Sometimes I just feel like destroying beautiful things…

Had a great time co-presenting at my first ever Pax with Paul Scriven and Erin Tyrrell – fellow gamers from RMIT.

Our panel was Apocalypse or Bust, and we looked at the attraction of apocalyptic or collapse games from a variety of viewpoints.

For an explanation of the title see here and scroll…

I’m interested in the wider social implications of such dystopian visions and how they can help promote and drive change in behaviours and attitudes to things like climate change and our basic understanding of how cities and societies work.

Erin, reflecting her study and professional interest in social work, was focussed on the mental health implications of playing apocalyptic games… in particular Dark Souls (Praise the Sun?).

To what extent does the achievement that comes from succeeding at difficult gaming challenges (and yes, we’re talking about Dark Souls again…) have real world benefits in terms of our mental health?

Finally, Paul focussed on the implications of online gaming as a model of social interaction within worlds where clear social rules and norms have, in many cases, been neither established nor enforced.

This dives further into who we are when we play apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic or disaster scenario games. Do we want to be the hero or the villain? How might this influence how we treat each other? How seriously should we take interaction in apocalyptic games which allows us to be horrible to each other?

It was the last panel on the Saturday night, but we managed to get some really interested (and interesting!) attendees to turn up and talk with us about the strange but enduring attraction of apocalyptic games.

Finally, I want acknowledge the Pax artist who came up with a truly representative image for our panel! 🙂