Freedom of expression. Whatever problems you may have with this country today, that ideal still lies at the core of our society.
And without it, we would never have received some of the most memorable entertainment experiences of our lives. Perhaps it's overstating to say that video games have had such a tremendous impact on all of us, and maybe I'm a little depressed that more people in the world would rather watch a movie than read a book.
But it is only by way of our inherent freedoms that we have enjoyed all of that. We can argue all day about where the "line" is and whether or not we've crossed it (Warren Spector certainly believes we have in terms of over-the-top violence), and we can bemoan the loss of the golden era of interactive entertainment when the hardcore ruled and coin-ops were the norm. In the end, however, from where we sit now, we see an industry that has delivered – and should continue to deliver – entertainment that is not constrained by censorship, that does not bow to a singular almighty whim, as it would in a monarchy or any dictatorship.
Game makers have taken advantage of that freedom and explored a great many of the emotions that make us human. Believe it or not, if we sit back and reflect, we have experienced those emotions many times over; we've laughed and cried, we've busted controllers and felt the internal glow of relief mixed with accomplishment upon completing our fun task. Developers were allowed to make it, stores were allowed to sell it, we were allowed to buy it, and machines to which everyone has access allowed us to play. It all seems so simple, so…expected. But today is not a day where we take things for granted; in fact, just the opposite.
So as you're eating your fourth hot dog and laughing with friends and family today, if you're a gamer, take a little time to celebrate this country's birthday. This country that has given you everything from Mario to Uncharted . Even a quick "thank you" will suffice.