Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tale of two princes

After writing the yesterday's post about my son's way of playing and how jaded and serious we gamers in general are, I have been thinking the whole thing over and over again. The comments on that post have been very eye opening in many ways and especially the one Hirvox posted was a kind of a revelation to me.

In a way everything in this train of thought can be condensed into a story I've heard time and again, a story about two princes. The story can be interpreted in many ways and can be thought of depicting various issues in life as well as in gaming.

The Two Princes

Long time ago in a land very, very far away, there was a lovely kingdom. This being a fairy tale, the kingdom naturally had dragons, witches, damsels in distress and beautiful heroes to save them, but they are not important for this tale.

The kingdom had a King, who was loved by the people, and a Queen who was wise and admired, even by his hudband. After years of loving and trying to have a heir, they got lucky and the twin princes were born. Right from the birth it was clear that the princes, though born at the same time, were completely different. One was dark and gloomy, while the other was blond and joyful. Regardless of this difference, the King and the Queen - as well as the whole kingdom - loved the princes very much.

As years rolled by, the difference between the princes became more noticeable. The dark one always saw doom and gloom in everything, and there was nothing which could have cheered him up. On the other hand, the other was all joy and enthusiasm, finding only positive things from all things that happened in his life.

After watching the differences of the princes for six long years the King and the Queen decided to do something about this disparity. They decided to put their plan into action on the seventh birthday of the princes.

The morning rose on the princes' birthday, bright and warm as it always does in the fairy tale kingdoms. The King and the Queen had decided to woke the dark prince first to cheer him up even more, as he would be the first to get his birthday present. 

The prince woke up, and was lead to a shining new door at a new extension of the castle. Looking all sad and desperate, the prince was told that everything found behind the door would be his birthday present, his alone and no one else's. Warily the prince pushed the door open and saw a huge room full of  shelfs upon shelfs full of new and shining toys of all sorts.

"There, son! All that is your birthday present, each and everyone of them belongs to you", said the King, proudly presenting the present to his son.

Much to the King's, Queen's and the Royal court's surprise, the prince dropped on his knees and burst into tears. As they finally got their son calmed down enough to ask the reason to this, the prince said: "All these new toys are going to break down. I can't touch them for I may break them and there is no-one to repair them at the rate they will break and the repairs will cost a fortune and the kingdom will go bankrupt."

Shaking their head in amazement and desperation, the King and the Queen left their weeping son to the care of his valet and went to wake up their other son.

The joyful son jumped out of the bed immediately and started looking for his present. The King and the Queen took this prince to the backyard of the stables and showed him a huge pile of manure.

"Son, this is your birthday present on your seventh birthday. Happy birthday, son!", said the King, trying to hide his amusement of the situation.

The young prince stood still for a second and dashed back to the castle. The King and the Queen and the Royal court were amazed: What on earth was going on and where had the prince gone?!

After a few moments the prince ran back with a shovel and started to dig the immense mount of manure. The King asked what he was doing.

"If there is this much manure, the sparkling pony must be somewhere here", responded the prince.

First I thought that the two princes could picture the different kind of bloggers: one sees the doom, gloom and broken things even in a new sparkling game, while the other takes the time to dig the sparkling diamond out of the apparently broken game. (There was a third brother, too, but he died of asphyxiation and ecstasy right after birth seeing only the sparkling diamonds in a sparkling game which was sparkling before it even saw daylight.)

The other approach was to think the princes as the WoW players of now: one sees the game as broken and bent and keeps wailing over it, while the other still sees some good in it - even though recognizes it is broken -  and keeps digging the pile in search of the diamond (or next purple gear).

The question really is about the interpretation. How do you relate yourself to the story as a blogger or as a gamer?