What DO You People Find Fun? (Another response to The Verge)

Remember that article that was written on The Verge by those two ethically-lacking “journalists” about Matt Taylor and his shirt?  Well, one of them wrote an equally-lacking article.  While this one isn’t nearly as infuriating at the first, it does highlight something that I have always believed – that SJWs have no sense of fun.  Or if they do, it’s watching Downton Abbey and fast-forwarding the parts with the servants, because these people have so much more in common with the ruling class of snobs who sit on high and judge.  I am hoping to get a response from Chris Plante, because this is just sad.  The article (linked here) talked about Far Cry 4, and states why this game is just so awful.  Let’s talk about it.

First-person shooters are notorious for the paper-thin motivations of their heroes — typically, muscular bald men who will execute an entire continent if someone puts their country in danger or stuffs their female colleague in a fridge.

You all haven’t played Crysis 3 or Halo 4, have you.  In the former, you are a man whose is living inside a nano-suit.  Your body died, and the person you got to replace that body is also gone.  In other words, you are a suit of armor that is walking and killing a threat to humanity, with a rotting corpse inside of you.  This game doesn’t shy away from that, either.  In the latter, you are probably the greatest soldier who has ever lived, trying desperately to get home so that the only person you truly care about can live.  Both of them are bittersweet, as they acknowledge the cost of being a machine for killing and what war can truly do to a person.

Or maybe you’ve seen Bioshock, Bioshock 2 or Bioshock Infinite.  Or perhaps System Shock, System Shock 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution.  There is a rather long list, actually, of FPS games that have protagonists who aren’t just killing people because – reasons.  For someone who is such a gamer, I would think you would know that.  Or maybe you just choose to not see it, because of your social conditioning.

In the latest Far Cry, a franchise set in exotic locations where you kill exotic cultures, dozens of hours of thrill-killing are justified by a comically grim internal logic: you wish to spread your dead mother’s ashes, showing respect to her final wish. Which is to say, you kill hundreds to show respect for one.

So, while I said that there are plenty of FPS games that have protagonists who aren’t just killing for shits and giggles, there are also a lot like Call of Duty and, dare I say, Far Cry.  For real, have you played this franchise?  The whole idea behind it is taking a protagonist, putting them in exotic places.  Far Cry 3 made up for the, admittedly, paper-thin justification by a villain who is nine different kinds of crazy.  Same with this game.  In fact, both games are so similar that you’d swear that this was lazy writing.  And there’s an argument to be made about that.  Both of these villains are great.  They chew the scenery enough to make them fun to watch and then subsequently kill.  But your expectations of Kiingdom Hearts from the Far Cry franchise just baffles me.

And yet, there’s a chance Far Cry 4 will be the game I recommend as my Game of the Year because its world is so grand and beautifully crafted, and I want to spend days floating through its sky, gliding across its rivers, and, yes, shooting countless humans and animals. Which is just so fucked up whenever I spend more than five seconds thinking about it. And I can’t stop thinking about it.

Oh my god, were you having fun?!  Uh-oh.  Better not have fun from a game that you are morally against.  I’m sure that you’ll rationalize it all away, while still enjoying yourself.  You people are amazing like that.

As an American named Ajay Ghale, you return to your presumed birthplace of Kyrat, a fictional stand-in for the nations of the Himalayas. The country — composed mostly of rich forests and mountains, spotted with temples, villages, and shrines — has been pulverized by decades of political unrest. In the place of an ancient age of posterity there is now a power vacuum waiting to be filled by one of a half dozen or so morally questionable women and men.

What is wrong with that?  For real, I’ve heard FAR worse reasons for you to kill people.  A nation that has been in the middle of a civil war for years, in a Himalayan nation, sounds pretty neat.  I’m not seeing the problem here.

Far Cry 4’s warmest, most morally justified characters are still violent, selfish, and power-hungry, each of them drawn from the BioShock school of thought where all sides of an argument are equally bad, and there’s no real winning, just losing less. They’re shrewd parodies of philosophical ideals.

Oh, what political philosophy have you ever read?  Also, you’re thinking of Bioshock Infinite, but whatever.

Everyone in this world lives to be judged: a pseudo-pastor obsessed with guns, as if they’re divine objects; a philosophical guru who wants to heal the land, but not before showing you a bloody animal sacrifice; the would-be empowered female heroine determined to save her country with an industrialized drug trade. No one can be trusted, screams the game with the caffeinated nihilism of Nietzsche lecturing at the X-Games.

Those are all fascinating people.  I want to get to know them.  If the nation is in the midst of a civil war that has been going on for decades, do tell me why the idea of some faction leaders who are a little kooky is so bad.  It sounds like this is very much in the same vein as Fallout: New Vegas (though nowhere near as good, I’m sure.).  You choose your allegiances carefully and play of them.  That is enriching.  Please, do tell why this is so bad.

Ajay, our voice in the game, takes a patronizing tone when he speaks to these people who provide him the guns, ammo, and reason to kill hundreds of people in an incredibly confusing civil war. He doesn’t ask for questions or details, nor does he make the obvious point that none of this has to do with his very simple desire to respect his dead mom. Occasionally, he scoffs at their requests and wacky logic. These people are crazy, he’ll say in so many words. Then he’ll reload his rocket launcher and shoot a helicopter out of the sky.

So the main protagonist isn’t very complicated.  So what?  Yeah, there are FPS games that break the mold by having interesting protagonists.  But it’s true that most games don’t.  Most players don’t expect them to have deep protagonists, either.  These are run-and-gun games.  I still haven’t heard the problem.  Is it that this guy is just an immoral psychopath?  You really need to find a better way to make that argument.  You’re repeating yourself.

Since Spec Ops: The Line, we’ve seen more and more narratives that can be reduced to, “The only way to win is to not play.” From Grand Theft Auto V and The Last of Us to the Call of Duty franchise, you can assume one scene where the game forces you to do something particularly grim, tacitly implicating you as accessory in its bloody enterprise.

Wow.  What a way to miss the point.  If you’ve played The Last of Us, then you would know – it isn’t about being an accessory in “it’s bloody enterprise.”  It’s about being with two people on a journey where they figure out who they are.  In Spec Ops: The Line, the point was rather self-aware, poking fun at the fact that, in video games, you are an agent in a battle that you can’t change.  No matter what you do, you have to pull the trigger and kill tons of people.  Ironically, that games makes the argument that you are so feebly trying to far better than you.

But I want to play. I love first-person shooters, despite my disgust with their jingoistic themes, their general support of unfettered militarism, and the obvious fact that you spend most of their campaigns trying to shoot people in the face so you can conserve enough ammo and shoot more people in the face. I just can’t stop playing them, and so I’ve become increasingly fascinated with their bizarre, interior logic that seems to hypnotize me into a state of comfort.

It’s like you think that video games are real or something.  Or that you think that the people who play them think that they’re real.  We don’t.  Trust me, we don’t.  We don’t think that they are real.  Why are you talking about this like you think you do.  I don’t play Halo 4 and go, “wow, we need to do more killing in real life!  Where are some aliens for me to shoot!”  You are getting WAY too into this.  I thought my analysis could get pretentious.  You are something else!  You even acknowledge this, in a way, immediately following that.

Simply, I want to know what keeps me coming back.

Could it be because you’re having fun.  Harmless fun.  For real, nobody is actually dying.  Not a single person has been hurt by your digital warfare.  Just let yourself have fun.  It’s okay.  You can do that.  There are times where a game can just be a game.  Man, just take it easy.

Or, in the words of a great character…

Until next time, a quote,

“Why so serious?” -the Joker, The Dark Knight

Peace out,

Maverick

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