Delayed Responsibility

I Shouldn't Be Gaming Right Now… But I Am!

The World Wants me to Explode my Head

Posted by deckard47 on January 4, 2009

Today is one of those days. In an attempt to stop the PC half of my computer from always, always asking me to sign in (even though there’s no password and no other users) I changed some minor setting, and now it wants a password… Which I made up a year ago and now forget. After typing in 50 different passwords I’ve given up, which means that it’s time for an XP reinstall. To be honest, it’s been in the works for a while, the old computer has been a bit finicky lately. Anyway, it’s a pain in the ass, and it’s going to take forever, when I start it up later tonight.

But that’s not all! I was wandering around the internet today, reading various “Best of” lists for ’08 (and of course muttering to myself about various injustices), when I came accross some really heinous shit. Now normally I subscribe to the notion that one should keep one’s trap shut about such things. No one cares that I think that the award for Best Doohicky is a really bad choice. But this, this had to be commented on,  had to be, otherwise I might have to mess up somebody’s face (and it would probably be my brothers’, so I wanted to curtail that action). Anyway, over at Gametrailers, there were several amusing awards choices made. Some were the kind of choices everyone’s been making, but some, some were extra-special.

First, the trailer for RE5 won best trailer. Really guys? Do you really want to nominate a trailer (and, possibly, a game) that utilizes highly charged racist imagery culled from hundreds of years of oppression and violence and treats those images as commonplace, simple pieces in a bit of entertainment? Are we really that ignorant, that passive? I don’t care how amazing this trailer is graphically, or how long we’ve been waiting for RE5. This is bad.

Next, we have GTA IV winning every single fucking award: Best Action Adventure Game, Best Story (oh no), Best PS3 and 360 game (I think), and GOTY. Wow. What shit. Let’s see… It would be a good action adventure game if the action or the adventure were in any way convincing (more on that later!). Let’s focus on the story for now. Apparently, the best story of the year is a story that thinks that the way to create interesting characters is to make every single one the embodiment of some kind of ethnic, socioeconomic, racial, or cultural stereotype. Then, you make people “think about their actions,” by choosing which cardboard racist caricature to kill. Shit be heavy. Then, you have bad, bad jokes about various causes, points of view, or beliefs, jokes that barely approach the level of “Scary Movie” or “Disaster Movie” jokes. Guess what Rockstar, having assholes on radio shows be racist or sexist or “super liberal” (but also kinda dumb) does not make it satire. It’s parody, a hideous, pale misrepresentation of reality, and of humor. Parody is not satire! Parody has no larger cultural awareness, just like GTA IV.

The story of GTA IV is the worst kind of “self-aware” narrative, one that is just self-aware enough to include minuscule nods to its constructed, unauthentic nature (or its own contrivances) as an excuse for gameplay, but that is completely content to take it’s cliche-ridden, stereotype-immersed ghost of a story seriously. The Godfather? Please. If this is The Godfather (or some other fiction that attempts to create believable, intriguing narrative), then it’s seen through the lens of  the most ludicrous kind of pop culture “knowledge,” the kind of lens that thinks that as long as you use stereotypes “about everybody” (forgetting the complete fallacy behind the assumption that all stereotypes are equal, the kind of assumption that conveniently forgets that all kinds of bias or assumption operate from different places of power and influence within and outside of our culture), you’re safe from censure. Ag. Enough of that. Bad story, enough said. They could have picked so many games, almost any game, and these games would have had better stories (oh my dear PoP, how you’ve been wronged).

I should stop, I interrupted an article I’m writing for an actual publication, not this crap on my blog, but I wanted to say one more thing. This kind of judgment isn’t restricted to Gametrailers (to whom I’m indebted for their completely ridiculous amount of content). This shit is widespread, and we do ourselves an injustice by letting it slide. I know I wrote something like this a while ago, but when a major publication lauds offensive, immature, childish material, everybody suffers. It’s lucky I don’t think much of my opinons, right? I’m going to go back to my minor, unimportant articles. I’m in a bad mood now, so I’m going to make myself feel better, just a bit.

YES

Yes indeed.

I’ll try to make the next big post about something other than the fact that gamers should be more socially conscious, I promise. Maybe it’ll be about how Duplicity looks absolutely amazing and sweet and fabulous? Only if you’re lucky, very lucky.

[Edit]: I know this is a bit hipcrytical, what with me being completely at home with Prince of Persia and its sometimes childish, often offensive dialogue. Guess I’m a bit of a flip-flopper? I’ll take PoP over GTA any day.

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4 Responses to “The World Wants me to Explode my Head”

  1. chungkingespresso said

    It’s Tom right? I can’t remember. Anywho, dude: I’ve been fighting with at least two people everyday since I beat GTA IV. Usually it’s the same two people over and over again. /agree with all your scruples with it. Except, I’d prefer it to win GOTY over Fable II. My pick for GOTY was Fallout 3, by the by. Not shocking or original, but I just couldn’t pick Braid over a game so ginormous.

    In any case, my main interest is in the shitstorm over PoP in the last two weeks. There was the MTV Multiplayer article about PoP being a ripoff of Shadow of the Colossus, without any mention of other games that have climbing and/or shadow monsters (the guy didn’t even mention Zelda’s rich shadow-monster history – and I think the new PoP is much closer in gameplay to Twilight Princess than to any Team Ico game). Then Seth at NYTimes wrote that the Prince’s skin was too light and that Ubisoft was totally racist against Persians. This led me to look at the Prince’s face and body for about 20 minutes before deciding that he looked like most depictions of Sinbad (doesn’t necessarily get it off the hook) I’ve seen and at least two of the four or five Persians I know. I call bollocks – especially since I don’t remember NYT jumping on the Resident Evil 5 Aunt Jemimah zombies back when the first previews of that game came out.

    I enjoyed PoP. Not one of my favorites for the year, but a solid 8 hours of relaxing eye candy. I loved that sometimes I could chat Elika up while running, without having to stop for the cutscenes that popped in from time to time. And it gets second place after Braid for my favorite game ending of the year.

    Anyway, I’m tired of the shovelware coming out of these mainstream “high exposure” token game review positions tacked on to traditional media sources. Most of these people, incidentally, picked GTA IV as GOTY.

  2. chungkingespresso said

    Also; the dialogue in PoP may have been soap opera cliche, but it wasn’t offensive. Elika was a pretty strong female character, never giving in completely to the Prince’s flirtations. She knew exactly what was going to happen to her in the end, she knew what her goals were and what she wanted – and nothing got in her way. The Prince was an annoying fratboy baby, but the ending changes all that. He takes a stand, doing one of the best “I Choose Love, Dammit!” acts I’ve seen in any medium for awhile.

  3. Sam said

    Wait, wait, you think you could mess with my face?

  4. deckard47 said

    @Sam
    Yes

    @Simon
    I was going to write something about that Seth article, but you said exactly what I was going to say (if there was a time to say that stuff, it was SoT). Secondly, I agree that their dialogue is great, and that the prince changes in a completely believable way. I guess what bothered me was the way his dialogue was written from the start. It was assumed that we’d all accept that kind of person as a believable protagonist, and we mostly did. I just wish they hadn’t had to to hit the sexy priestess jokes so hard. Han Solo didn’t need those to make me think him a rogue, and neither does the Prince. I wish they’d start the Prince from a different point: there are other ways to be assholes, ways that assume less about the target audience and give us a Prince who is less than admirable for reason that are more interesting.

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