With the end of the year upon us, there is a tradition I wish to enact. While not a tradition done on new years, I have every intent on absconding with the tradition Krista and Eric brought into my world. These two were great friends would get everyone together at their place, build a giant bonfire, throw in some dried out Christmas trees, get pee in the closet drunk, and throw things that you want to leave behind you into the fire. You have never seen a bonfire until you have seen one fed with dried out pine, pictures, written notes, and mementos of past memories. The smell of roaring bon fire mingled with scorched locks of hair, melted pictures, and carbonized letters that we sent up in flames.
While I cannot light the internet on fire, because heaven knows it has survived billions of flame wars before me, I invite you to join in this year-end celebration by reading my list of things I look to leave as a carbon smudge in the past. With this being a gaming blog, and with me not having enough focus to cover every burr that sticks in my craw, I will focus on the top 5 items that I look to eradicate from my world with the passing of 2014.
1. Gamer Entitlement. Buying a game does not give you rights to say and do whatever you want in regards to the people or companies that organize or produce your game product. Sure, give feedback like an adult, but if your communication rotates around the idea that somehow you are owed or you demand a response…. Into the bonfire you go.
2. Gamer misogyny. I could just remove gamer and leave it at misogyny, but let’s tackle world issues in smaller chunks and blocks. Look, you play a game. Unless that game is literal dick measuring be a genetic male does not give you any advantage. If you think to yourself ‘well guys are bigger and stronger’ go pick a fight with Ronda Rousey and let me know how that works out for you.
3. Gamer shame. You game. You participate in gaming events where you combine acting and a game. There is no shame in that. If the cool folk don’t own up to gaming in their daily lives, the only people that will represent the community are the uncool folk. It’s a hobby like any other. Let’s not provide fuel for a new wave of satanic panic or let’s mock the nerds on youtube.
4. The words ‘implied’, ‘suggested’, and ‘theoretically’ in regards to game rules. As soon as rules are written down words can be manipulated to mean whatever you want. However, with half a moment of common sense, most people can read even the most horribly written rule and understand the gist of what is intended. The more people attempt to lawyer rules, the more the rules look like legal jargon. If the laws of the land van be debated and argued then how the hell are game mechanics going to survive the ambiguity of language.
5. Being afraid to insult peoples senses. This is the most personal one so hear me out on this. I’ve ran some seriously intense gaming scenarios that has earned me some infamy. A module based on the Stanford prison experiment, another based on the ‘I was following orders’ mentality of concentration camps, and another based on the limits people will go to as to avoid conflict in regards to a morally wrong situation (not helping when things are at their worst) to name a few. Steps were took to control bleed, to brief and debrief, and to full explain to people what they were getting into… and some folk came up with some pretty nasty names for me because I ran these events. With more international attention to what I was doing (the Verge, multiple newspapers) I started to play things more safe in the fear of giving gaming a name to the greater public.
Fuck that. What I do best is a bit dangerous. It is a bit out there. It is something that makes people question how they live their lives. Sure, I’ll still release games that are just fun and enjoyable, but I am not going to pull away from sensitive subjects and scenarios just because a handful of haters start thinking of new names for me to scare away the younger gamers.
2015 can be the year of ‘holy shit did you hear what Michael did?’ I’ll love it. I’ll eat that shit up with a spoon. I’ll be your boogeyman and your human trigger warning. I’m not only going to run my international network, but I am going to double its size. I’m going to continue to publish new game lines, and, I am going to run some more private events that are going to seriously push some god damned limits.
I came into this as a rock star, and somewhere along the way I became a pop star. I stopped pushing limits because I was listening to ‘them’ more and more. Well, Michael is out of rehab now and is itching for a bar fight.