Hating The Player
Hatred really isn’t a big deal. I don’t mean, like, hating. Don’t do that! I’m talking about the game Hatred, which is crazypants. If you want to know about it, it’s basically a twin-stick shooter, which is whatever. I would never have known about it if there hadn’t been such a breathless, plainly mercenary attempt to capitalize on the game’s unvarnished, thoroughly amateur depiction of violence. That said, if someone is super good at Hatred call the police.
We have to come to terms with the fact that people are going to make art about their worst impulses and games are going to be where that happens sometimes. I can remember when turntables began to outsell guitars, and as digital tools and technology get wider purchase we’re seeing it again. People who would have formed bands are going to form development studios now, small, really fucking weird ones. And they’re going to make “punk.” Not the punk you like. They’re going to make “Fuck you” punk. And, as has occurred every other time, “squares” are going to take the bait.
A big part of the problem on the developer side is that they didn’t flatter games media. What a developer is supposed to do is to give their violence ironic cover, or agree to pretend that it’s a deconstruction of violence, or make the player wear a surreal animal mask, anything to “elevate” the piece so that the press can rub their faces on it like a cat. Barring these, you’d better fucking know one of them.
Here’s what’s up, now. We let anyone who can type create reality. I think this is vastly superior to the old model, which would never have made my life of .jpeg encrusted excess possible. But the reality the press created with their histrionics took a sorta middle of the road, traditionally peechee-bound retribution fantasy that would have languished on the highest, most out of the way rackmount in a colo somewhere and made the creators of that work a ton of money while also molding them into an icon of free expression in this medium. The gulf between their intentions and what they accomplished literally has no bottom.