"G.M. bring me luck, luck!"
This is the cry that comes across the Shout channels at any hour, a supplicant sending their prayer into the darkness. They repeat their petitions upwards of ten times a day, day after day, waiting for a response from the heavens that they have utter faith will come. They have never met a G.M., or spoken to one. But they are certain that we have power over absolutely everything, and that if they simply keep shouting, eventually we will answer.
Sometimes I try to disillusion them: "I am a G.M. and I cannot give you luck, luck! There is no way to alter your luck in-game!"
Other times, I try a joking approach: "I the great and powerful Lucy grant unto thee luck, prosperity, and all manner of fortune! Plus being popular with women! ...Just kidding, I can't do any of that!"
The general response is dubious. They will politely thank me for responding to them, even though it was to confirm that I could not help them - and then they will go right back to shouting for luck. Perhaps they think that I don't have the power to grant their request, but if they keep asking a more powerful G.M. may emerge from the shadows.
I also get asked a lot about items and gold. "G.M. give me a Rare Turtle please!" "G.M. I just need 30 gold I'll pay it back I swear!" They are utterly confounded, and a little suspicious, when I explain that I have no rare pets and no gold. I can't spawn pets at will, nor gold; my own character has one of the weakest, most common pets available (a Parrot) and is flat broke.
I was talking to a particularly persistent player the other day. It started the usual way: a request for luck, which I explained was impossible. The player, thinking I was misunderstanding his request, explained in return that all he needed was a super-rare drop, and then his luck could go back to normal. Finally he demanded, "If you can't give me luck, who can??"
After a moment's thought, I answered, "...Do you believe in a God?"
He was not satisfied with that response, and went away from the conversation troubled that I had refused him. But I have been thinking about it since then, wondering whether there may in fact be a God who cares about video games, that cares not just about the fall of a single sparrow, but the rarity of a single drop. This comes back to the philosophical idea that Gods can perhaps be created - that if someone prays long enough, and fervently enough, an entity may rise to answer this need.
I would like to think that this is the case. It gives me a warm feeling to think that there is a deity out there that rewards us for completing 100% of the optional quests in a game, or that rains punishment down upon cheaters and botters. If there is such a deity, our sacrifices unto them are surely in the form of time: God of Video Games, take these eight hours of my life that I could have spent otherwise, and look upon this rare weapon I acquired as an offering in Your name.
The God of Video Games needs no temple. The code of the God of Video Games rustles through the virtual leaves of the CG forests, whispers its way through equations of drop rates, listens to the lonely cries of players on the Shout channels. This essay is hypothetical - I don't know if I "really" believe in such a deity. But with all of the love and faith gamers pour into their favorite worlds, it wouldn't be all that strange to imagine that devotion having somewhere to go.
And what would it hurt, in any case, to pray to a God that didn't exist? You've wasted nothing but your own time, which is a sacrifice anyway to such a God. In the space of this single essay, I have convinced myself to convert to this crazy, beautiful idea of a being that oversees players, that cares for the virtual worlds that humans have created. God of Video Games, this is all I ask - please, give us luck, luck.
- Lucy Song,