Insular

I somehow missed that No Don’t Die’s interview with the wonderful Gus Mastrapa went up a few weeks back. It’s a good read but then, it’s an interview with Gus Mastrapa. It’d take an almighty struggle to be anything but.

However, in a piece where lots of little things stuck out to me, this bit hit home more than anything.

destiny

It’s the sort of thing I’ve found cropping up in my writing more and more these past few months too. A sort of hang on, most of this is bullshit thing. I haven’t woken up and suddenly thought “My gosh! We’re all so insular!” here or anything, I’ve always known that. It kinda feels more often than not that there’s little idea of where everything else ends and the bullshit begins in videogames.

Reading Stephen Totillo press the Call Of Duty developers over their game being brigaded by a relative handful of voteriggers, adding an undeserved importance to what is little more than a relative handful of people throwing a tantrum, that’s weird enough. Expecting developers to take it seriously, to take it as a matter of fact thing or as “a fan revolt”, is clearly ridiculous. We’re well into bullshit territory.

A whole heap of fuss and drama over Mighty Number 9 that sears across the internet, every last mis-step blown up out of all proportion. What looks to be something somewhere between entirely mediocre or quite good if flawed becomes a peek-a-boo gossip rag dream. Step away for a second and it’s just a videogame that didn’t turn out so well. There’s something interesting to be found in the how, the why and especially with it being funded in part by the general public but so much of this is videogame bullshit territory. Videogames turn out not so well all the time, calm down.

The Destiny example Gus uses is perfect. I log into the thing and play for a few hours a week. I enjoy it for what it is, a daft little FPS. Yet the internet chatter would have you believe it’s dying, it’s on its last legs, BUNGIE MUST DO A THING and whilst I don’t think this is a binary thing, maybe some folks have just played it a bit too much and that’s OK.

Maybe a lot of this is really just OK, y’know?

Not the brigading or the gossip that often slips all too easily into a weird barbed nastiness, that’s not OK. Just maybe some of the things in games that we keep building up into some sort of terrible thing are just merely OK things or when they’re not do OK they’re still not all that bad really.

We’ve always been weirdly insular but these past few years, it’s felt too often a little bit cult like, a little bit weird round here. Where I expected us to draw stark lines, we’ve instead let the louder voices speak for us. Maybe it’s the way social media, Reddit and the like amplifies the insular parts way more than the expansive parts.

Sometimes it feels like that to me, that as we look to Reddit and Twitter for opinions and news, places that do little to aid in stepping back and seeing a wider view of things, it does start to close in.

I’m as guilty of this as anyone. I’m the first to admit that sometimes the is this bullshit?-o-meter is a difficult thing to calibrate, especially when everyone’s going off around you and it’s the social media equivalent of bonfire night, every night. Just it’s one thing when it’s confined to twitter and Reddit and it’s another when it’s news, I guess.

To go back to No, Don’t Die for a second. The last piece they published, an interview with Paul Wolinski from the pretty great 65DaysOfStatic…

CONVERSATIONS

Maybe this should be the test before we write something about what’s going on in videogames. You have to say it out loud to someone not knee deep in videogames first. And if the first response isn’t WHAT? then maybe that’s OK.

And if it is? Maybe it needs a bit more thought before brain meets fingers. Time to take a few steps back and look at the wider view. Maybe then videogames can stop feeling so small.