Mad Mack: Four Reasons Why Gamers Aren’t Taken Seriously
The world thinks you are a cretin. There is no way around it. Games are for children, and if you still play them then you are a child, or a man-child, or in some way deficient. It does not matter how much money there is in games (let’s face it, there is lots of money in MTV, and no one would deny that ‘Teen Cribs’ is aimed at anyone other than utter cretins), or how edgy and ‘adult’ the content is. If you play games then according to everybody who doesn’t, you are as thick as shit and will probably try to have sex with the hole in the middle of every game disk you get. Why is that? What can we do about it? Read on good sir, and be enlightened.
Terrible Movie Adaptations
Here is a list. See if you can tell me what all these items have in common:
Prince of Persia
Super Mario Brothers
The less astute among you will say ‘they are all video games’, before going back to alternately finger painting with your own excrement and masturbating. However the rest of you will have read the title of this section and realise that they are all examples of games that got made into films. You know what else they have in common? The films were all terrible. You don’t even have to take my word for it – the highest scoring film based on a game on Rotten Tomatoes is Final Fantasy and that scores only 49%, followed by Prince of Persia with 36%.
The problem here is that the only insight most non-gamers get into our beloved medium’s most successful and high-profile franchises is the terrible movies based upon them. All these people may have heard about the various series at the pinnacle of gaming – the Tomb Raiders, Max Paynes and so on – but all they have to go on when forming their opinion is the live-action vomit spewed in their name. And that’s hardly going to make video games look respectable now, is it? I know people are entitled to their own taste, but video game-based films are not even good examples of whatever genre they are set in. Hitman is not a good thriller, Mortal Kombat is a terrible martial arts movie and Tomb Raider is a dog-shit awful swashbuckler.
Of course, if you still don’t believe me I have two words: Uwe Boll. This man is to film-making what anal leakage is to a fine wine, but the reason he still gets to make his terrible movies? Because he bases them on games and thus guarantees a certain minimum viewership. He once offered to make a Starcraft movie and Blizzard, fully aware of what they were dealing with, told him to fuck right off.
And this proves?
What’s the take-home here? The Gears of War movie is going to be shit (especially if the writing in the games is anything to go by) and it is probably a good thing that the Halo and Half-Life movies fell through, as all they could do is at least tarnish the whole franchise.
But the real take home here is that no one brings their ‘A’ game to a movie based off a computer game. Every single scriptwriter, actor, director, producer, stuntman, set designer, costume designer or sandwich guy that has been involved in a movie based on a game has given exactly the same number of fucks – 0.
Honestly though, I am not even sure what the problem is. Some of the best games are incredibly well written, have terrific plots and expertly crafted settings. Mass Effect is like the love child of Gene Roddenberry, Alastair Reynolds and Ian. M Banks, Prince of Persia had all the hallmarks of being the Arabian Indiana Jones and Doom had a grittiness akin all the best action horrors (ok there is only one good action horror but still, it’s pacing on a par). Oh, wait, I have just realised what the problem is – studio execs consider movies based on games to be marketable only to cretins, because they think that gamers are cretins, because they continue to support shit like Hitman (the film).
What do we do?
I am not even sure there is that much we can do. There are so many movies out there that are not based on games that are equally cretinous (Transformers), and maybe there is nothing that can be done until someone in Hollywood makes a top notch movie based on a top notch IP (Mass Effect?) and we all go see it. What we can do is stop going to see shit like Resident Evil. Because come on guys, we are embarrassing ourselves.
Hot Coffee – And Other Media Scandals
Now I know this was not all that long ago in real terms, but when it comes to games, memories are only as long as this console generation, so let me remind you.
Back in 2004/5 (platform dependent), a little known company called Rockstar North (you might have heard of them) released a game called Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, a follow up to their previous two titles: GTA 3 and the masterful, Goodfellas and Casino inspired GTA: Vice City (I don’t care what they have done since, Vice City was and always will be the best GTA game). San Andreas was more or less the same as the previous two games, only bigger and with more gubbins thrown in. One of the newer mechanics they threw in was a sort of dating sim where you could take women out on dates. On the release version of the game, the date ended when you dropped her off and she may or may not invite your character in for ‘coffee’. Fade to black and fast forward to the next morning as you walk out of her house, grinning like a motherfucker.
However, a scoundrel by the name of ‘PatrickW’ or ‘PWildenborg’ noticed on the PC version that there was some extra material on the disk. Something that had been disabled or never properly implemented in the final build (this was before Day 1 ‘DLC’ that is already on the disk). Curious, Patrick re-enabled the content, unlocking a now infamous interactive sex simulator that was so disgusting it made even the Japanese blush.
Patrick released a mod, the so-called ‘Hot Coffee Mod’, and the rest is history. The news networks got wind of it, politicians in the United States threw their hats into the ring (natch) and the game was pulled from a variety of shop chains because it had to be re-classified as ‘Adults Only 18+’ as opposed to ‘Mature 17+’ (those extra 12 months are necessary to truly appreciate the depravity of computer generated, blockey and polygonal sex) and many shop chains have policies against stocking 18+ games (Walmart for one). Rockstar had to release a patch to block the content, and owners of the ‘AO’ rated game could trade in theirs for a family friendly ‘M’ rated and get given $35! So now the whole family is safe to shoot gangsters, murder hookers, blow up buildings and kill police safe from the corruption of interactive computer sex…
And this proves?
You might scoff at the seeming overreaction to some onscreen boobage, especially given what Hollywood movies and some mainstream television gets away with nowadays. But even bearing in mind that this was before Spartacus: Blood on the Sand, and that titties were not generally found on mainstream TV, the whole affair was just embarrassing for everyone concerned.
This is where things fall down. Movies can get away with it because if a movie has titties and it is rated a 15 or 18 (or whatever equivalent rating your country has) then people will see it and say ‘yep, fine, keep it away from our kids’ and be done with it. But for games, the reason any sex is an issue is because people see computer games and think ‘for kids’ regardless of the actual rating on the box, and then freak the fuck out when there is so much as a blue arse or bra-texture stretched over a polygon.
What do we do?
While it is tempting to just say ‘fuck em’ and carry on, that is not really a constructive response. What we need to do is get on board with the classification of some games as an adult-orientated form of entertainment. GTA should never have been a Mature rated game anyway. It should have been Adult Only from the get-go. I am not going to debate the difference between a 17+ game and an 18+ game, as the distinction between someone who is 17 and someone who is 18 is fairly arbitrary in many contexts. But in a legal context, in many countries someone who is 18 is considered an adult, so as far as lines in the sand go, this is a pretty solid one.
Parents – stop buying your fucking children inappropriate games just because you can’t be bothered raising them yourself. Gamers, start embracing grown up society and educate people that games are adult and not for kids. If we do that, then maybe everyone would take us a bit more seriously.
Oh, and everyone can just start ignoring this guy. That in itself would be a good step.
Look at this:
Now, for fuck sake stop drooling and listen.
Yes. Her. Jessica Nigri is her name and, according to her website, she is a cosplayer, spokesmodel (whatever the fuck that is), interviewer, gamer and comic book enthusiast. She is also (and this is from her website) ‘just a girl trying to make some friends’. Her bio reads like the wet dream of every comic book reading, gaming nerd in existence and that in itself should be a warning to you – she appears too perfect.
Let me tell you guys something: when a model is taking self-shots with an iPhone, but dressing in expensive looking costumes and possesses the capacity to travel to whatever game conventions she appears at, she is probably not ‘just looking for friends’. In fact, all she is doing is dressing in ridiculous outfits that appeal to sad, lonely people who just happen to play video games, and going to one of the few places where she will simultaneously be accepted and drooled over.
‘Oh hey, she is a super hot chick who also likes games and cosplay. What’s wrong with that?’ I will tell you what is fucking wrong with it – she and others like her are effectively playing on the daydreams of losers, who think that maybe they might have a chance with her because they have so much in common.
I wish that she was alone, and thank god PAX East took a stand with their ‘no booths babes’ policy, but the fact is that ‘Booth Babes’ are now seen at most game conventions trying to generate interest in the big budget games.
Other forms of entertainment use sex to sell, but at least in the other mediums there are big-selling or big-budget examples that rely on things like plot, character and setting, not just sex. I get it that Blood on the Sand uses sex to sell, but the Wire didn’t. Lots of movies use sex to sell, but fuck all of the IMDB Top 100 movies did
And this proves:
No doubt many of you will assume that the only thing this proves is that I am some kind of ‘faggot’ who doesn’t like a hot young thing like Ms. Nigri, but allow me to assure you that I have a very healthy appreciation for the female form and that the only thing it proves is that marketers have a very low opinion of you. Why else use sex to sell every single game unless you want to appeal to a very specific target demographic – i.e. cretins and adolescent boys?
What do we do?
Don’t fall for it. Realise that you are better than this. Realise that her, and ‘booth babes’ in general are just holding the respectability of gamers back. Realise that the corporate executives are basically playing you like an arsehole shaped trombone.
I am not actually angry at Jessica (on the off chance she reads this, my email address is at the bottom of this article – I like moonlit walks on the beach, talking about feelings, giving foot rubs and am hung like a horse):
No, I am angry at YOU. YOU for creating the type of environment where booth babes are a thing. You for validating what the marketing departments think about you. They know that dressing up an attractive woman like that will generate loads of attention from the sad, lonely boys who like to talk big on the internet. I am angry at what you say about her. And about how that reflects your views of women in general and women in computer games: whether players, stars or producers. Seriously, just read the first few (now thankfully obscured) comments here.
If anything, Jessica is just being pretty smart with her assets to generate attention and therefore a revenue stream.
And for fuck sakes, cut this shit out:
You know what, if I want sexy chicks I will go to the FHM or Playboy sites. If I want more, I can access a whole cornucopia of varying levels of depravity from right where I am sitting. I am fully stocked in the sex department. What I want from my games is entirely different from what I want from hot women so for fuck sake keep them separate.
Here are a few pictures of famous film directors.
Now, here are a few pictures of famous or well-know personalities in the computer games industry.
Tell me. Can you spot the difference? Movies have respect as an art form and entertainment medium, and those at the very top of the game reflect that in their bearing and demeanour, appearing smart, civilised and mature. Games on the other hand are suspected of being behind the holocaust AND the disco revolution, and as a result are generally derided by many in the general public and mainstream media. And what do our developers do? They look like overgrown children, child molesters or fucking imbeciles. Brilliant. Way to go. You utter spod.
Really I don’t know what to say at this point. Between terrible films, ridiculous scandals, terrible attitudes towards women and the professionals looking like they have just been caught on their way to the fridge from their basement bedroom in their parent’s house, I guess we are all just going to have to accept the fact that we will be defending our hobby from accusations of immaturity until the day we die in a fart-lighting accident.
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