Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rant #6 Why I don't dig video games anymore.

I think the gaming industry has sold its soul. If indeed it ever had one.

Listening to Nolan Bushnell (inventor of Pong, founder of Atari) comparing games to business, and war, and back to games, and saying it's all fun...I get goosebumps, and wonder...

Anyway, the short and sweet of why games are ruined for me, is all the military shit.

It just reeks of a big military recruitment drive.
To pump hormonal boys full of violent impulses, and plots full of ambiguous and dubious moral philosophy.
I know guys who were big time gamers who ended up going to Iraq, and then you see clone after clone after clone of the whole Halo formula, and they're pumping the ads for them at you at every commercial break, and it's very easy to smell something funny, and go "hey...what the fuck is going ON here??


I don't see it as harmless and innocent, there's something very creepy about it to me.

And yeah, they dress it up in sci-fi most times, but it's always some guy, from some government, with some funky gun, running off to bring order to the chaos.
With pure firepower, nothing more.
It's all a mission, it's all orders, anything resembling navel gazing or diplomacy is left at the door, you just blow shit up because someone tells you to.

In my 20's, I didn't think about it.
In my teens, games were little blips, they didn't have a plot, the shoot 'em ups were virtually indistinguishable from the puzzles.

I still like the puzzles.
Tetris, Katamari Damaci, stuff like that.
I've never touched Guitar Hero or Rock Band, but that stuff is innocent, I don't mind that either.

But, anything with a military connotation kinda creeps me out.
To the point of stomach gurgles if I let it.

And oookay, there's a case to be made, yeah, we need defense, so we need soldiers, and some guys are wired for it more than others, and they'll be the ones to do it, and the games can just show 'em their interests for their future, yeah, okay....

And yeah, kids can play these shoot 'em ups, and not join the military, and be well adjusted (not that aspiring soldiers are necessarily maladjusted, I'm talking the Columbine aspect) and it's just entertainment for them.

I could take that argument, and leave it all alone...but that's not all there is, there's another layer going on, and it hits me at a gut/goosebump level.
It's hard to convey.

When you look back, at how all this computer infrastructure we use was military based, computers themselves, the Internet, it's like, it's so in bed with the military industrial complex, it's no wonder the military would want a return on their investment.

So, it's suspect right out of the gate.
And then you know that the gaming industry is full of minds like Bushnell's.
That think war is actually a fucking game!
You can't help but think "yikes!".

And the other scary layer to it, is the shit that's NOT military or puzzles.
The stuff where you're some shady misanthrope.
A mercenary, a drug dealer, a hit man, a serial killer.
What the fuck is up with THAT shit??
Who are they training with THAT, and why?

And then you think of the SF based military shooters where everyone's a "zombie".
The whole zombie thing has been taking off like wildfire, have you noticed this shit?
Kinda impossible not too.

I dunno what the psychological effects of carelessly blowing away "things", that "used to be human", so you get detached from the person that used to occupy that body, but it can't be fucking good for you.
Even if you walk away from it, and lead your dumb little life, it can't be setting up good meme-plexes in your noodle.

And let's just take my little conspiracy theory to its worst conclusion.

Let's take the military hypnotism, combined with the "shoot women and children because they're 'zombies', now", disconnection, and pit people like that against the ones who took to the drug dealing sociopath programming, and what have you got?

Seems to me you've got the formula for soldiers mowing down citizens.


But, maybe I've got my tinfoil hat on.

But...I don't see anything as a corrective check against it that proves me wrong, I don't see anything selling heroic virtues, or positive altruistic values.
It's all soldiers, soldiers, soldiers, zombies, zombies, zombies, gangsters, gangsters, gangsters.

And guitar hero.
And puzzles.
But in my nightmare world, those poor people are victims.

I dunno, maybe I'm wrong, maybe people just like military sims, and horror, and crime fantasies, and that's human nature, and I'm reading too much into things.

I hope so.

But, watching advertising, it's been like a big movie that's played out in a thousand little chunks, and the movie it makes is a creepy dystopia.

I really hope I'm wrong.
But, it has been enough for me to tire of gaming.
That, and the prices.
Fuck, has that become an expensive hobby to have.
Holy shit!

Even in the most benign version of reality turning out to be true, the trends, the repetition, the lack of creativity, it's the worst of Hollywood all over again, and I'm burnt the fuck out.

Our culture does that a lot to me.
It just wears me down to a nub, and things get ruined for me.

So yeah, games are (mostly) ruined for me.
Between the creepy messages, bad vibes, and ruthless and annoying marketing, it's become a bad scene all around.

Fuck, do I miss Pac-Man.

Read More......

Blog Archive