I feel a pang of pain to admit that the next Great American Novel will probably be a videogame.
Indeed as a book-lover this statement is an abomination to me.
But the same airs which make me build altars to ‘Moby Dick’ force my hand.
Before I continue I should note that I am not a gamer.
And I am especially not an advocate for gamer culture.
But most Americans are passionate about and pore over video games.
(Pew reports that half of all Americans in 2015 played video games – a number that’s likely risen since.)
Little wonder: they’re enjoyable and extremely engaging – to the point that the UN called video game addiction a public health crisis.
Contrast this with books: 24% Americans read no books last year.
Why is that?
Booklovers might say it’s because games are easier and reading is hard.
The best games are easy-at-hand commodified opiates and will never ascend the majestic throne of literature – or so us bibliophiles tell each other.
But what if we’re wrong?
What if the new Great American Novel isn’t a story on pages but something like ‘Mass Effect’ – the third-person shooter game that is the video game equivalent of a pulpy bestselling Tom Clancy thriller?