My brain is a weird thing these days. It's like I'm running on adrenaline all the time. I literally dream of grocery lists and how hard it's been lately be to get eggs and onions. (Eggs I understand, but onions? So bizarre.) At three in the morning, I'm wide awake and wondering if it's too late to buy a bidet. (Just checked Amazon. I can get one delivered in nine days, but it's pricey. Should I save the money for necessaries later on? Or get one and reduce our family consumption of toilet paper?)
Tucked in between that constant volley of panic, I'm now homeschooling my kids, who persist in framing this whole thing as a super extra long spring break, complete with sleeping in till noon and watching YouTube as much as is humanly possible. (Spoiler: that's a lotta YouTube, people.)
So with all that anxiety swirling, what do I have to say about the old books vs. comics vs. movies vs. games question?
Well, I frame it thusly: of those media, the only one that has even come close to cutting through my panic lately is games.
I think that has something to so with passive entertainment versus immersion. If I'm watching a movie or reading a book or comic, I can set it aside when my mayor or governor comes on with a news conference or my kids need help with the Pythagorean theorem or the Spanish word for beach. But with a good game, you really can't be interrupted by life. The game has objectives and time limits, and those NPCs are counting on you, dangit.
I've been playing a whole lot of Star Wars The Old Republic (an old MMORPG, and I love it to bits) and The Sims 4 on the XBox lately. I see a lot of folks playing Animal Crossing, and I remember playing that one a few years ago and thinking it was lovely and low-key. Stardew Valley is similarly comforting. Sometimes the kids and I all log on to World of Warcraft and go fishing together (virtually, of course).
Mostly, I wish I could thank all game makers for providing this alternate reality, a hundred thousand alternate realities, at a time when actual reality kind of sucks.
And you other creators -- writers and movie makers and artists -- thank you, too. Please keep doing what you do, because as soon as I can get a handle on panic-brain, I will be right back there, inhaling the good you put into the world.
This world needs all the good it can get.