I just finished reading a book by a man named Peter J. Leithart called Deep Comedy: Trinity, Tragedy, & Hope In Western Literature. And by just finished, I mean two hours ago. Since I’m mentioning it here it can only mean I either loved it or hated it, and as it happens I loved every page of it. Save perhaps the index (banal). But the book’s thesis is that there are two major kinds of literature, tragedy and comedy. Of those kinds there is also Deep Tragedy and Deep Comedy, which he claims can only be found in Christian works. Deep Comedy is a comedy in which the story ends with all of the characters better off than they were in the beginning, and Deep Tragedy is a story in which the hope of redemption is offered but never accepted. His reasoning as to why these stories are only found in Christian works is that due to the doctrines of the Trinity, Incarnation, and Resurrection, Christianity has a hopeful eschatology (from the greek eschaton=goal,end and logos meaning word or in this case study. So study of the goal (telos) or end of creation). Greek Paganism lacked this.
Despite focusing on Comedy, the work talks about tragedy a lot and the author admits he probably should write a book on Deep Tragedy (and I hope he does). But regardless, reading this got my mind in a tragic and comedic mood. So glancing over at Kotaku I notice this post:
MGS4 is the rare effort of video game blues and tragedy. Gamers are used to being asked to save the day and be the hero. Metal Gear Solid 4 is so unusual in that it’s the rare game that asks them to be interested in something else: a march toward defeat, an interactive tragedy.
Anyone else want more video game tragedies?
So being the gaming dilettante that I am, and that I just read a book on tragedy, I feel the need to talk about this. I could go on on how a game could be a tragedy, why we don’t have many sad games, or how perhaps games couldn’t be tragedies, but I’ve rambled on too much already, and the post on that would be longer. So first, I’m going to ask all six or seven of you to provide some opinions on the matter.
Video games, tragedies, Metal Gear Solid 4. Go!