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The Things I Like Are Better Than the Things You Like

By Mike Roorda | Comment Diversions | June 21, 2013 |

By Mike Roorda | Comment Diversions | June 21, 2013 |

If you watch, read or play enough of any form of entertainment you’ll eventually find a favorite. A genre of storytelling that you tend to gravitate to. A place, subject or topic that you find you enjoy the most. It doesn’t even have to be the same across the board for each medium.

I thoroughly enjoy reading SciFi books. If you put a dog eared paperback in my hands and there are pictures of spaceships on the front, or the words “aliens” or “space opera” appear anywhere on the back cover, chances are I’ll be about 50 pages in by the time you remember to ask for your book back. Something about technologies we haven’t yet invented, but could be only a generation or so away sparks my imagination. Who wouldn’t want to explore the stars the way Magellan sailed the oceans? True story: A while back I was diagnosed with an unfortunate heart condition that required me to have an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator put in. One of my first thoughts when hearing this news was, and I kid you not, “Well, shit. If NASA invents generation ships any time soon, there’s no way I’m going with now that I’m in the shallow end of the gene pool.” So yeah. I like me some SciFi.

Favorites: The Forge of God, Anvil of Stars both by Greg Bear; The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmmons

If we’re talking movies, then I will absolutely watch anything that has even the slightest hint of being a Western. I love the dusty, unpainted, sun bleached wooden buildings. The sloshing of brown liquor into dirty glasses and stubble splashed faces. I love the gun fights, the fist fights and the hooker fights. When you watch a Western, the location and the scenery become a character in the story. The setting moves in and out of the tale like an unseen member, flavoring and shaping what happens around it. If Disney ever starts a park for adults somewhere in the Southwest where you get to pay for a week and pretend to be a character in a western for a week or so I’d sell all my worldly possessions to participate. Riding a horse through the desert? Drinking whiskey in a candlelit saloon while playing poker? Staged shootouts? Stagecoach robbery? Sign me up.

Favorites: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, 3:10 to Yuma, Silverado.

Video games are a whole other animal, because they can pretty much cross genres and mash together story types and nobody bats an eye. Even when they do adhere to more traditional storytelling conventions there tends to be a lot more shooty shooty bang bang than the original genre would have called for. I’ve played some great games over the years but the few that captured my imagination and invaded my dreams were the ones that told a strong story beyond the “go here and kill that, to collect this to upgrade your thingamajig so you can kill more whatsits.” A genre where they consistently outdo their analogues in film and print however is in the superhero story. Where movies and books show you transformation, video games let you actually experience it. You can watch how the choices you make affect the world around you in a real way. You get to chose what powers you want to gain, how you want to use them and how you want the world of the game to react to you. The power. It’s intoxicating.

Favorites: “Infamous,” “Infamous 2,” “Bioshock,” “Bioshock Infinite.”

So what about you all? Which genres and mediums do you love the most? Do you have a hidden treasure you long to share with us? Do tell!

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.