Friday, December 4, 2009

Doctrine #2 ~ The Slow Movement for Video Games

Inspired partially by this, I decided to push doctrine three into next year and squeeze this in to fit the Christmas spirit (my kind of Christmas spirit that is...). This is the time of a year when such a movement means the most.

"There is a very conservative element to gaming because absolutely everything is built around consumerism. Game designers are asking themselves questions about how a game should look and what it should do, but not about what the game is supposed to mean."

--- Henry Jenkins

A contributor to this lack of meaning is a result of what gamers have taken away from time. Time within a game means very little any more, while time outside a game is not typically controlled by forces even related to our person. The reasons here are irrelevant, no matter how justified. Of course people have jobs, families, and friends, but often they disregard just how much those things infringe upon their titles. Why? I don't much care, but I'll write it off as them looking for a more personally palpable truth.

"Our fast paced life has weakened these connections. Technological advances have meant that the work we do is different from work in the past and it is less connected to living and life than it has been in the past."

--- slowmovement.com

Even at such a young age, I find myself more and more disgusted with the crutches people can't live without. The one I've been most vehemently outspoken about in the past few years is the novelty of a cell-phone. It's not that they aren't useful, but the amount of 'life' that people imbue upon them is simply absurd. Today 80% of the tools that people use to make their lives easier only open up room to fill their lives up with something else --- which will probably be based around the same notion. Using time-reducing objects to make room for more time-reducing objects is a very twisted self-fulfilling prophecy.

Main Entry: 1slow
Pronunciation: \ˈslō\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English slāw; akin to Old High German slēo dull
Date: before 12th century
1 a : mentally dull : stupid [a slow student] b : naturally inert or sluggish
2 a : lacking in readiness, promptness, or willingness b : not hasty or precipitate [was slow to anger]
3 a : moving, flowing, or proceeding without speed or at less than usual speed [traffic was slow] b : exhibiting or marked by low speed [he moved with slow deliberation] c : not acute [a slow disease] d : low, gentle [slow fire]
4 : requiring a long time : gradual [a slow recovery]
5 : having qualities that hinder rapid progress or action [a slow track]
6 a : registering behind or below what is correct [the clock is slow] b : less than the time indicated by another method of reckoning c : that is behind the time at a specified time or place
7 a : lacking in life, animation, or gaiety : boring [the first chapter is a bit slow] b : marked by reduced activity [business was slow] [a slow news week]
"Slow." Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2009.
Merriam-Webster Online. 4 December 2009


Every one of the above definitions has some connotation which is seen as a 'strict negative' in today's world. One must be stupid, unskilled, or boring to embrace something that slows down the pace of life now. Hell, even ingrained life-structures such as schooling fall prey to this on a fundamental level. They're designed to induce stress, which can in some cases actually help, but will more than likely only help a select few. The rest (which is a majority mind you) are left to be broken in order to fit those constraints. This design is ingenious, as it basically forces people to formulate priorities and professions that aren't theirs at all, it just gives them illusion that they have something chosen for themselves.

"I'd love to see something like this pacing gain more ground because it would balance out what the Internet seems so predicated on moving towards these days; a shift towards making information a consumer product."

--- Myself

I become a modern day scrooge during this time of year, as people bathe in perverse happiness --- being Christmas is a holiday that nurtures consumerism (guess what the next doctrine entry will be!). Their happiness is contingent on Psuedo-Obsessions (guess what the fourth entry will be!). I find that last one particularly annoying since I typically manifest on the opposite end of the spectrum. People are somehow taught now that passions are wrong (usually done by extrapolating negative extremes from a select few) and that they should aim for the imaginary target of hitting everything, out of some misplaced desire to be more varied and cultured (*scoff*). I've said it before, but no gamer is above playing a flawed game (yet so many operate off those grounds --- knowingly). If one picks something to play and it lo-and-behold --- has a problem or two, that should not be a deterrent for cultivating an obsession for it.

Avoiding the common practice of 'title-hopping' has more than a few benefits.

  • Targeted monolithic game studios don't get your money and thus work harder for it, as they should.

  • You save money, and probably find better use for it instead of mindless indulgence. You know --- read a fucking book or something.

  • It demands that a person define their tastes and sense of self, which means that they make a game an 'experience' for themselves.

  • Old games that actually deserve attention will get visited, and will cause a ripple-kick in the cherries for developers. The ones that deserve it the most will get hit --- hard.

  • It means that 'gypsy gaming' won't remain the even sadder simulacrum of the hectic joke most people's lives are today.

    Pretending to move fast probably has some deep-seated psychological root in soothing shallow notions of progression for people. In actuality, its suicidal masturbation. Learning to love a game outside the boundaries of whatever everybody else has decided for you is far more orgasmic than jerking somebody else off just to feel righteous.

    If you want to do me (and yourself) a favor, take something as small as three months off and play one game you know you'll enjoy. If you truly can't, then you're only proving my point. If you can...you're at least in a position to prove me wrong, and I love to be wrong...

    ~sLs~