E3 happened, and like all years that E3 happens in, we should be reminded of what a horrible embarrassing hobby we have. I say this not out of any sense of personal shame, because fuck it, it’s my hobby and I will probably never fully stop doing it, but out of this desire that maybe, someday, it will get better.
Judging by this year’s E3, we have a LONG FUCKING WAY TO GO. So let’s dive in, shall we?
Sweet jimminy Christmas, did e3 get off to a hell of a start this year. This little gem showed up during the Microsoft press conference and, well, see for yourself:
Wow, someone heard the phrase “torture porn” and just thought that what was out there wasn’t quite porn-y enough, so they got together with some other dudes and made this game. Or maybe they noticed the videos on youtube of Lara Croft dieing? Either way, somebody saw some dollar signs, and we get this.
Now, Lara Croft has always been an embarrassingly over-sexualized woman, no doubt, but at the very least she was always portrayed as strong and capable in any situation, so that while she met stupid gamer expectations of female physical sexuality, she at least maybe challenged a little bit of the stupid gamer bias against strong women.
Would’ve helped if she’d been in some better games, but hey, what can you do?
But now, she is getting the famed “Other M treatment” or what may come in the future to be known as “the Anya“, in which a previously strong female game character is made weaker and more palatable to the gamers. Why is this? Oh, there are probably a shitload of reasons (fear of strong women being the obvious one) that plenty of people with far better understandings of feminism and fucked up male sexuality can explain, but let’s just note it and move on.
Yeah, apparently so did most of the companies showing things at E3 this year. Games that reward us for just existing seemed to be par for the course. Someone took it to a new level and decided turning actual real life things into silly games seemed like a good idea too. Gamification goes both ways, I guess.
On the first point, look at just about any game shown to see the achievement mentality taking over. EA’s press conference was itself wrought with this kind of bullshit it mind. And boy was it ugly.
As for the gaming of real-life activities, look no further than Disneyland.
Yes, now you (yes, you!) can use your hundreds of dollars to buy a video game system and the proper accessories to simulate for your kids the experience of going to a place that will cost you thousands to visit (and I am sure the game will completely satisfy any urge they might have to visit it). Let your kids give virtual air hugs to the virtual person dressed up as Snow White.
There are so many fucking layers here. Of course, the various people who have written on Disneyland as a Mecca of Hyperreality will probably have a fucking field day with this game.
And the show goes on…
I’m sure there will be more to come, and feel free to share links to things in the comments. I don’t have time to keep up with all the “news”.