Monday, June 28, 2010

Pissing in Your Games

For all the interesting things that gamers constantly do, I still see very few of us 'pissing' on our games. Nope, I don't mean the reckless criticisms we're all desperately clinging to these days. I mean it in a more interestingly figurative sense. This of course, is intertwined in the common theme of passion I usually have threaded throughout my posts.

If you have any trace of obsession in you, this is an easy concept to get your head around. It can be done for any game (or any scrap of media if we get complex about it) regardless of the consensual 'quality'. Once one passes 'a certain line of interest' with a game, a very twisted sort of pride takes over. Depending on that individual gamer's personality, their relationship with said game will begin to take on certain consistent properties (e.g. an addictive, academic, or pure indulgent association with the game).

Since people are very adept at ignoring anything that gets too complex, they find ways to compensate for it (mostly subconsciously). Queue genre archetypes (i.e. hardcore, casual, indie, etc.), obsolete categories gamers will be fighting their way out of for quite some time. While the technical implications of that are pretty straightforward (i.e. we've all mostly accepted it into our lexicon now), the ripple effect that it has on certain communities isn't.

The social aspect greatly depends on the circles one relates to or travels in. Everytime someone passes that aforementioned line, they almost instantly get branded with the mark of their own love. Some people understandably avoid this like the plague (usually under the silly guise of objectivity), some hide it to preserve the illusion of privacy and personal space, others *cough* suck it into their own nihilistic void to beat people over the head with. To each his own I guess. After this gamer becomes branded with that 'mark' though, two things typically happen:

One: Shallow End (social) - The people around that gamer hollowly and meaninglessly offer ignorant support so as to not spoil that single gamer's happiness, confront their own laziness, or avoid confrontation altogether. They stand on a comfortably distanced and novice understanding of the single player's emanating radiance regarding the terms of something they love.

Two: The Deep End (psychological) - The gamer is forced to keep themselves afloat while juggling any number of the game's realities in relation to their own persona. Sometimes they drown and we see the effects of that. At least, I like to think that's what I'm looking at when I see a comment post by someone who seemingly hasn't used a keyboard before (e.g. "OMG EXBOCKS SUX").

Within this 'pool', there's usually one person in the deep end and upwards of 100 in the shallow end. Thus, all those in the shallow end graft the 'swimmer' directly into their entire perception of the game itself. The passionate swimmer becomes aware of this as well and it begins to feed their pride, ego, and intellectual vanities. They begin to feed off people's ignorance at this point. It's kind of disgusting actually...

Now if you want an easy example of all this in motion, just take a look at me and Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear series. Thanks to me just being able to express myself, dozens upon dozens of people have essentially plastered my face on the box as well. Their entire perception of the game has become significantly and irreparably ruined simply because they didn't know how to internalize information for themselves (coincidently a theme of the Metal Gear series, most notably Sons of Liberty). What this really boils down to is what inspired this post, me reading the Wikipedia page on territorial marking and pheremones:

"Spraying (also known as territorial marking) is behavior used by animals to identify their territory. Most commonly, this is scent marking, accomplished by depositing strong-smelling chemicals such as urine at prominent locations within the territory. Often the scent contains carrier proteins, such as the major urinary proteins, to stabilize the odors and maintain them for longer.

Not only does the marking communicate to others of the same species, but it is also noted by prey species and avoided. For example, felids such as leopards and jaguars mark by rubbing themselves against vegetation. Some prosimians, such as the Red-bellied Lemur, also use scent marking to establish a territory. Many ungulates, for example the Blue Wildebeest, use scent marking from two glands, the preorbital gland and a scent gland in the hoof."


There's something disturbingly parallel there to what I'm commenting on in this post. We're well into an age of gaming now where merely commenting on the milieu from the likes of Tselinoyarsk, has become lethal.

There's also the question to how this effectively lowers standards in many games as well. When people aren't willing to compromise their passions, they ironically begin to decay at that exact moment. I only genuinely like talking to people who aren't just coming to me with Metal Gear things, but rather presenting their own Metal Gear things. In otherwords, stop asking for my opinion and form your own damn it. I don't have the patience to cognitively babysit you.

It's kind of a shame how many people I know that will never be able to look at a Metal Gear game without the mental markings of my persona there (especially the ones who'll merely react ONLY after reading this post), but that's also something I take a rather vicious and vindictive pride in as well, as it lets me know who I should respect and who I shouldn't. That I can virtually ruin an experience for so many without even raising a finger just gets me all hot and bothered. ;)