One of the most excruciating moments in the life of any gamer is handing the controller to a friend, your face swollen with the joy of pure playfulness, and having your entire life ruined as your buddy clamps down on the controls, scowls, and starts spewing obscenities. If you’re anything like me, you’ve rebuked more than one person to just relax, have fun, it’s really not that hard, you’ll get it … only to have your heart broken as they try to use their entire body (instead of a button) to jump a cliff, turn a spaceship, or fire a gun.
Those moments make me feel lonely. I am no wiz, you understand. But seeing someone lather themselves into a lockjawed froth because they can’t push a button at the right time…it makes me sad for them, sure, but mostly sad for me. Lonely me, offering the controller, and being waved away: “No no, I’m terrible, I’ll just watch.” More comfortable in being terrible at something, than in learning a new way to have fun.
Jhonen Vasquez has never been one of these people.
Kids, being the blessed ignoramuses that they are, get easily excited and intrigued – It’s how they learn. But adults…they’re a different, sadder story altogether. I’d put the controller in their hands, finishing it off by nailing it through their flesh, and suddenly there was a look of concern, a feeling of HAVING to do something and do it perfectly at the start. Just try asking a broken noob to play Guitar Hero and listen as they make excuses about how they’ll probably suck and how they don’t want to embarrass themselves.
In his review of Flower for the PS3, a zen-like game in which you waft a cloud of flower petals over a lush meadow, he follows a thoughtful examination of the game itself, with a lament for the frozen state of the adult mind.