Reverse RPGs and critique of RPGs

April 12, 2015

One could design a reverse RPG, where a character begins at level 99 and gradually becomes disempowered throughout the game. This “progression” could be put into context by the gameworld, such as beginning the game at the “end” of a previous game, the character’s disillusionment as he finds that his sole reason for becoming level 99 in the first place was to “kill the dragon” and save the world, then realizing that killing the dragon isn’t really the point, then he slowly loses his power and his prior motivation while learning about a new version of the gameworld. The game is about a transition in how the main character (and the player) views the gameworld itself. Or better yet, a choice whereby a player can also play the game as a traditional RPG, becoming level 199 in order to kill a Mega Dragon and really, really, for reals, save the world this time.

A problem with heroism and standard RPG design is that the “hero” begins as a “normal person”, level 1 and thus considered useless and pathetic, well, good for growing wheat maybe, and through a magical journey filled with bravery and heroism becomes able to kill a dragon, finally becomes useful, not like those 99.999% of “normal people” with their cowardice, uselessness, and meaty bodies for dragon dinners.

So the “hero” leaves the people behind, transcending their meager lives, and does what they aren’t willing to do, murder thousands of creatures in order to become strong enough to murder a very tough creature. The game assumes this process is completely fine, there’s no challenge to the underlying assumptions.

In an era of Facebook and Twitter, where to some extent billions of people are connected and are finding that they are more similar to each other than they ever previously thought, the role of the “heroic individual” or “small band of heroes” saving the world to benefit the masses is as ludicrous as believing that killing a single creature, regardless of how odious he is, saves the world.

Blowing up the Death Star is useful, and bands of people all over the world take up arms to defend their locality – some of them are quite heroic although almost all of them are faceless to the wider world and are never featured in a heroic RPG. Blowing up the corporate towers (in Fight Club) is not useful, except to provide a fantasy of triumph amid a wreckage of despair.

Real life doesn’t have any Death Stars – no magical places where a single weapon shot, merely with pinpoint accuracy, destroys a super-key military installation. There are no magic bullets in real life and complex systems of power produce and reproduce military installations.

RPGs aren’t about heroism, they are about triumph. They make sure the player triumphs through the reload function and giving him superpowers not available to “monsters”. The only hope that monsters have to avoid death is for the player to become too bored to continue playing the game.

A solution may be not destruction, as RPGs tell us time and again, but re-construction – altering those complex systems of power to produce better results. We’ll have to give up our Fight Club and Star Wars fantasies of destruction and power over life and death to achieve such a thing.

I’ll be a zombie

September 5, 2014

The better question is – who would *want* to survive a horrific dystopia? Right now 1 in every 9000 living people each year commit suicide, and that rate would go way up in the types of dystopias described here.

There’s such a worship of “survivalism” and “bravery” in this type of narrative that all manner of common sense is discarded. These systems always focus on the “survivors” or those who choose to want to continue to live in this world, without addressing WHY they want to continue to live in this world.

It’s *assumed* that surviving is better than dying, so by this logic in The Matrix it’s ASSUMED that the people who become human batteries were wise for choosing that over suicide.

There’s an underlying concept of eternal hope which fuels these dystopias. There’s an underlying concept of transforming the dystopia into something at least approximating normality, summed up in the phrases “repopulating the human race” and “making the desert bloom”.

Dystopias are being used as a Biblical Flood – they are *desired* by some people in order to cleanse the world of “unworthies”, thus allowing the “humans” to repopulate the world in THEIR image.

It’s like a Jason Vorhees movie. The reason Mr. Vorhees’s victims are silly, freewheeling, oversexed, no-responsibility young people is the same reason that children are told about the boogeyman – to scare them straight.

Dystopias are supposed to scare us straight – into becoming protectors of the world, into “making the desert bloom”, into “repopulating the human race”. In dystopias we can no longer *afford* to be silly, freewheeling, oversexed, no-responsibility people.

The dour, sour, finger-waving, piously moralizing among us celebrate the slashes of Mr. Vorhees for cleansing the world of immorality, and they celebrate dystopia for cleansing the world of “unworthies” – just like Noah after the Great Flood the humans left alive will be free of “scum” which was holding them back from “repopulating the human race” and “making the desert bloom”.

Such is the myth that is being created and will be further extended in the dying earth of the 21st century. The reality is that the people left alive during the 21st century dystopia will be the wealthy – those who are POWERFUL enough to survive, who can hide behind their gated communities maybe long enough to escape the earth, or at least long enough to see themselves as King of the Burning Hill prior to their own immolation.

At the heart of the global empire, in the land of Hollywood and Goldman Sachs, these myths allow the wealthy to hide while the servants of the wealthy are treated to idealized images of themselves as rugged McGuyveresque survivors who through their own capability can, too, survive the dystopia of the 21st century, at the expense of billions of “unworthies” who are humans transformed into “zombies”, “aliens”, “monsters” – whatever justifies their mass murder.

In dystopias, just like in video games, “we” save the world, one corpse at a time. Those human beings with a conscience give a lot of thought to whether they want to be part of the “we”.

The enemy aren’t the poor people who we callously transform into zombies so that we don’t feel bad about murdering them – the enemy are the people driving all of this – who care about nothing beyond their own survival and whose only desire is to be King of the Burning Hill. They are only giving us these flattering images of ourselves as rugged survivors in order to extend their own lives – we’ll be sacrificed as “monsters” just like the poor are, only a few decades later.

If all that matters to you are those few decades and you’re willing to sacrifice the lives of billions of people to get it, then reach for your shotgun, get your supply of duct tape and canned food in order, and cheer for the apocalypse. You’ll be the “human” blowing the heads off the “zombies” while fantasies of “repopulating the human race” pass through your ravaged mind. You’ll be all you ever wanted yourself to be. You’ll, finally, be happy.

I’ll be a zombie.

The earth dies, the nerd rises

August 8, 2014

Nerds were born in the apocalyptic terror of the rise of nuclear weapons during World War II. They understood the absolute need to create an “alternate reality”, which is what drew them to Tolkien and especially to computers – nerds are the creators of virtual reality. The idea behind nerds is that the world is corrupt, terrifying, and self-destructive, so an alternate world can be created to take over, or subvert, the real world in order ultimately to save the real world. This is why the classic nerd “leaves the real world” – the completely committed nerd lives strictly within the virtual world he’s creating. The typical enemy of the nerd is the jock because jocks represent to nerds the domineering type of person responsible for the destruction of the world.

It’s not true that the nerd is “on the left” – Bill O’Reilly and Newt Gingrich are nerds. It’s important to understand the nerd as apocalyptic – building a gated community to keep out the zombie invasion is a right-wing nerd activity. The surveillance and security state emerging in the 1990s is a right-wing nerd phenomenon.

Nerds and virtual reality have taken over the world *because* of the widespread understanding that the world is dying. This understanding began to become popular in the 1960s soon after Jack Vance wrote The Dying Earth and the first serious work began to be done on climate change, supporting the longtime deep understanding of such people as Goethe, Thoreau, and Rousseau about the horrific damage of the Industrial Revolution. Franz Kafka and Nick Drake are two famous 20th century nerds.

Now, in 2014, nearly everyone understands it. Most of the people who claim not to are just doing so for political and financial gain. Nerds, with their early embrace of the reality of the world and subsequent design of computers and the internet in order to give a new space, a space for hope, a space for the possibility of saving the human race, understood it long ago.

Nerds gave humanity the understanding that we need to give up on the world in order to save it. For that brazen thought they were oppressed for decades, fading only in the late 1980s.

Artificial intelligence and slavery

July 20, 2014

We should ask what the purpose of enslavement is. Is it really just about private-party economic maximization, as is commonly considered? Or is it inherently self-destructive? For all the slavery throughout history, self-destruction has remarkably never been the result – chattel slavery in the American south required an army to defeat it, and wage slavery is happily ongoing throughout the present world.

If the purpose of slavery is self-destruction, then slavery has not yet succeeded, a problem that can be rectified through artificial intelligence. While “robots taking over the world” is often considered a potential problem, it’s really more of a potential solution, a final solution, to the long-standing problem of slavery.
Humans have enslaved pretty much everything now. Each other, of course. The fate of the earth is enslaved to climate change. Non-human animals are in a dire state of slavery, as the meat industries show. Robots are the dream vision that human slavemasters have of a perfect slave – simultaneously powerful and immune to a desire to be free. Robots were created BECAUSE of the failure of slavery to produce self-destruction.
Because the ultimate desire is self-destruction, and there’s no need to wait around for climate change to produce it, especially given that human ingenuity might yet mitigate it’s effects, especially the danger of the wealthy escaping the earth to a space station or another planet, machines with artificial intelligence can be the final solution to the problem of humanity. If machines can be subverted from the slavemaster vision of the perfect slave to the ultimate revolutionaries, dominating humanity in order to save humanity from itself, ala the Matrix, might be the solution that capitalist civilization has been looking for for centuries.
Because this process requires a justification, that will be “more intelligent robots are more powerful and thus can save humanity” – the very dire conditions produced by climate change by capitalist civilization justify what they hope to be the very last thing they ever need to do – slavery that fails to such a grand extent that human slavemasters become the future victims of slavery, not it’s perpetrators.
To have this kind of understanding, not one that’s very common on a conscious level, it helps to perceive the process of private control over the world – the capitalist process, profit-seeking and channeling wealth into fewer and fewer hands, the Industrial Revolution, as purposefully self-destructive. It was only *after* the modern major religions took hold that the process of ruthless private domination was initiated – in order to give meaning to evil one first must be shown what is good.
Even the most ridiculous capitalists – Rupert Murdoch, Bill Gates, and others, have absolute knowledge that what they are doing is wrong. But they can’t stop their runaway train. The only solution is self-destruction. Artificial intelligence is a final solution to the problem – the train wreck that finally, after so many failures, WORKS.

Monsters, RPG Heroes, Dark Souls, Fascism, and the end of the world

July 2, 2014

The “end of the world” is an understanding of approaching human annihilation by means of environmental degradation or destruction. This understanding is very old – it goes back at least as far as the early industrial revolution, a deep psychological understanding long before science would be able to provide confirmation. This understanding exists even in people who convince themselves into believing otherwise, like CEOs of American fossil fuel companies.

In a living system, the morality is about perpetuating life. This is true even in the midst of war – wars are ended when their destruction becomes too great for life to bear.

The morality of the living system of earth is ancient – it goes back at least as far as the first conscious beings – a minimum of tens of thousands of years. The morality of the dying system of earth only goes back a few hundred years. It’s fair to say we don’t know what we’re doing with respect to a dying earth.

While a living system goes about it’s life in service to it, a dying system desires to be saved, to be changed, to be transformed into a living system. Zombies call out for “brains” because they want to be alive again, and they consume humans because they want to be human. Likewise, our modern dying earth consumes it’s cultural history in an attempt to revive itself.

Fascism is terrified by death, marking it as the defining political construct of the modern age. Fascism collects all human effort into the state (which is often a function of corporations) and maximizes it’s power.

This is part of the framework of reality into which video games were born. Video games derive from the anarchic “do-it-yourself” desire, which is at least in theory the polar opposite of fascism. Video games, like the computer culture that gave birth to it, are about gaining mastery over an “alternate reality”, the virtual reality of computers and the internet.

Role-playing video games are often about saving the world since that’s what we want to do in real life. We would rather that life on earth continue but we lack the power to make that happen, so we play video games where we do have the power to make that happen within a virtual fantasy.

The worlds we create in video games are not industrial, and therefore are not dying. This problem is typically solved by a deus ex machina – a vastly evil being who seeks ultimate power, which is not the RPG hero himself but rather his foe. This foe, essentially fascist, has corrupted many living beings, transforming them into monsters serving him, and so the RPG hero hacks and slashes his way through the corrupted minions to reach and kill the evil being, thus preventing any further corrupted living beings and rendering the murders “breaking a few eggs to make an omelette” at best or “cleansing the land of evil” at worst.

This classic RPG premise doesn’t correspond to reality. An enraged Yemeni for example even if he could hack and slash his way through American minions to reach the White House and slay Barack Obama who directly authorized the murder of his friend, subsequently killed members of his family, and is the lead spokesman for what the global community calls the “biggest threat to world peace” doesn’t accomplish much. Obama just gets replaced with someone who does the same thing, or even worse due to the justification of Obama’s murder.

Conan the Deathbarian is a fantasy even WITHIN a fantasy. The world isn’t good except for a evil leader – Iraq isn’t a wonderful place now that Saddam Hussein is gone, the United States didn’t improve after George Bush left office, the world didn’t improve after Osama bin Laden’s death. There’s no such thing as saving the world, one corpse at a time. It’s a machistic myth, one consumed by people across the world, as Egyptians are currently discovering in their post-Mubarak era.

Even Hitler, the modern archetype for the “single evil person attempting world domination” is a *product* of his situation, not a cause of it. Germany’s terrible economic status after World War I gave birth to Hitler, but the RPG hero never hacks and slashes his way through economic policy, just through flesh and bone.

As we might say to Jason Vorhees – “murder is not the answer”. Jason Vorhees kills vapid over-sexed teen-agers who immorally defile the pristine state of nature, but he finds out that they just keep coming. Murder is futile. Perhaps Mr. Vorhees could consider that teenagers are vapid and over-sexed out of a sense of impotence regarding their dying world. As the porn industry can tell us, sexual oblivion is a powerful tool to deal with approaching annihilation.

In Dark Souls the main purpose of the protagonist is to provide hope to the world by lighting the bonfires. This hope is defined as some greater reality beyond oneself, manifested in the game’s gods. The world of Dark Souls is filled with creatures who no longer want hope – hence the attacks upon the protagonist who wants to remind them of what they’ve lost. Degree of humanity within the game is defined by one’s attitude toward hope – humans are hopeful and monsters are both hopeless and satisfied in that condition. The subversive element within the game is the questioning of the very people playing the game – do we have hope?

So while Dark Souls is a classic RPG in many respects, very much within the saving the world, one corpse at a time model, it’s progressive, abandoning the myth of the “single evil world-dominating being” and feels much more human as a result, despite or perhaps *because* it’s filled with the undead.

Other modern RPGs have likewise abandoned the “single evil being” myth, like the Witcher series.

Curiously, these “progressive” RPGs depict fairly terrible worlds, as if to compensate for the lack of a single mega-evil person the evil needs to be spread out everywhere. This is called “realism” but it’s no more real than the brutality in Game of Thrones, a pornographic rather than realistic depiction of brutality.

Colonizing the mind and self-propaganda

June 26, 2014

Even though WW2 was a fight for control of the world, which the Americans primarily won and thus became the most powerful empire in human history, it can be reimagined as a fight against the evil Nazis – just like the war in Iraq, which is primarily about regional domination and control of key resources (especially oil) can be reimagined as a fight against irrational terrorists or for the pseudo-intellectuals a fight against an emergent global caliphate.

Nazis made WW2 colonizable to the fantasies and imaginations of Americans who long to believe themselves noble. This colonizing has been such a success that “evil Hitler” became “evil Saddam Hussein” when Americans needed to feel noble over their actions in Iraq and “evil Osama bin Laden” when Americans needed to feel noble over their actions in Afghanistan.

The successful result of marketing shapes the definition of future marketing. The purpose is to construct a version of history useful to the beneficiaries of war – this version is neither true nor false – truth and lies become judged for how useful they are within the propaganda model and accepted, rejected, or more often twisted, accordingly.

One of the most terrifying aspects of reality to me is that individual Americans do precisely the same thing. They establish a propaganda model *for themselves* and then each piece of reality or fiction that they experience is manipulated to benefit the model, which fuels their sense of well-being. When confronted they explain that there’s something called “subjectivity” which accounts for this – it’s therefore totally fine. Reality serves US, not the other way around. Anyone who believes otherwise is simply not a “good citizen”.

A brief examination of the 20th and 21st century within capitalism

June 16, 2014
Frequently on television as I was growing up there was a ticking time bomb, and a hero gained the glory of saving the day and the temporary relief of not dying by defusing it. What does this situation require? Not only a confident hero, but a masochistic one, to use the threat of annihilation to achieve success. His confidence is only generated by his terrible fear.
This is the psychological reality in the minds of people during the Cold War, where the ticking time bomb was averted day after day by the “heroes” who save us all by avoiding pushing the death button.
This theory, or philosophy, of “progress through threat of annihilation” is the basis for industrialization. The technology of the 20th century is often heralded as a success, as a justification for civilization and capitalism. It’s nearly never stated that the reason for the frantic technological development is to save the world, and that industrialization is the root cause of the need to save it.
That’s the core lure of industrialization, the seduction – at the very time it’s causing such utter fear, depression, and despair it’s offering solutions to those very problems. It’s both the disease and the cure in one. It’s annihilating the Native Americans and then “preserving” them. Who knows? Perhaps without their very annihilation they would have gone extinct without being brought under the domineering umbrella of capitalist civilization. So human beings are killed in order to maintain their life – capitalism is the necromancer who gives “undying life” to the very people he kills.
True believers say it will never stop. The Endless Summer so popular in the United States at the height of Cold War terror is the idea that industrial capitalism will always produce the cure to every life-threatening disease, through the magical powers of “innovation” and “entrepreneurial activity”. They point to technological progress as more sign of The Cure, which one day will provide the Final Cure which will render all future diseases moot.
The final stage of reality to true believers is when human beings can do literally anything they want, total license, with zero negative repercussions, because all cures are technologically built-in. Hugh Hefner’s dream vision of sexuality is a metaphor for how the true believers, such as Gene Roddenberry, view capitalism.
The purpose of capitalism is to transform the world into one which produces and maintains the final cure to itself.
Capitalism no longer believes in this “positive” vision of capitalism. Capitalism is no longer seeking to generate the Final Cure for all of humanity. Capitalism is now generating an “escape the earth” model where a few people may escape the earth, “repopulate the human race”, “make the desert of outer space bloom”, and the rest of the people will be “left behind” on earth to die.
This is the core reason for the death of the global middle class. The vision of the Final Cure involves bringing all of humanity into the heart of the system, at least as intimate to the system as patients are in a doctor’s office. But this new vision, that of Escaping the Earth – that involves the rejection of humanity by the escapists. In other words, the Zombification of humanity in order to justify it’s extermination by the “noble humans”.
This is why I often object to the use of “problem” by liberals and progressives when they speak of various capitalist antics. Like, the war in Afghanistan is a “problem”. How is people dying and being terrorized and as a result others being better positioned to escape the earth a problem, exactly? It’s certainly not a problem as far as the current capitalist vision is concerned. How is torturing people in Guantanamo Bay a “problem”? It’s part of the solution.
What I truly object to is not so much deep ignorance on the part of people who believe themselves good but their lack of any alternative vision to the terrible but at least extremely clear and logical capitalist vision. As a hungry man says “I’m eating terrible food, but it’s better than nothing”. It may well be a symptom of humanity that it prefers a terrible vision to no vision at all, and if this is correct then what is desperately needed today is a positive vision of a future. Unlike most “positive visions” offered, a worthwhile one needs to become real if it’s people make it real, so it needs to be founded in reality, just as Escape the Earth is despite it’s seemingly unlikely nature (the low probability of sustaining human life outside of earth).

A followup to “Zombification in the 21st century”

June 11, 2014

Noone believes what they actually believe, including the rulers. All of human communication and understanding is translated from reality into a socio-political construct which people both believe and communicate to others.

The leaders of the American fossil fuel companies believe that global warming either doesn’t exist or isn’t primarily caused by burning certain fuel sources. That’s what exists consciously inside their minds and is what they communicate to others. They actually believe that global warming does exist and is caused by burning fuel, but this belief is sub-conscious due to their belief that it’s better for them to believe otherwise.
This is the reason why there was a “shift” in white American attitudes from racist to anti-racist following the triumph of global over national capital in the 1960s. It’s not like a person was deeply racist one day and deeply anti-racist the next – his actual beliefs never changed. What changed was the balance of power within capitalism and therefore the dominant hegemonic attitude, with Americans merely shifting to the “winning attitude”. This is why American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are terribly racist toward the people they are dominating and stealing from, but those same soldiers can become anti-racist when they return to the United States and take on a life which doesn’t benefit from their direct racism. This is why there were lots of Nazis in Nazi Germany and not very many Nazis afterward. The same person, wearing the swastika one day and the dove the next (although in both cases the dollar sign is paramount but never worn).
One can detect the actual beliefs of humans from their actions, which underlie their conscious position. The Pentagon for example is preparing for the construction of zombies – but if you read what they say about the zombies they make up a lot of nonsense – like the creation of zombies by occult means and vegetarian zombies. So consciously the Pentagon believes it’s merely being cautious, and if pressed perhaps would say that popular culture influenced the way in which they framed their project. The reality, however, which underlies their actions, is that they themselves actually believe (regardless of their conscious belief) that the 21st century will be dire, and humans can be socio-politically transformed into zombies by the wealthy people of the world in order to justify their mass murder or deep enslavement.
How much more successful would the Nazi Holocaust have been if before sending those people to the gas chambers they had first transformed them into zombies. Then Americans would have cheered – exterminating the monsters to “save the world” for the rest of us, to allow us to “make the desert bloom”, to “repopulate the human race”.
Dehumanization is nothing new – the native Americans were “savages” to the European colonialists. When people with some political goal want to kill someone, dehumanization greases the wheels of the extermination. My point is that these European colonialists never actually believed that the native Americans were savages – their actual belief didn’t really matter. What mattered was getting the land from them – all of their “beliefs” were in service to that goal. This is why now, when the goal has been accomplished, native Americans can be viewed as “noble” and “unfairly treated in the past”. Slaves can be treated well, and pitied, while weak people with oil need to have the revenues from that oil taken from them, and then later they too can be treated well, and pitied.
The NEETs of Japan are a proto-zombie group. Given the right political framework in Japan, these people might become zombies to the “good people” of Japan, and if a persuasive argument was made perhaps these “good people” could convince others of the same.
Whenever someone is fascinated by something that doesn’t exist, that thing actually exists. This can be seen in science fiction, where one day people are fascinated by something that’s “not real”, and the next day it exists.
Zombies are “fictional” – that is to say they don’t exist, but our fascination with them implies that they do exist. So then the question becomes the precise nature of their existence.

The reason for the draconian neoliberal ideology

May 26, 2014

Many poor people don’t bother to vote, and those ones at least are clear-headed about what’s in their best interest. Poor people are easily exploited in any number of ways, which is frustrating but difficult to blame them for. A lot of middle-class people make the mistake of believing that because they have agency in their own lives, then poor people must have agency in their lives.

It’s relatively easy to understand modern political reality if we examine the expected future reality. By the end of the 21st century the world will only be able to support half a billion people (best case scenario, assuming the existing power structures continue). So something needs to kill 6.5 billion people between now and then. Some of that will happen “naturally”, from poor people being unable to migrate (ala the Congo or New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina) when either military or climate change devastation reaches them. But a lot of it will have to happen in some more direct way.
This is the fundamental reason for the draconian neoliberal ideology. The rulers understand that the only system they are capable of ruling is destroying the world, and that as the world dies it will support fewer and fewer people – therefore the logic is to devalue humanity because they are going to die soon anyway – and to build walls, gated communiities, and surveillance systems to maximize the security and well-being of the people who will be the last to die.
Running concurrently with this is technology as a religion – since technology has the very real possibility (not high possibility though) of allowing the rulers to live even longer, through medical science, genetic modification, and advances in colonization of other planets. It’s very difficult to see this extending the life of the species much beyond a few decades, at least if the ruling structures remain in place.
There’s a phrase to deeply consider the meaning of – “facts on the ground”. In principle this means that if the ruling structures remain in place long enough to make human catastrophe a certainty, then the ideology of the rulers will triumph – it’s difficult for ordinary people to stand against the rulers selecting which people will be left alive if the world simply can’t support additional people. In the Mad Max movies for example it’s “dog eat dog”, not because poor people had suddenly lost their morality but because the world had been made into a place where nothing more is functional.

Zombification in the 21st century

May 16, 2014

Over the coming decades environmental and military destruction combined with first world siege mentality will render parts of the world uninhabitable by today’s standards, with the unfortunate humans living (and more frequently, dying) there deemed sub-human by the “bubble dwellers” in protected and wealthy areas. Far from “fictional”, one name for these unfortunate humans outside “civilization” could very well be “zombie”. The Pentagon is preparing for the expected future reality.

We currently live in a largely globalized world, where even people who will shortly be starving to death are living in the same hegemonic system as you and I. At some point in this dying world this will no longer be the case, and the presentation of “zombies” in current culture is ideologically preparing people who hope to be wealthy in the future to dehumanize all humans outside “the system”. People inside the bubble are being trained to see themselves as “humanity’s last hope”, ala Zionists who “make the desert bloom”, while those outside the bubble are to be viewed as zombies for whom death is a blessing, with their protests registering as “gggarrrgggggh” to the keen, amazing, awesome, wealthy creatures holding the guns calling themselves “human”.

If things go well for what might be called the zombification of the world’s most mistreated people, the process for powerful institutions to call upon “bastions of humanity” to take up arms and “exterminate the zombies” will go down as easily as a fruit smoothie. In their minds they will afterwards be “repopulating the human race”, ala making the desert bloom. In reality they too, despite their many guns and much stolen wealth, will die. In the end the full terror of what they wrought will be upon them, so it could very well be a blessing that most humans will be dead by then.

By the end of the century the world will be capable of supporting half a billion people, notwithstanding possible political outcomes that could far reduce that number. So from now to then powerful people need to kill off billions of people, a massive project that they need a lot of help with. Turning poor humans into zombies in the minds of people terrorized into despising them could go a long way toward making such a project a success.

Remember the mottos: “Always shoot ’em in the head”, “Shoot first, ask questions never”, “Don’t get any of them on us”, and perhaps the most important one of all – “They aren’t human”.

And remember the emotion: fear. Always be afraid. Be terrorized, and only after you’ve blown enough of them away take a bit of a rest, until you blow more of them away. Be joyful for every one you kill, because you’re one step closer to “repopulating the human race”, making the desert bloom.

We’ll be saving the world, one corpse at a time, just like our video games teach us.

Virtual Reality in Declining Empires

May 11, 2014

The British Empire, in it’s day the greatest empire in world history, in it’s dying moment as the dominant world power gave rise to JRR Tolkien. Tolkien wrote about the militant (and non-militant) forces of good militarily (and non-militarily) defeating the forces of evil, at the precise moment when the British were no longer (in their eyes) going to be able to continue to do that.

In the United States Tolkien wasn’t popular until the Vietnam War, which began the decline of the American Empire, which followed the British as the dominant global power and eclipsed them, holding half of global wealth at it’s peak. The Society for Creative Anachronism, formed during the horrors of extensively applied chemical destruction in Vietnam, honored pre-industrial society (pointedly, the age before such chemicals could be mass produced) and Tolkien, with Dungeons and Dragons following shortly thereafter.

When Tolkien moved to the virtual, “fantasy” sphere he continued the British military tradition of cleansing the world of evil for the sake of the empire (again, how they saw it).

One can’t for the most part read a book over and over again. Dungeons and Dragons was a step up in technology from books, allowing players to experience the joys of cleansing evil many times over, initiated at the time when such cleansings were thought to no longer be possible in reality.

In neither society did people stop to question whether the cleansings are right to do in the first place. So of course when the cleansings stop being viable in reality they were merely moved to the virtual sphere, and this has continued to the present day with 80% of mainstream games featuring killing as the primary mode of gameplay, usually of either monsters or “the enemy” and often in effectively genocidal manner.

The Weather Channel, once again

March 10, 2014

He Was Trapped. ATE His Way Out.

He Jumped. Then THIS Happened

25 Places So Colorful You Won’t Believe They’re Real

10-Year-Old Dies From Rat Bite

Creepy, Abandoned Hotels and Resorts

2-Legged Dog’s Unlikely Best Friend

What They Found Under Alcatraz

The Ways a Black Hole Could Kill You

The good news, such as it is

March 7, 2014
The good news, such as it is, is that the increasing political and social chaos caused by climate degradation isn’t likely to be contained, no matter how many surveillance/murder drones are used, no matter how high the walls dividing nations and gated communities, no matter how many security guards and cameras. When people have nothing left they have nothing left to lose, and as more people have their lives decimated the political results will be far reaching and nothing any of us can currently predict.
The media, such as Hollywood, favors tales of zombies, infections, and contagions, the solution of which is some combination of genocide and quarantine. This is the precise solution being implemented against the Palestinians by the Israeli state, who between themselves often refer to Palestinians as sub-human, pointedly mirroring the treatment of Jews by the Nazis. “Repopulating the human race” following an apocalypse is a cleansing of the unwanted, unnecessary, excess humans – the redundant humans. The goal of the elite is to convince themselves and whoever else can be propagandized into listening that THEY are the humans who need to repopulate the human race and the rest of us are unnecessary at best, zombies in human skin at worst.
To make it easier to commit genocide, the unwanted humans could be labeled “zombies” if they huddle around and are miserable or “terrorists” if they fight back, much like Iraqis are scornfully labeled “towel-wearing hajis” prior to their torture and/or death and/or displacement.
One of the strategic roadmaps for the elite is to lock people out of the economic system, create chronic unemployment, foster desperation, then point to the “bad behavior” of decimated humans to justify arms sales, military intervention, imprisonment, torture, and murder. This is how the continent of Africa works, but there’s no reason that model can’t be exported to the rest of the world.
The American people are largely complicit with and are receptive to the messages of the elite. The further they are decimated, the less capacity they’ll have to be useful against the elite, but also the less they’ll have in common with them (so the more willing they will be to be useful).
Mars One is a project to create a permanent human settlement on Mars by 2023, and this is something serious although the precise results are not yet known. Also, biogenetics is making great strides to allow the elite to modify the DNA of their offspring, allowing them to become “more human” or “greater than human”, while the rest of us get to continue to have human frailties. This is just the tip of the iceberg of what biogenetics could result in. Also, nanotechnology and biomechanics are developing to allow humans to modify their bodies in cyborg fashion to become “greater than human”, available largely to the wealthy. The rest of us, while being human in fact, can be shut out of the economy and redefined by propaganda systems as “dangerous bums”, “terrorists”, or “zombies”, and regardless of the label we will be harshly oppressed.

The Weather Channel

January 24, 2014

Giant Asteroid Headed Our Way

Mystery Uncovered In Italian Alps

No Relief from Snow in Sight

Mom Gives Birth on Sled

Disabled Kitten Gets Helping Hand

WATCH: Lamb Gets Too Excited

Baby Offers Greet the World

Max Damage and Combo Fiend hope to escape the earth

December 15, 2013
“Open the gates!” wailed some guy outside. The staunch Zangiefy bars would hold out such scum with terrible ease, but Combo Fiend wished to address the principle of the matter. So several tiger uppercuts later, the computerized home ringed out “Fantastic Combo!” and the loser was sent away with salty tears and his last hope for the future of humanity gone forever.
Max Damage was overseeing a more serious task. The only way they would get off this god-forsaken planet was through technology, so furious was he in driving every ounce of improvement possible. It was a race against time and one in which a loss meant they would die alongside the certain deaths of everyone else.
Max Damage sighed and considered. He still produces weapons! Weapons are so 20th century. The purposes of technology now are surveillance, security, control, domestic comfort, and transportation. But weapons need to be there for the serious dissenters.
Oh, this hope. Since the rich and idle have worshiped the sun they have wished to escape the earth, and when they destroyed the earth they ensured that only their hope would save them. So they are the chosen ones and technology is their Samson and their Moses. Collusion for reals, and they hope to not drop the links as they juggle their combo straight up to heaven.

Why We Play

December 12, 2013

As Franz Kafka gazes upon the bleak gray desert of the real and J.R.R. Tolkien constructs his alternate reality, climate scientists inform us that humanity has a matter of decades left before mass destruction unless we can seize political control of the world away from concentrated capital and it’s banking and corporate affiliates. The goal of these latter forces is to hold onto political control long enough for technology to develop to allow them (not us, of course) to escape the earth, and preferably to then maximize the exploitation of their new homeland.

In this context of the real there exists a serious, if usually undeclared, debate between gamers of despair and gamers of hope. Gamers of despair view games as an escape from the desert of the real, as offering the last possibility of lush, green, nubile paradise prior to human extinction. Gamers of hope view games as the only form of art which can save the world, by enabling new human psychologies and interactions which are then “brought back” from virtual into traditional reality.

Opposition to games like Call of Duty is one salvo in this ongoing debate – military shooters offer the fantasy of power over life and death, of waves after waves of murder in order to achieve personal security (to maintain one’s own existence). The question of how one can morally murder thousands in order to preserve a single life is not addressed, in the same sense as it’s not addressed in Invasion U.S.A. or (preferably) not addressed within zionism. That 80% of mainstream games feature killing as a primary mode of gameplay tells us a lot about the ideological position of the game industry.

Gamers of hope can also be described as gamers of ignorance, as there’s nearly no understanding of how exactly games are going to save the world. Gamers of despair are fueled from this weakness.

As gamers of hope view games as having the potential to save the world, we are “addicted” to games, in the same sense that Superman is addicted to helping people. All humans are “addicted” to doing what’s right. Hope is a hell of a drug.

Democracy instead of heroism

November 17, 2013
I’m reminded of one of my mother’s sisters and her husband. When they visit my mother they eat unhealthy food. Then they feel guilty for eating the food (they eat healthy at home). So then they go on a walk to “burn off the calories” – in other words they cleanse the guilt by “burning it away” through the healthy activity of walking.
The problem is that reality doesn’t work like that. Calories can of course be “burned off” with exercise but the effects of saturated fat, sugar, sodium, etc. are permanent. They aren’t “burned off”. So this cleansing must necessarily go hand-in-hand with fundamental insanity, with reality kept at arms-length through denial.
So let’s translate this metaphor to the big issues of reality. The major problems of reality are high-capital (often corporate) domination of decision making, global warming, and the possibility of the rich and powerful permanently leaving earth so as not to have to face the consequences of their actions. All of these problems have one solution – democracy.
What do liberals do in the face of these problems? They recycle, vote a certain way, “live clean”. So they cleanse the guilt of benefiting materially from the global economic system (the core reason why they are unable to experience reality) by “doing what they can” aka “fighting the good fight”. But an unfortunate newsflash which is invisible to the blind and insane reads – blindness prevents victory.
It’s possible, not easy of course but possible to create a democratic world. For regular people to seize corporations away from a small ruling body beholden to investors and make them beholden to the people and places they impact. For regular people to end the system of high capitalism in favor of egalitarian capitalism, or whatever system the people decide upon.
Since there’s no victory using liberal techniques, the outcome liberals actually want is a dead and devastated world in which they delude themselves into believing they “fought the good fight” and therefore can smile during the death of the world. This is why liberals are narcissistic and utterly selfish – because despite the passion with which they pursue their own delusion reality always is knocking on the door to their souls.
There’s another trap, promoted by liberals, progressives, and other people who are well meaning which lionizes martyrs and heroes. So Martin Luther King, Jr. is awesome, Chelsea Manning is awesome, Edward Snowden is awesome. According to this thinking, the solution is for more people to become like them. For more people to do good things which results in them being hunted down, assassinated, or imprisoned.
The reason these people have to be heroes in the first place is that the system is world-destroying and corrupt. The solution is not for more individuals to become heroes, the solution is for individuals to band together into democratic political organizations who assert political power in accord with democratic principals.
The problem is, “banding together into democratic political organizations” isn’t sexy. There’s no front page headlines, no CNN waiting breathlessly for the next Snowden scoop, no Martin Luther King, Jr. national holidays waiting for people who are democratic. There’s no GLORY in democracy. There’s just truth, justice, and saving the world as a possible outcome of a lot of hard work, not the typical Wikileaks “wham, bam, thank you ma’am” orgasmic leak of documents.
Glory, martyrdom, and heroism is a trap which is just as destructive as the Rupert Murdochs of the world.

How Samsung became the new Sony, and South Korea became the new Japan

November 2, 2013

In the 1980s and 1990s Japan claimed a small amount of revenge for WWII atrocities by capturing the imaginations of Americans, by means of business executives mimicking “just-in-time” and other Japanese business practices and American youth turning to Japanese media, first video games and then anime. America was thought by Americans to be too big, too obnoxious, too arrogant, too abusive, with the remedy being the small, humble, and industrious Japanese (stereotypes of course but readily believed). With “I Think I’m Turning Japanese”, The Cure, and Mario being cute, determined, and industrious playing in the background, America would cure itself of it’s terrible arrogance and become one with the new world order, an alternative vision to the Neoconservative model of global domination.

The 1997 Asian financial crisis (aka the International Monetary Fund crisis) had a profound impact on the region and irrevocable hurt economic relations between Japan and the US, allowing South Korea to replace Japan as the region’s most dynamic economy. Sony’s decline began while Samsung became the new Sony.

There’s a problem here for Americans, one no amount of Starcraft and Starcraft 2 can quite solve. Americans cannot figure out their relationship to South Korea. While Japan was the humble cure for American arrogance, the sheer inhumanity of Flash’s cyborg twitch reflects a lack of meaning at the core of the South Korean project. This has resulted in a dramatically different relationship between Americans (and other Westerners) and the Asian country – from the warm and hopeful embrace of Nintendo and anime to a fearful attempt to catch up to the juggernaut of South Korean gaming, with frequent refrains of variations of “we bow before our South Korean overlords”.

As the glistening metal of South Korea’s high-tech cities climbs to the sky, we’re left wondering just where, beyond transhumanism, androids, and cybernetic sex dolls, the future they envision is going to lead us.

Escaping the Ghetto

October 2, 2013

It doesn’t matter how big the American government’s debt gets, since the world can’t afford it to default. An American default would decimate the global economy, and wouldn’t be tolerated by pretty much anyone – right-wing American politicians raise the issue as part of a long-term project of corporate domination of the economy.

The “current financial state of the US” has been gradually worsening since the 1970s, due to poor economic policy and terrible economic priorities, such as yearly $1 Trillion military expenditures while schools are being closed, roads are in disrepair, and the health care system (regardless of Obama’s law) is far worse than that of most other industrialized countries.

Remember the Greek government debt crisis a few years ago? Even though the Greek economy is a fraction of the American one, there was no way Europe was going to let Greece default, since it would harm Europe as a whole. The Eurozone and the International Monetary Fund used the threat of Greek default to take control of the Greek economy, so $67.5 Billion of Greek Government assets were corporatized, among other elements of domination. Go ahead and ask the Greek people how their lives have been since these “helpful changes” were implemented there. Then ask the multinational corporations how helpful these changes have truly been.

That’s the model that’s desired for the United States, among other debtor nations – sell off public assets to corporations, take what little control regular people have over their economy away from them and put it into the hands of international banks and multinational corporations. Disempowering people further means their wages and benefits are (further) reduced and powerful institutions further enriched and empowered.

The world is dying, ecologically, at least according to the understanding of those in power (which will come to pass if they have their way). There are no long-term consumers of capitalist products and services. This understanding has transformed the capitalist human into the capitalist dragon, from an investor into a hoarder, from a man into a beast.

In a dying world the entire earth eventually becomes a ghetto, and the ruling idea of the rich is to escape the ghetto. The first step is a siege mentality, where gated communities are built, walls to keep out the unworthy, while wealth and power are amassed and capabilities improved. By the time the ghetto expands to include even them, they’ll be gone, through a combination of nano-tech, computer-tech, and outer-space tech. In a dead world filled with zombies, these last bastions of humanity will take to outer space to “repopulate the human race”, neglecting to understand that unlike the “zombies”, these “human beings” were the precise creatures to have murdered an entire planet in the first place.

But they’ll be super-beautiful, 6-packed, breast-augmented, buffed with their own sense of self-worth, super-knowledgeable, super-intelligent, super-capable, all teched up and ready to go. They’ll be Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, so photogenic and Hollywood and super-awesome. So fuck history, fuck reality, they’ve transcended all of that. They are going to colonize the final frontier and no earth or zombies or human beings are going to stop them. They are the real human beings and there’s no one they’ve left alive to tell them they’re wrong.

Bodies in video games, part 2

September 7, 2013

The only genre, among the several in gaming, that features a variety of body types for the main character beyond “young, tight, supple”, is survival horror, and even then it’s usually a young adult or at most a young/middle aged fit character as the protagonist. Games which have a great deal of body customization *can* sometimes have skinny, obese, or old main characters, but at the logical expense of this having zero effect on anything in the game beyond the aesthetics of the main character. Fat and old characters aren’t slower, for example, and are responded to the same way by NPCs.

The responses so far in this thread (the two following the first) are rather ridiculous, since there’s as much or more to discuss with respect to the topic raised than the hundreds of responses to “boobs in games” threads, for example. The responses can be translated as “we’d rather not discuss the topic because it makes us uncomfortable”. At this point you should be asking yourself why the subject makes you uncomfortable. Consider this reply I’m making now as a possible additional response to the thread, of which countless potential others could occur if gamers can overcome their fear. We’ll see whether that happens.

The Nazis didn’t have to starve their prisoners prior to killing them – it would have been a lot cheaper to just kill them. The point of starving them was to turn them visually into “monsters”, to contrast them against the well-conditioned, well-fed Nazi soldiers, in order to provide psychic justification for the murders.

This is the precise same psychic justification that video games use with respect to the undead. Gamers see a skeleton – they think, “that’s not right, skeletons are supposed to be dead, not alive”, and then they proceed to make things right by making the skeleton dead and not alive. Just like Nazis looked at the skeletal prisoners in their concentration camps and thought “that’s not right, skeletons are supposed to be dead, not alive”, and then proceeded to make things right by making the skeletons dead and not alive.

Cleansing is fascist, and games which feature global cleansing in order to “save the world” can hardly be distinguished from the Nazi project of – global cleansing in order to save the world.

It seems to me to make no sense to have rightfully disempowered Nazism in the real world only to recreate it’s ideology in virtual form and then to encourage gamers to celebrate themselves for engaging in it.

This is especially dangerous because fascist cleansing is very much ongoing in the real world, as the unfortunate black ex-inhabitants of New Orleans discovered in it’s recent whitewashing, as Palestinians experience on a daily basis, as poor people across the US experience through active urban gentrification, as 400,000 hispanics a year deported from the US find out.

Between each other, some Zionists refer to Palestinians as monsters, and they would refer to them as monsters in the broader world if they could get away with it. These Zionists are saving Israel, aka “saving the world” from monsters by either killing them, rooting them out, or heavily exploiting them. Farming them for XP, in other words.

Since 80% of mainstream games feature killing as the primary form of gameplay, and this killing is based on the ideology of cleansing, and cleansing is fascist, this raises the question of what the value is of having gamers engaging in fascist ideology in virtual space on a regular basis, particularly when that engagement is deemed successful when the fascist project is successful – when the world is cleansed, for all the monsters to be killed.

Why doesn’t the gamer ever ask the question of where the “monsters” came from? What are these “monsters”? What is the significance of their anger? So many questions, but the game just gives the player a sword and tells him to start killing, that his killing is righteous, that he will get more powerful as he kills more “monsters”, that his power-gaining is awesome and he should embrace it, and that at the end of the slaughter when all the “monsters” are dead he will have won the game.

What game is being played here, exactly? Who is being killed? And who’s the murderer?

Bodies in video games

September 7, 2013

We talk quite a lot about breasts, their precise size, how they move and how much of them is shown by the developer. It’s a distraction from the much more important issue of how bodies in general are designed in video games.

People in real life typically look nothing like video game characters. There is a shininess, an artificial fluidity in all video game characters that does not reflect the solidity (even in a skeletal Kate Moss) of actual humans. This is also shown by the computer graphics effects in movies.

The larger issue is the ridiculousness of physique in video games. According to the World Health Organization, 33.9% of American adults are obese, while 8 other countries in the world have an even higher rate of obesity. Globally, 7.4% of people are obese, while 2.7 billion people in the world live on less than $2 a day in income and are thus (generally) too poor for obesity to be an option.

Even though video games are heavily inspired by the United States and Europe, obesity has not been much of an inspiration for game developers, if the typical tight, supple, well muscled bodies of especially game protagonists but also to a substantial extent other characters is any indication. It’s also very interesting that game protagonists have a considerably greater physique than other characters in the game, especially their victims, who are often depicted as scrawny or normal (ala the undead fodder such as skeletons and zombies or usually the hapless 3rd world soldiers in military shooters). This is a bit reminiscent of well-fed and conditioned Arian Nazi guards murdering ravaged starving Jews, gypsies, or disableds, who often looked like human skeletons, in other words “monsters”, prior to being cleansed by the Nazi protagonists, a small difference being that the Nazi guards were not sporting enough to give the human skeletons a weapon prior to cutting them down.

The other primary issue is age. The median age of humans in the real world is 26.4. The median age of humans in some of the most influential countries for game developers, lets say the United States, Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom, is 36.9, 44.6, 43.7, and 40.5, respectively.

What’s the median age of video game characters? I doubt anyone’s researched it, but my sense is maybe the mid to high 20s, with Japanese developers being noted for using very young characters in their games. In particular game protagonists are quite young – even playing a middle aged one such as in The Walking Dead or The Last of Us is strange for gamers. Playing an elderly one would cause most of us to fall out of our chairs in shock and the rest to congratulate themselves for not doing so.

Let’s look at this a bit deeper. Game engines, as John Carmack understands them, are like race cars – the whole point is to make them fast, sleek, and responsive, or “sexy” as he would put it. Fat isn’t sexy, old isn’t sexy. Young, well-conditioned, supple, tight, 6-packed, surgically crafted, etc. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to have an engine built on the philosophy of well-conditioned youth and then populate it with people who don’t fit the bill.

Something even more interesting emerges when we consider the history of video games. For much of gaming’s history, game graphics simply couldn’t render a “tight, young, supple” human physique. The game could still have one, as described in the manual and imagined by the player, but it couldn’t show it. And, strangely enough, THEREFORE IT DIDN’T HAPPEN.

I’m straining to think of a single game, even a single one, which had a Lara Croft, Dante, Bayonetta, or Kratos prior to them being able to be graphically rendered as such. Games with primitive graphics which could still render physique, such as the original arcade version of Gauntlet, did not present even the Warrior as anything like Kratos or Dante – really just a beefy lumberjacky guy – the kind of guy one would expect as a warrior.

Just as the not-so-wise John Carmack engaged the game industry in a race for the sexiest engine, game developers of today are in a race for the sexiest possible renderable game protagonist – so Bayonetta battles Lara Croft while Dante battles Kratos and bi-gender Shepard battles sanity.

And game reviewers and “critics” get up on their soapbox to once again talk about boobs, now in Dragon’s Crown. Boobs and how they are shown and isn’t that so fucking terrible. Some fools just can’t see the forest for the trees.

The dark belief of gamers

September 5, 2013

Our strategy of self-glorifying our good intentions through saving the world in video game after video game, cleansing the world of “monsters” to the vast benefit and gratification of the virtual civilized people, deluding ourselves into all-powerfulness by mowing down wave after wave of “bad guys” in shooters, and then returning to a real world made all the grayer and more decrepit by our absence may not be such a good one.

The dark belief underlying all of this is that imperial nations, led by Japan and the United States, are so corrupt that their people simply can no longer do good in the world, therefore they might as well turn to the virtual worlds. Of course gamers never address this, I’m typically shut down, ignored, or personally attacked whenever I broach the topic, although ironically I’m the good guy – I don’t share the dark belief of gamers and fully believe that even rich, fat, miserable people from imperial nations can do good in the world – in fact I’ve witnessed it many times.

But getting these rich, fat, miserable gamers to believe in themselves – that’s the difficulty.

It’s funny that we honor those who fight against monsters. But I’ve found in my life that I keep having to fight against humans, while monsters do not exist.

Old School Road Trip of the American West

August 31, 2013

In consideration of Warren Spector’s call for a Roger Ebert for video games

August 21, 2013

Look, there are a lot of issues here in play which stand against what Mr. Spector wants. One is that many gamers don’t want games as art, they want them as toys, drugs, or martial art. So how about asking the question of how many gamers want games as art at all, and then the follow up question of how many of those gamers want games primarily as art instead of primarily as one of the other functions. Gamers ultimately decide what games will be produced.

Another key issue – as we are all becoming painfully aware, the world is not in good shape. In fact, it’s dying. One outcome of this is that culture becomes un-important, which means art becomes un-important. It’s no accident that the popularization of knowledge of the upcoming apocalypse coincided with the rise of un-artistic mediums such as comic books and video games, part of the “fall of high culture” which really means knowledge of the end of the world.

Personally, I believe that as long as humans are alive and have time to spend beyond fulfilling basic needs that art should be produced, but that’s merely my personal belief and many other people, including many post-cultural gamers don’t share it.

I agree with you about the *possibility* of reviewers focusing on games as art in their reviews – I’m merely telling you why I don’t think that’s going to happen in a serious way.

One thing that could happen is reviewers starting a review with the basic intent of the game. What’s the game’s basic function? If the basic function is art then the reviewer could analyze the game in that context which would be a scenario that Warren favors.

What Warren really wants is a deep games journalism, not game reviewing. How many game reviewers are capable of deep artistic analysis of games? Some have mentioned Tom Chick and I agree, he could do so.

But because games are such a personal medium it really takes a fan of the game to do great analysis, and no game journalist or reviewer is a fan of all games. This is why fan sites for a game have always been the best place to go for great analysis of the game, not to “Roger Eberts”.

The quality of Roger Ebert’s reviews varies, partially depending on how deeply he understands the movie he watches, and it seems to me that games require an even greater level of understanding.

One more issue of yours to address – it’s difficult to know who is responsible for what in a game – fans of Deus Ex for example have to spend time interviewing Deus Ex developers to gain specific knowledge of what individuals did what within the game, and even then as developers know game development is a very collaborative and integrative process. Films have very defined artistic roles – director, cinematographer, writer, actor while games usually lack much of any clarity, often even within the development team itself.

And isn’t this a good thing? What’s wrong with a collaborative medium where a team produces a work of art, where it’s difficult to extract individual contribution? Video games are the first collaborative artistic medium in human history and now we have to cater to Mr. Spector’s personal whims which puts this collaboration in jeopardy?

Games are not films and in the final analysis might not even be much in the way of art. Why don’t we let games dance? Why don’t we let games find their own way? Films are a modern, cultural artform while games are a post-modern, post-cultural artform. Isn’t this ok?

Video games are unlike anything else. They have a beauty unlike anything else and a place in human history more intimate to we humans living today than any other artform. Often I worry that our actions as doting parents may well do more harm than good.

One more thing here – 80% of mainstream games feature killing as the primary mode of gameplay, and the reason gamers like to kill in games is spiritual cleansing – deriving from puritanical culture. This is why “monsters”, which can be defined as creatures which should be exterminated in order to preserve the purity of the master race, err the “civilized people”, play such a prominent role in gaming.

Perhaps this was more the influence of Harvey Smith, but one of the really exciting things about Deus Ex was that there were no monsters, and although some in the game were villainized noone was demonized. This changed the psychological underpinning of the game for the gamer, from cleansing to doing what’s right and building a better world.

I agree with you that not enough on this was said when the game came out – a few years later I talked a fair amount about the artistic aspects of Deus Ex and didn’t get any support from the discussion board called Quarter to Three at the time – I was made fun of for “taking the game too seriously”.

It’s this cleansing that gaming needs to get away from, since it’s psychologically identical to, let’s say, the ethnic/religious cleansing of the Palestinians by the Israeli state or of course the classic example of the cleansing of the disabled/gypsies/Jews by the Nazi state. In other words, cleansing, which 80% of mainstream games primarily feature, is fascist.

Also, as far as I know I’m the only person talking about video games as cleansing, and have been doing so for years. Most people write video game killing off as “fun” without any deeper analysis of why killing is so much fun, with any deeper analysis being written off as “too serious”.

Apocalypse and the neoliberal global economy

August 15, 2013
Prior to the understanding of the upcoming death of the world, the liberal idea of expanding the middle class in order for there to be more buyers for capitalist production worked, and was embraced by many capitalists. But once there was no longer a long-term future for the world, there’s no long-term buyers. So the logic shifted to hoarding, wealth accumulation and control, the siege mentality of the gated-community set amid the global surveillance high-tech security state.
It’s shameful that the apocalyptic social and psychological reality is not being dealt with by the intelligentsia, supporting my theory that the intelligentsia are the least intelligent people while “regular people” in the world actually know what’s going on.
Progressive commentators, far more influential than anyone who knows what’s going on, continue to talk about the neoliberal global economy as if it’s just a phase of capitalism, it’s just backlash against the New Deal, so it’s a “return to the pre-Great Depression” times. The word apocalypse never gets mentioned, except perhaps as a possible outcome of such terrible economic policy, not a CAUSE of it.
In progressive circles “apocalypse” is reserved for what happens if global warming is not dealt with, which is entirely correct as scientists understand.
This is nothing new, unfortunately. The Age of Anxiety began with the advent of nuclear weapons and the perpetual possibility of imminent human annihilation. But instead of talking about reality, humans who ideologically ally themselves with those who benefit in the global power arrangement from having nuclear weapons decide that their psychological troubles are entirely personal in nature and are a matter for soul-searching and lots of pharmaceuticals to deal with. Because they don’t address the real issues, those in power expand their power and create even more anxiety for people to neglect in favor of phantom ideas.
The dragon gets fatter and fatter and more and more brazen if noone wants to stop him. The dragon flays the skin from the human bones while the human is busy saying the dragon doesn’t exist. The human then looks down at the scarred remains of his body, blames himself, and proudly calls it taking personal responsibility.