Andrew Todd, Badass Digest
Speaking of the whole video games thing/brouhaha/reality/shitstorm of trouble. I would consider myself a video gamer without any of the larger association of being into video games culture. But I am definitely part of ‘the culture’, broadly characterized as driven C.R.E.A.M.-like by a homogenous impulse of white male masculinity to have the final say in and about everything. Even if you’re not white or if you’re not male you’re part of it. That needledrop fellow said that reality trumps fantasy after listing off what he thought were salutary features of his reality. He concluded by saying that SJW types are looking to be offended. It’s a typically myopic (so typical as to be willful I’m certain) stance of the White Male Journalist. I mean, needledrop qua person is basically the bald music crit equivalent of Carrot Top. He looks like what he embodies, which is the ongoing skullcrunching backwards facing march of history’s angel obliterating everything in its path.
This is really going off the rails.
What I meant to say is that video games themselves are like the most fun thing in the world to do in spite of (or precisely because?) inviting its participants to have precisely 0 conscious thought about what’s going on around them. I guess it’s easy, if you have 0 awareness of the world, to assume that people have nothing better to do than try to be pissed off. But if you’ve ever been pissed off, you probably recall: it’s not really fun.
There’s a decided mirror effect between (lack of) self-reflection and social reflection, but one need not resort to a Barbara Bush ish argument against the Simpsons to see this.
Guilelessly accept plot after plot after plot centering around a Tough White Guy out to avenge the grisly death of some semi-nameless Dead Hot White Girl; enjoy looking at bikini armor and imaginative gaffer tape outfits; blow people up into bloody, pulpy, vermiculated corpses and camp their respawn point to do it again. It’s not that these things are normatively ‘bad’ (even though they are normatively ‘bad’). It’s that these are the stories are boring and shitty and they’re the ones that still get made, cost and create millions of dollars. I mean, this isn’t exactly even what I mean to say, though.
Like George “Rail Road” Martin’s famous apologia of GoT — namely, that it’s supposed to be a realistic depiction of how war/middle ages actually were, so brutality is required — the people defending video games culture totally ignore the point: even if your particular white male savior story makes sense and is good, even, the fact that video games are an endless, self-replicating succession of white male savior stories. This state of affairs is oafish and boring. But there are many alternatives to Triple AAA gaming titles. Yes, it’s a wide/wonderful world and there are alternatives to everything. And no one is seriously suggesting that video games cause people to rape people or shoot them. What they’re saying is that 1) publishing and 2) profiting off these enterprises leads to a circle of hell reserved for automobile title loan proprietors and crooked cops. That it’s despicable to cater to lowest common denominator themes and plots revolving around sexism, racism, and violence. That it normalizes the actions of said plots. Sure, there are alternatives, but risible crap like Bioshock Infinite is literally hailed as Game Of The Year all over the internet. These views and actions are not unpopular. That the only good woman is a dead/raped woman. Either she’s the woman standing in the way of you having fun shooty video game times, or she’s the one who’s causing you to go on your fun shooty video game journey. Same thing, really.
Reality. Reality trumps fantasy. The reality is that video games are a basic, easy to pick up (hard to master, ok) form of action that caters to the lowest common denominator. This includes a bunch of immature 14 year olds, biologically and spiritually, and the stupid wannabe gamer girls who only play Kardashian and Farmville. Except the latter never send anonymous death threats and rape threats to the former. That’s the reality.
Why would you ever want to defend the interests of the powerful (AAA games publishers) and evil (misogynist trolls from reddit and 4chan)? If there is a most overused trope in the world of videogames, it’s of the dispassionate avenger/protector who saves the world/the innocent/the powerless. It’s a role every meaty white guy* loves to jump into - except when it’s real life.
*Respect to white guys (and people, I guess) but the point is just that society is already set up to/for you. That’s why that “being a white male is life’s easy mode” piece was 1) so good and 2) so reviled by a lot of white males. No one’s (broadly speaking) anti-white guy/person. See the quote above that ostensibly started this whole “train” of “‘thought’”.