Journey With the Ingenious Gentleman of La Mancha and his fearless followers at University of Mary Washington

Don Quixote – The Gamer

What does it mean to play a game? For many, it is a small diversion from life, a fun activity to occupy one’s free time. For others, the ‘Real Gamers’, playing video games is more than just a hobby. It is a passion, a continuous infatuation. When players start games such as World of War Craft, League of Nations, and Counter Strike, they become so engrossed and focused on their games that slowly, over an extended period, they lose all sense of their ‘real’ environment and passage of time. This state of mind can continue for hours. During this time, the player believes that they are acting in a normal manner, yet to everyone else they seem absent, crazed, and frankly a little frightening.

I believe that the above impact of games on players can also occur with books and readers. In the book, Alonso Quixano reads numerous books about knighthood, becoming completely fascinated by the world which he sees within them. He reads so much, that he finally loses all self control, diving headfirst into a scheme to realize his passions as Don Quixote de La Mancha. Like our gamers, Quixote seems not to notice that the outside world thinks him looney. He stays resolutely in his game zone, focused on this mission for a better world.

In the recent chapters we read, I have noticed a number of enlightening quotes that speak to the game like state of mind Quixote stays in. As any proficient gamer would, he adjusts his strategies and techniques as his ‘game’ unfolds. When situations do not fit his story line or fantastical standards, our gamer, Don Quixote, targets the problem and creates a solution. Although that solution may not be a viable reality for others, in Quixote’s mind it is imperative to the accomplishment of his ‘game’.

One of the greatest examples of this is when Don Quixote and Sancho Panza have just been beaten up by Galacians in the beginning of chapter fifteen.

“For my part”, said the beaten-up knight Don Quixote,” I don’t know how long it will be. But I’m to blame for everything, since I shouldn’t have raised my sword against anybody who hasn’t been dubbed a knight.” (Don Quixote book page 117)

Before this part in the story, the knighthood of an individual has never stopped Don Quixote from fighting that person. However, when his attackers succeed in beating Quixote and his fellow up, they become an obstacle in the way of continuing his game or as I like to think of it, a charade. Don Quixote has to then alter his tactics a little in order to garner the continued support of Sancho and remain the hero in full charge.

All in all, I think the relationship between a Gamer’s infatuation with their playing world, and Don Quixote’s obsession with books run along very similar lines. Both instances lead to the individual losing all real sense of who they are, as well as the reality they are currently in. Don Quixote and the Gamers have to make constant adjustments and create new stories in their fantasy worlds if they are to continue to successfully play their respective games.

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