Valentine’s Day provides me with the guilt fueled obligation to take a closer look at some things I may have taken for granted, or completely neglected through my complete fascination with things that may have been (at the time) sexier, or flaunting their ta-ta’s in that low cut shirt. Well today, of all days, I take it upon myself to pry my eyes away from the ample presentation of wowza, and dedicate just twenty four hours of my mind to the lesser appreciated things in life.
Everyone with an online presence is a striving critique with a communal arsenal of words being passed around IGN’s Monopoly board, and down into the shanty towns of independent writers alike. Surely, everything is “fully realized”, and with terms as such remaining industry standard for years, it’s as if gaming journalism has reached it’s fullest potential, or derived a legit lack of ambition from it’s inline wordsmiths. Me? I’m a gamer at heart. I’ve been hearting games as early as my Sesame Street days, landing me default streetcred-hustleflow-knowledge of the D-pad, blazin’ J-stixx since when they was one button squares, red on glossy black… Serious. So needless to say I’ve been reading about games for just as long, and present day today (this statement will still stand in 10 years) it SIRUSLY feels like the internet has expedited the full extent of journo-gaming-journo’s reach. And I’m not making some pretentious claim that the internet has caused any sort of downfall of gaming journalism, only a vivid over saturation of diluted sections of negative elitizm texts and scores of overall scores. Gaming journalism is like the new rock and roll, and everyone’s in a band.
I’ve always felt Hideo Kojima to be some sort of mastermind, a true auteur designsmith with hands of gold, a kind of DiVinci this gaming culture holds in high regard, and will for years to come as a cornerstone of innovation and storytelling. His games challenge both the player and society on multiple levels, with themes of morality, and the complexity of interpersonal relationships, woven throughout fantastical, and damn near insane plotlines. His inspirations are clearly drawn from a variety of different mediums, like film ‘n’ music… Nature ‘n’ shit, you know? Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure… He’s a bit of everything, a real Chex Mex, convoluted Bruce Lee type, and so, there is no simple way, Haikus or otherwise, to explain the final product of a Kojima Productions game.
Like any potential readers, I’m a long standing gamer happily cradled in the arms of today’s gaming world, and as such, I tend to dip my toes into fresh waters from time to time; to get a feel for the current landscape of our beloved pastime. I’m one of those core gamers, who, while not necessarily hardcore, am loyal to the art and legacy of the industry with the armed intent of black flags, partisan banners waving in a backdrop of purple pixilated hearts, and generally uninterested in many of the current trends (and/or fads) leading the direction of modern gaming.
For those of you who don’t know me, the name’s Mike Haggar, the Mayor of Metro City, and ex-professional wrestler. I’ve spent the past twenty some-odd years whipping ass like nobody’s god damn business, protecting my god damn city, and that mouthy little god damn brat of mine from petty, crack addled coke dealers, and knife wielding cross dressers with an extremely progressive choice in attire.
Danny Glover once said “I’m getting too old for this shit” in the movie Lethal Weapon. But was he really too old?
I have talked with scholars, philosophers, psychologists, and shamans in search of the answer to this question: Why is it socially frowned upon to play video games as an adult male? Or better yet, will it ever be accepted. As I creep ever closer to the age of 30, I must ask myself if my favorite hobby is in fact childish. Shouldn’t I be buying a new tweed jacket, pleated chinos, and TIVO’ing the latest Jersey Shore? After all, these are all socially acceptable, so I must abandon the thing I love in order to conform to societies demands. I for one can not, and will not live with that answer. While on my journey for the “answer” I met a Korean shaman in a small hut in Mt. Bonghwasan. I studied the rituals. I immersed myself in the culture, yet there was still no answer. So I pled to this Shaman “Please, father I must know the answer. Why is it not okay for a grown man to play video games? The very fabric of my being is defined by this. My sanity lies in the balance, I beg of you.” He looked at me shamefully. He lifted his hand and said, “Go. Go to the man who lies beyond the hidden sun. You will not like the answer, but it will give your soul respite.” The last thing I remember was having the ashes of a recently cremated person blown into my face. Then it all goes black. What happens next, I can’t even begin to explain. Here is my interview with the “Man beyond the hidden sun”. He is a very imposing individual. The kind of man you really wouldn’t fuck with if you were teeming with liquid courage. A gentle giant of sorts. I had to sift through all of his pretension, but somewhere in this recorded interview lies the answer to my question. I hope maybe you will find it as well.
Thank you so much for meeting with me. I have no idea how I found you or how I have apparently been in a comatose state for 63 days, but here I am.
Your yearning is what brought you to me son. No man has gotten this far in this journey. You see, most chicken shits with spines made of gelatin gave up too soon. You got marbles kid, I’ll tell you that. Now ask your question.
I’m bothered by the fact that society will not accept adults who play video games. I’m a well adjusted adult who likes video games, however the world says that’s childish, that I need to outgrow it. Why is this a problem?
Well you see son, that’s a loaded question. I’m full of brisket right now after tailing a bull for three weeks, so you’ll have to forgive my lazy nature. Followed that bastard ‘till he was lappin’ water at the creek like his life depended on it. Then I climbed that som’ bitch and split its neck right open. Poor cock mongrel was spurting blood like it was the 4th of July. Legs were jimmying like a newborn child, christ almighty, it might have been one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Anyway, your question. You see society is a fickle bitch. Society also frowns upon a man being draped in leather, being hung upside down, and having a woman shellac his fully exposed genitalia with a bull whip. Now as fucked up a visual as that may be, if that’s a mans hobby or whatever, he ought to be able to do that without any regard for what “society” says. I mean I think that’s a sick individual, but what does my opinion matter?
Right…well that doesn’t really answer my question…
Man alive! All that Ivy League education, and you still got shit stewin’ in your brains. Look I’ll break it down real simple like for ya. Ya see, the reason I am able to provide your answer is because I am the only man to ever discover it. I too asked this question. I played the Braids, the Limbos, the Ico’s, and all the other arsty shit. I figured if a games concerned about its artistic integrity, then surely the world would embrace my love of video games. Much the same way that a book or movie can be artistic. I figured, shit, after 20 goddamn years I found the answer to acceptance. This is it. Art=Acceptance.
So a game has to be artistic in order to prevent being ostracized from normal society?
Yea, pretty much. That there is the school of thought that states that ‘if it’s art, they will come’. That is to say that the constant need for validation of what is considered by the societal norm as weird, can now gain legitimacy by simply being art. Of course that’s horse shit. If that’s your argument, or what you may need to sleep at night, I would say you were crazier than a shithouse rat. Look boy, I could take a dump in my latrine, scoop a handful of it and toss it on a white canvas. I could slather that shit on there and tell the world ‘this is good simply because it is a form of expression’. Now I know I’d look like a jag off in the process, but you’re smart enough to pick up my point.
So artsy games can be good and all, but they shouldn’t be used as a means to gain mainstream acceptance?
Jesus boy, do you listen to yourself when you talk? I’m not going get into this games as art horse shit. That’s a whole ‘nother level of mental retardation. It’s also another way of seeking validation. Why, in all that is holy, do you fuckers need to explain yourself for something you love doing? I mean I may love to touch myself 6 or 7 times a day, but that don’t mean I’m gon’ explain to you why I love doing it. That was a poor example. Just go ahead ignore that last bit. I have your answer boy: You shouldn’t give two shits or a fuck about how anyone perceives your love of these games things. Fuck ‘em got damn it. If it brings you enjoyment, or even an escape from daily life, by all means enjoy yourself. Why do you think we have booze and sex? It’s all a bit of an escape. Sometimes life is scathing cunt, and we need a vessel we can use to escape. I believe my job is done here son.
Shortly after this interview, I was able grasp what the “man beyond the hidden sun” was trying to tell me. I understand that my mentality should be “fuck everybody else, I’m going to play this shit. And I do it because I love it. This was by far the most profound interview I had ever conducted. As I turned around to thank the man, he had vanished. I asked Siri where he had gone, she dully replied, “I didn’t get that, could you please repeat that.’” Indeed Siri, indeed.