Though I do write stories, and I have written quite a bit of code in my time, I don't consider myself a writer or a programmer. I never have been, and I probably will never be, despite the vehement protests of those few who have read my work or seen the fruits of my labour, as creating characters from whole cloth is simply too much work, and the intricacies of code, while interesting at times, are not something I tend to delve into without reason.
If I was a writer, I would have to organize backstories, direct actions, weave experiences into a coherent narrative, and hope that I alone managed to understand their motivations perfectly - when this is impossible, as no one being completely understands another. If I was a programmer, I would focus on generating efficient, bug-free code for the what was demanded, building the structures that allow a virtual world to take shape.
I am neither of these.
I am a designer, a crafter of worlds and shaper of dreams, in each and every medium I work with, for I firmly believe that stories are not formed in a vacuum, that one cannot build characters first and have the world as an afterthought. Rather, one should breathe life into a fleshed-out world, and let the characters and story arise organically from there. For is that not how our own stories come to be? Through emergent narratives interacting with the environment to shape who we become - just as we go on to shape the world?
That's why I think that games have the power to effect change - to bring about the social good - because they shape us, as we shape them.
Yes, there are those who think that games are dangerous because of this- that they promote violence or disturbed thinking, not realizing that they are only rehashing of Plato's critique of theatre (arguably the first form of multimedia). Perhaps - in some very rare cases - they may be right, though I am more inclined to believe that violent behaviors were committed by those predisposed to them in the first place by neglect, pre-existing emotional disturbances, or bullying, with games as simply an easy target.
There is enormous potential in how we engage with games.
Potential to treat - if not cure - mental illness, on a scale never before seen before. Potential to completely revolutionize how health care and education are delivered worldwide. Potential to help develop richer communities and cultures, as was their ancestral role.
So let's make it happen.
Let's create worlds richer and more colorful than any we have known in atoms, ink, or bits and bytes and pixels. Let's create living environments, dynamic ecosystems, economies, civilizations emerging from the digital ocean of human interaction. Let's create a living world where anything is possible, where the impossible is everyday.
Let's change the world -- with games.