Voices: Video game obsession breeds contempt


Editorial by Alex Rosa-Figueroa
Video by Jereme Cobb

So. Video games.

But one year ago, on the occasion of my first editorial, I wrote on the darlings. More specifically, I wrote on the hype machine surrounding them, and my own experience with “Bioshock 2.” For those dear audience members who are short of memory — or simply were not here when my golden words descended unto the page with every keystroke — I didn’t like the game.

The sequel to the beloved game was disappointing in that special way, comparable only to something so devastating as stubbing one’s toe, dropping one’s ice cream or finding out the reason why “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” isn’t nearly as scandalous a song as childhood would have led you to believe.

What I’m saying is that the game was garbage; it was insufferable; it was the lowest iteration of the highest form of betrayal, and it would be years before I could fully recover the parts of my soul that unforgivable blight on electronic entertainment rotted away; and as I sit at this computer desk, a snarl of contempt growing on my ravished (and ravishing) countenance, I can say only this about that corporate-mandated trollop of a game:

It wasn’t that bad, all things considered.

In my first two editorials of the semester, I spent a collective six pages talking about how you, my lovelies, should chin up and realize that life wasn’t so bad, and avoid the pitfalls of cynicism. In this installment of the frightening and discursive journey into my ethos, let us dive deep into the psyche of someone who would rant for two-and-a-little-on-the-third pages about how bad a video game is.

That’s right, my friends. We’re going to the Internet.

Of course, I’m not being fair. The World Wide Web, or “The WWW” as no one likes to call it, is a wonderful, wonderful thing. If I had to use one word to describe it, I would choose “radical.” What is less radical are the screeching, whining masses; the crowds of those who fly under the flag of “fandom,” but in actuality should be waving the flag of “childishness.”

Okay, caveat time: I am not saying that being a nerd or being a part of a fandom makes you childish — if I did I’d have some serious self-depreciation issues going on, which would be silly since I’m pretty much the most amazing guy I know. Being enthusiastic about a work of media is no more harming than being enthusiastic about, say, learning or working.

What I am saying, however, is that being enthusiastic about something to the point of obsession is a dangerous thing.

I don’t mean obsessive in the sense of extreme passion — one need not look further than the row of “My Little Pony” figurines standing at attention on my computer as proof of that. No, when I speak of the dangers of obsession, I’m talking about the kind of possessive indignity towards things to the point one feels entitled to a product as they want it rather than how it ends up; the kind of possessive entitlement that leads groups of people to raise $85,000 for charity just to tell a game company they didn’t like the ending of a story.

Now, okay, that example isn’t the best — I mean, they raised money for charity, right? Charity is one of the few things in life that are an absolute good. But what about when a group of unruly folks get passive aggressive in other ways?

This past March, a little website known as The Consumerist held a vote-based competition to determine the absolute worst company in America. In the running were heavy hitters like Wal*Mart and the Bank of America. This year’s winner was, for the second year in a row, game-publisher Electronic Arts. So, in a world where companies are oft given more leeway than human beings, human rights crimes run rampant and the term “human trafficking” isn’t just a bad joke about driving at 5 p.m., what was it that damned EA to the very pits of Corporate Hell?

Releasing a number of bad video games.

Friends, I’m a nerd, and I love my nerdy things as much as I love my brightly colored magic ponies But as with everything, let’s keep things in perspective: a bad video game is not the end of the world, and your passions should not let you lose focus of the big picture.

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