Hey folks, it's been a while since I've been around here. Things have picked up at work, responsibilities increased, and I've also been taking a lot of time at home to work on exercise, expanding my hobbies, changing my diet and working on a personal project of mine that can hopefully lead to a more creative career. Thus far, it's been working in my favor. I've dropped about 20 pounds, have almost hit my first weight-loss milestone (less than 300 pounds), I've been exercising regularly without having to do the same thing every day (bowling, learning how to do yard work with my old man, and I don't care if no one does it anymore I still like roller blading), and this has all contributed to me being a generally happier person.
Unfortunately, I don't have as much time to play video games. I have Darksiders 2
sitting in my Xbox 360 as we speak, but it hasn't been played since some time last week (I think Sunday, actually). My 3DS is what gets the most attention, either with the new and phenomenal New Super Mario Bros. 2
or the still fun and delightful Theatrhythm
. All I need is a Metroid
game on the platform and I'll be set to ditch all my other gaming systems forever.
Which begins to bring me to my point. I still love video games, clearly. I still love discussing them passionately. I still love critiquing them and breaking them down into itty bitty bits. Hell, the first way I described Darksiders 2
is a game for people who love playing video games, as it has drawn so many good elements from excellent titles and franchises that there's so much to love (and I said as much about the first as well).
Yet I haven't done much reading
about video games lately. Again, part of this is due to having more to do at work (I just happen to have hit a light spot today). That doesn't completely explain my sudden disinterest in folks like MovieBob
or websites like Bad Ass Digest
, with a focus on film despite my sudden increase in interest in movies and comics. You'd think I'd be more willing to read such things, but not at all.
It's the hate machine. By that I mean the Internet. I don't know if it's because this is the era I grew up in, where I never read complex, well-thought analyses of entertainment until the Internet came along and I found I hungered for more than what was in the magazines. Yet it just seems to me that the capability to have yourself heard on the Internet has generated some overall bad attitudes, and they are all too prevalent in the geek community. Or maybe it's just a geek thing, as it still fits the traditional image of the comic book nerd as portrayed in The Simpsons
before the Internet became so huge.
Conceit and cynicism are the words of the day. Everywhere you look, someone is spelling gloom and doom for a soulless industry. How cruel it is that Call of Duty
be made every year when there is art to be funded! How dreadful that original, yet struggling, ideas get ignored while the dregs of creativity just swallow cash in large hungry gulps. It is an outrage! Further more, Hollywood has run out of original ideas!
Considering I had a great time watching The Avengers
, The Dark Knight Rises
and even The Amazing Spider-man
, I could care less. I truly mean it. Sure, it's easy to groan when you see that someone bought the rights to a Cabbage Patch Kids movie or something, or how Candyland
is trying to be this nonsensical Lord of the Rings
epic style tale in the vein of Tim Burton's Alice and Wonderland
, but there's plenty of these films we get excited about as well. I'd be a hypocrite to say I'm sick of Hollywood using all these licensed properties, yet I get more excited at a trailer for The Avengers
than anything else.
Plus, there's plenty of good, original, films to watch as well. Cabin in the Woods
was one of my favorite films this year, and Looper
looks to be a strong addition to the resume of the writer and director of Brick
came out of nowhere and proved that Seth McFarlane can
still write good jokes after all. This is nothing to say of films on my "must-see" list such as The Grey
, Red Tails
, The Raid
, Moonrise Kingdom
, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
, Wreck-It Ralph
and Django Unchained
. There's also room for me to be excited for another film based on a pre-existing franchise, Dredd
...oh, and I suppose The Hobbit
if you're still fascinated by Peter Jackson's take on Middle-Earth.
So in the end, there's actually a lot more films based on original ideas released or releasing this year that I want to see than ones based on pre-existing franchises or properties I care about. It's a tragedy that a lot of these films mostly go unknown or poorly marketed, but that's just life. Clearly there is no lack of imagination, though, and it just takes some effort.
Same goes with video games. There's an awful lot to love out there, and when you really consider how many crap movies are marketed heavily versus how many games that are heavily marketed are actually good, well, we're pretty damn lucky. Remember how once upon a time everyone was excited at the prospect of a new Call of Duty
? I do. I remember getting my brand new Xbox 360 and downloading a demo for Call of Duty 2
, and being blown away by just how much I still enjoyed World War II shooters. Back then I didn't get Call of Duty 3
, but not because of any hatred towards Activision. I just didn't see the need to play another one so soon.
Then Modern Warfare
happened, and it was (and remains) to be one of my favorite games.
Is it tragic that Activision works those teams to death? Yes, it most certainly is. Yet there are better things to do than complain. In fact, instead of discussing how much you hate Call of Duty
, spend some time gushing about how Spec Ops: The Line
tricks you into thinking it's the same sort of game you've played before, right down to imitating the box art, and ends by asking the player "do you feel like a hero yet?", with sarcasm and disdain dripping from its tongue.
Somewhere down the line, criticism became just another word for "tearing apart meticulously". I'm guilty of it myself, and confess that writing positive pieces tends to be more difficult than negative ones. But it seems all anyone can do is find flaws, and that's what makes you a critic. Was The Dark Knight Rises
a flawed film? Certainly, but the greater question is, does it have to make logical sense? People keep bringing up tiny details, right up to making jokes about a rope being all you need to fix a broken back. Why do people care? Does that really harm your enjoyment of a film? If that's the case, why are you watching a film if you refuse to allow yourself to be removed from reality?
A real critic recognizes the symbolism and metaphor a director is trying to get at with visuals, or how they use the camera and editing to evoke certain emotions from the viewer. Right off the top of my head I can think of a certain scene in Brick
involving a car. Pulling off a shot as effective as that takes a lot
more skill than it seems, and a real critic should be able to pin-point why it's so good, not just how certain things don't make logical sense.
It goes beyond that, though. For some reason I cannot get my panties in a twist over Star Wars and Cars toy mash-ups
. The writer of that article is so upset about it, viewing it as a new low even though I vividly recall Transformers
toys crossed with Star Wars
toys. In fact, I'm pretty sure the last time I was in the toy section of a Wal-Mart or Target I saw them.
Is it a big deal? Is it truly a problem?
I'm sick of the negativity, really. It had already started with this post
, where I was settling into playing games I just wanted to enjoy. You know what? I don't need a creative experience every time. I cannot articulate what makes Transformers: War for Cybertron
so fun, but I was playing through a second time before Darksiders 2
and Fall of Cybertron
released and had a great time.
Why so dramatic? Why such naysayers? Why all the hate?
Long ago I decided I have no interest in being part of the games industry in its current form. Over-work, bossy publishers, horrendous hours and lots of stress. Well, I'm beginning to think writing about video games wouldn't really be so keen either, as it turns everyone into a cynic. Plus, since these writers have an audience, there tends to be an ego problem. Hearing about MovieBob's or Devin's political affiliations and thoughts on their respective websites when I'm going there for movie information is tiresome. Yet I feel because these guys have a large enough audience they imagine they somehow have some great level of insight, and thus must bestow their opinions onto all who listen.
You're a fucker on the Internet, man. There's a million more like you. You're not special.
Even Jim Sterling has lost his flavor to me. I enjoy the Jimquisition, for the most part, and he has a way of writing that draws me more than any other DToid Staffer, but his whole gag on the inflated ego has even gotten tired (partly because, in many cases, it isn't too far off).
I just want people to have fun. This is probably one of the reasons I still enjoy reading Tycho's posts on Penny-Arcade
, or continue to read through Gamers With Jobs
. I mostly come to DToid for the news, but I visit those places because it is full of people that have a clear love of the medium. No matter how cynical the rest of the industry becomes, they continue to love it.
Which is precisely how I feel right now. I love video games. I love playing them. That's what I want to do. I have no interest in being a part of all this hate.view gallery