A friend of mine says frequently that videogame are a lost cause and will never rise above their base form of being a distraction with no redeeming value that is basically an engine to separate idiots from money.
I’m beginning to think he’s right.
Videogames and videogame fans that aren’t horrible shit babies are how I relax from a lot of things. All the news that I hear, all the day to day stresses, all the *everything terrible*, it’s all a lot to handle and not go crazy. Maybe sometimes I want to go home and be in a space where I play a blue collar worker, his angry dragon rival, and the girl they both have a crush on and they all zip around in little cars and throw produce at one another. Alternately, watch a thing where some funny guys talk while playing a game poorly, talk about how to make your monsters great, or what goes into completing a game. All good stuff.
I grew up with nintendo and loved pretty much anything they’ve brought to the table due to a combination of nostalgia and joy at the innocent fun that makes up part of the package. I like their art direction, the way they design their consoles (both for durability and form), and this feeling I get from them that they never really forgot that they were a toy company. With the combined assets of my wife and I, we have an unbroken chain of nintendo consoles that stretches back nearly 30 years from the NES to the WiiU. I personally own most of the handhelds with missing members being variants of the base hardware (such as the gameboy color).
I’ve never had a tall opinion of ‘hard core’ gamers since I started wading into the waters of adulthood. At the time I had guys I knew giving me shit for owning a GameCube instead of a “real man’s console” and I got sick of it. Now I still throw in a few playful jabs on behalf of Nintendo, but to think that anyone has such fierce brand loyalty to take it seriously is just absurd. Apparently this kind of shit is normal on videogame culture still! It’s like it’s still 1991 and people are arguing the merits of Mario vs Sonic.
I’m tired of the games as art thing, because it’s asinine. Of course people who have never interacted with a form of media outside of getting drunk and playing pacman in the early 80’s aren’t going to consider it art. You don’t need their validation. Just wait until they die and are replaced by pretentious assholes from our generation in their late middle age that won’t accept that polydimensional cyberkinetics are art. Easy!
But seeing the last few weeks? I’m reluctant to lump myself in with anything having to do with video gaming. First we have a funnyman who said something, someone was offended, and then he proceeded to follow that up by going down a path of non-repentance of spectacular proportions that is still unfolding at this moment and gladly spurred on by the gaming community. Then we had a game designer’s ex-boyfriend say a bunch of stuff involving people she may have cheated on him with, and that escalated quickly into all sorts of harassment swept under a rug with claims of ‘journalistic integrity’ in a field of journalism that has never had the ‘church and state’ separatism of real journalism. Then we have the continuing adventures of the lady who makes videos about how tropes in games are kinda crappy to women. Per usual she gets called all kinds of names, gets threatened, and in this case took a little sabbatical way from her house because of the level of threats and harassment.
In the case of both of these women, a lot of the gaming community said they were just making up stories for attention. I have a hard time believing that. I’ve been visiting gaming media since I could get on the internet. The advent of commenting systems just made it more fun, since there was a discussion! Except it wasn’t a lot of the time. Mostly it was angry people yelling a lot. The kinds of things I see routinely coming out of the mouths of vocal members of the gaming community is embarrassing. Seeing how they treat game designers of any gender or orientation is disheartening.
The sad part is we kind of expect this sort of behavior. It’s so normalized at this point and it’s moved so far beyond the childish ‘mario vs. sonic’ arguments. And all of this *just keeps getting worse*. People’s livelihoods are getting threatened. That’s not ok.
I can’t take the community seriously at all. I can’t listen to anyone who considers themselves a gamer talk about ‘games as art’ or ‘serious games journalism’ or anything like that because the community wants to both be taken seriously and to allow a vocal portion of itself to be not much better than a pack of animals. I have a lot of stuff I want to ask one of these guys who isn’t what I would consider sexist or particularly reactionary or crude. I want to know why they seem to side with this angry lump of dicks that violently lashes out at anyone who dares speak ill of video games.
I remember when videogames used to be fun. And, you know, they still are provided that I don’t talk about them or see people talk about them. I really like videogames. I like what can be done with the medium that can’t be done with anything else. I like that we have a medium that can have the pacing of a film but have the mechanics of a game.
I just want things to focus back on why we picked up this hobby to begin with. We’re here to play a game and have fun, experience something someone else made, maybe have a little power fantasy along the way by being an idealized version of ourselves, and at the end of the day nobody has to get hurt.
Except that guy Steve when he’d pick Dhalsem in Street Fighter 2. He got punched in the arm a lot for being cheap.
He’s white, of course, and thirty-something. He’s straight, which you can tell because he starts the episode sneaking out of the bed of an extremely attractive woman. This is funny, because the woman expected him to stay, and he’s not staying. You can’t keep this man tied down.
It’s a crime drama. He has to solve the case, catch the bad guy, which he can do because — dramatic stare — that’s just what he does. He does it well, too, but that’s because he’s Not Like Other Men.
He doesn’t follow the rules.
He’s the guy you call when shit needs doing, because this guy has no moral compass. You need information? This guy’ll bust some kneecaps. You gotta kill a guy to bring the bad man justice? Done. Fuck due process.
He’s a misogynist, and an asshole. He treats everyone poorly, and he makes loud comments so you know he’s not down with the PC police. He’s a badass, a bamf, you watch him rattle off one-liners and fantasize about repeating them to your ex-girlfriend.
A show about its consequences.
No one likes this man. No woman agrees to sleep with him ever again, because they know he’s a piece of shit. His coworkers hate him, and his boss fires him.
This is where he goes freelance, but not even the seedy underbelly of the city likes this motherfucker — and it’s not just ‘cause he used to be a cop.
No more witty one-liners about being politically incorrect. Every attempt is interrupted by someone who’s sick of this guy’s shit.
He manages to pick up a gig and play off of this devil-may-care-i’m-above-the-law swag, but the second he tries to kill or seriously maim someone to Get Stuff Done he’s taken in. Because that’s what fucking happens when you think you’re above the law.
Nobody in jail wants to hear his racist jokes.
A show about its audience.
And as the season progresses, they realize that the person they idolized all along was a piece of absolute shit, and no one ever liked him. He was not a hero to be emulated, but a warning of what could be if you don’t stop being a little shit.
This sounds like a fun three-part YouTube series.