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Tycho / on Wed, Feb 18 2004 at 7:11 am

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Ender’s Game(s)

It’s easy to imagine the cool games that might be spawned by an Ender’s Game movie, unfortunately, I doubt those will be the ones we see.  It seems to me the odds of us being sodomized in this endeavor are very high.

It would appear that the wheel has come full circle again, and one of us has begun to question their gamer identity.  I want to assure you that this is completely normal and that despair is not your only recourse.  There are two powerful forces operating on your person, and if you let them they will wrest from you the ability to enjoy this passtime.  I speak from experience - you might recall The Sucking series, when we indulged ourselves in the very emotions that have seized you

External:  You may be tempted to give ground to the notion that the “innovation” is gone from gaming, like the part-time pop nihilists to whom all Internet argument is ceded.  This is a hipster’s gambit, and it’s one you would do well to apply a belt sander to.  What you are saying is that you are incapable of being pleased.  Instead of turning up your nose at the rich feast placed before us, you might ask yourself if you want to be a person for whom nothing is satisfactory.  That’s the trick of that position - to become so enamored of your own refined palette that no morsel can surmount your culling mechanism.  Understand that this isn’t the same as liking everything.  You can be a huge snob and still be semi-permeable to amusement.  I certainly don’t waste my attention on bad games, and there’s no need to invest your dwindling time and resources for gaming out of some twisted sense of equanimity.  As far as the white stag “innovation” is concerned, if you’re looking at the retail shelf you may be hard-pressed to find it at times.  There are a number of reasons this is true, but for the purposes of this discussion just grant that the rigors of production, the development cycle, and the focus on densely packed, quarterly releases can sometimes obscure the good that there is to find.  My point is that if you focus entirely on retail, that’s like opening your bedroom door a crack and referring to that visible sliver as “the universe.”  I don’t entertain the notion that Mod Authors - and let’s call them what they are, independent developers - are in any way gripped by some malaise, and the release of a sequel to a popular franchise by a gigantic international corporation is not evidentiary of some canker at the core of gaming.  If between four consoles and the personal computer you can’t find some way to enjoy yourself, please send me your name and a picture so I can fucking avoid you.  I don’t want to catch whatever it is you have.

That leads into my next point, actually.

Internal:  This phase of the conflict is critical indeed, but also strange and ridiculous in a way.  I’ve been playing videogames for twenty-four years, as men reckon time.  I identify myself as a gamer.  It’s a topic that I can discuss for hours, years in fact, if this website is any indicator.  And so when I felt these sensations approaching, it seemed indicative of a serious personal fault.  Maybe this is what my mom was talking about!!! and so forth.  Maybe it was time to start not liking stuff and time to start…  What, exactly?  What are the other rituals that are, now that I am a man, preferable to gaming?   

Why do I care?

I don’t want to disappoint the young people in the audience, but there is not some kind of flaming arch you pass through and then you’re an adult and you have to be serious about shit.  It’s easy to see from commercials the sorts of activities I should presumably be engaged in, but I’m fairly certain that American manhood is vague, internally contradictory and largely nonsensical.  If I feel like ushering robot legions instead of riding broncos or joining a militia or whatever the fuck, I’m going to usher those Goddamn robot legions and that’s pretty much the end of the story.     

This all misses the point if you just think games are boring and don’t want to play them anymore.  There’s not some gaming high council that is going to exile your ass for crimes against the community, go do something else for a while and if you like it keep doing it.  If you don’t like it anymore, then maybe you should come back and do this thing we’re doing.  Eventually, it won’t matter if you played Syberia or got heavily into masonry.     

Musical links have finally reached the point where it might be dangerous for me to contain them, so here goes.  The indomitable father of Nerdcore Hip-hop MC Frontalot entered this week’s Songfight competition, entitled “Romantic Cheapskate.”  It is excellent like every other song he has ever written.  Also, belated congratulations to recent Songfight victors The Frontalittle Squad, who finally have a site I can link directly toMetroid Metal specializes in what I consider to be fairly inspired renovations of those timeless themes, and of course we could always count on Game Over to apply their secret Swedish metal techniques to gaming classics.  Enough good cannot be said about Overclocked Remix, presided over by eternally funky DJ Pretzel - but I found Quinn Fox’s version of the Phantasy Star Online lobby music so Goddamned tender that no fork was required. 

(CW)TB out.

martians are going to eat us

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