This phrase, originally used by myself in 2000[?] on a gaming messageboard, is highly personal, combining two of my great loves – Gaming and America. Its been expounded upon on Qt3, but I’ll try to aggregate the basics here.
It draws a link between gaming, which usually is a matter of killing (often literally one at a time as in RPGs and FPSs) and American Imperialism, which boils down to the very same thing. The killing ends when the objectives are met.
The core of my argument is that there’s no difference… that gaming culture, to the extent it exists at all, is as wrong-headed as the politicians leading the country. When Big Rod exclaims happily after reaching Level 30 and saves the universe from extinction, his face can quite easily morph into Paul Wolfowitz’s, who would gladly save the universe from whatever non-Americanized regime it was running if only he had the technology.
RPGs feature monsters, but there never have been monsters in the world. HUMANS… regular humans, have been thought to be vampires, or werewolves, or witches… with a little more imagination I don’t see why umber hulks, harpies, or bugbears can’t also be included. With a little more *ignorance*.
So RPGs feature a “hero” who eliminates the “monsters” that are threatening the region, or the world. Notice that these are *predefined* states… the hero is a hero because the game tells you he’s a hero (or guides you to become a hero). The monsters are monsters because the game makes them that way. There is no underlying world-logic, no *non-manipulated reality* that the player comes to appreciate *on his own* through the game that leads him to that understanding. The game is crafted around the game fiction, the assumptions made about the world by the developers.
So… in a RPG you, a deluded psychopath, kill 3,000 humans and lets say 500 non-human animals, all the while thinking of them as monsters in order to assauge your own guilt over what you’re going to do to the survivors, not even having the sanitation awareness to give them a burial. Your faction, which may or may not be equally deluded (but probably isn’t – they have the good sense to stay out of the fighting), extolls you for killing their enemy for them. You meanwhile get rich from looting the corpses. The game ends when the goal of the faction is complete… when the conflict is over.
The reason this is Imperialism and not a one-man war is simple: In war you don’t think of the enemy as a monster. As such, the enemy is well-treated except on the battlefield. Imperialist mentality however entertains the thought of the enemy as inferior, monstrous in some way. As such, you don’t have to treat him well, and in fact the point of the entire exercise (besides the normal outcomes of war) is debasement of the enemy within your own reality. You don’t just fight the enemy – you DETEST him. There’s really *never* a point to treating him well, which is something of a necessity when you’re going to be ordering him around for the next century.
This is the fatal flaw of Imperialism… it results in logical, moral, and political decay. The more wars the Imperialist wins, the more people become detested, the more people have to be controlled. Ideals like freedom and democracy are not compatible with Imperialism on a large scale. Imperialism is a Dictatorship *externally*, regardless of its form of government domestically.
You cannot honor both Democracy and Imperialism.
According to my records this was the original piece that contained the phrase…
Saving the World One Corpse at a Time
This title sums up the majority of Role-playing computer games, and accounts for most First-Person shooters as well.
Meet monster. Generate corpse. Meet another monster. Generate corpse. Rinse and repeat.
Once the world is cleansed of monsters, you win the game.
What exactly is a “monster”, anyway? Usually this amounts to a non-human animal that poses a threat. Typically these are terrestrial creatures, although with the waning threat posed by them in traditional reality aliens have emerged as a created threat.
Often these monsters are variants of humans (Orcs, Ogres, Goblins, etc) or simply “evil” humans (Nazis, Enemies in War, etc).
Its funny how often the “role” being played is that of a Marauding Berserker.
To add some variety there are often “quest items” or in FPSs “powerups” you gain… invariably guarded by some monsters.
Experience is always gained by killing monsters… this experience serves to make it easier to kill monsters and according to convention to allow you to kill more challenging monsters. Experience is rarely gained in any other fashion, although there is a growing trend toward non-kill experience.