make their childhood as memorable as I can, that is what a big brother does. =)