Sunday, August 17, 2014

Quick Primer / Update

Hey guys I know I said I was done writing about games, and really, believe me, I'd like to be. But, you know, there's been a lot of stuff going on recently and I think people could use a quick primer on the way games work and why things are wrong with them. Ready? Here we go:

1) Battlefield Hardline Is The End Result Of A Logical Chain Of Events

People are generally pretty surprised and shocked at the timing of a game wherein you kill lots of people who are forcibly dehumanized in order to justify a binary moral narrative.

But this is what games have done forever. Every game where you kill living human beings does this.

The thing is that, in order to justify a format where the protagonist is better than everyone, someone has to be the "everyone". In B:H's case, the "everyone" is people you might know, people who are your friends, people you would sympathize with. They have names and faces and value and worth. They're human beings, goddammit.

Every game about killing human beings is about killing human beings. Repetitive, I know, but games love to take that thought away from you. The people you fight look and sound like human beings, but they don't behave like them. They don't cry or beg or run. They just fight and die. In such circumstances you're completely obligated to kill them - if you don't, they'll just try to kill you later.

And of course it's only fair that you should have advantages - there's so many of them, and just one of you! It makes sense that you can regenerate health. It makes sense that you can slow down time. You have to kill everyone. It wouldn't be fair for the act of murder to be scary or consequential. You have to make it fun.

At this point you might be thinking about games like Call of Duty. Fine. Do what you have to do. But when you're done thinking about that, don't forget to think about the snarky nerd-bait games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect. Don't forget to think about literally every game where the act of killing is cheered and praised. Because they're all part of the same problem. Don't make excuses. Don't go "well it's okay in this situation". Wake up. Confront the real world like a goddamned adult.

Is it necessary to kill people? Inevitably, yes. Sometimes people have to die. Should we celebrate it? Should we cheer it? Should we draw pleasure from it? That depends. Look around you. Look at the people cheering on the murderers. Ask yourself if you want to stand with them.

2) Gamers Harassing People Is The End Result Of A Logical Chain Of Events

Gamers have been told all their lives that they're better than everyone, and if they're not better than everyone they're garbage. That's power fantasy.

If a gamer tried to shoot someone, the police would stop them. They know this. Their fear of death is more important than any possible desire to harm others.

If a gamer got in a fight, they could be overpowered physically. Failing that, they could be sued. Their fear of consequence is is more important than any possible desire to harm others.

But there are no police on the internet. There's no "being overpowered" on the internet. There's not even really any "being sued" on the internet.

Now they have a format where they can do as they please without being stopped.

This is what power fantasy does. This is what dehumanization does. This is the monster it bred.

Some of those monsters are reading this and they're nodding their heads. He's right. I can do whatever I want.

3) Polygon Headlines Are The End Result Of A Logical Chain Of Events

Gamers being ignorant and uneducated is nothing new.

"When I see MGS transcending the medium, pushing the envelope... When I hear [people complain that there are] 'too many cutscenes,' I think, 'you're a peasant.' MGS 4 made me think about PMCs -- which, in a way, I hadn't before. The fact that [Kojima] brings up these real issues and brings them to light for people who don't really think about them...." - Shane Bettenhausen

Do you understand now why I hate Spec Ops: The Line? Not for what it is, but for the reception it had. The idea that something so shallow and weak could be so enlightening to so many was a revelation about how ignorant and terrible the average gamer is.

But it's not surprising.

Gaming is an exercise in "not thinking". Gaming is an exercise in finding reasons to not think about things. Gaming is an exercise in being shocked when a game provokes the slightest thought.

Gaming is about a population who will only accept new information in an exciting or thrilling form, like a child who must be tricked into taking vitamins.

Maybe pick up a book. I recommended a few the other day.


  1. "Gamers Harassing People Is The End Result Of A Logical Chain Of Events"
    Because clearly gamers have all the reason of the world to harass people, and the only ones who could do it too.

    You know? for someone who says "Confront the real world like a goddamned adult." and "There's no "being overpowered" on the Internet." you and everyone else still think like children. Care to face reality and the implications of this? because i dont see any "adult" grasping the sheer number of variables of the real world, and would rather believe in the fiction in their heads.

    And there isn't going to be anyone able to patch reality and nerf that OP bullshit. How many cases do you know where someone actually checks if such claims of harassment on the net are actually not self inflicted? And how many victims actually want to know who sent those anonymous tweets instead of milking the drama for what is worth?

    Yeah, i though so. They dont teach that kind of scenarios in Fiction in general, is it?

    "Do you understand now why I hate Spec Ops: The Line?"
    You do realize that most people hate SO:TL because of that "savior and deconstructor of dumb COD action games" status, correct? Aside from you not providing proof of these elusive "average gamer" numbers, i am pretty sure the only people praising it are the critics, not the gamers. Gamers were busy complaining about being forced to do what the game says, so that it can insult them for it:

    1. It's really cool that you tried to argue that you're more of an adult than me, and part of your argument was linking to TV Tropes to explain the concept of a Wounded Gazelle Gambit. And you simultaneously made the claim that SOME PEOPLE are making up threats while at the same time linking to Bendilin and DioWallachia and other shitbags claiming that they have been threatened. Hey, guess what simple logical deduction *I* can make?

      Also holy cow did you just make the argument that *only* critics liked Spec Ops The Line, even though I encounter people who praise it all the time? Yeah, that pretty much says all I need to hear about your post: the only gamers you acknowledge are the ones who aren't bad.

    2. Actually I'm gonna say more about the SOTL one because that's just so grossly incompetent that I feel it deserves more attention.

      >Aside from you not providing proof of these elusive "average gamer" numbers

      Okay, so you want proof of numbers. That's impossible, but fine, let's accept it as an argument.

      >most people hate SO:TL

      >i am pretty sure the only people praising it are the critics, not the gamers

      >Gamers were busy complaining

      Hold on now, dog: who are these *gamers*? Didn't you just establish that you need statistics and numbers? You just linked me to a single video, with less than 2000 hits (aka "less well-known than my own articles", which is saying a lot) and even on that video there's a pretty large number of Thumbs Down. So was this meant to prove something about gamers not actually liking SOTL? Was it meant to be conclusive? I mean, with all your other points about GamerGate you provided lots of examples, but with this you provide one video.

      So, really, what was your point here? Was your point to make it sound like gamers *aren't* a bunch of idiots? Because man, you are going to need a *lot* of evidence to build that case, my dog. A lot more than "one video".


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