Gaming Like A Sir: If A True Gamer Could Talk To The Big Publishers For Like 5 Minutes
I don’t know how things are going to end. I wish I could tell you that everything worked out, and that we all got to drink cold beers together again. I wish I could tell you that, but we know each other better. And I owe you the truth. I can’t tell you what will happen in that room. Don’t think anybody can. What will go on between all the CEOs and that Gamer, well, that’s the stuff that’ll make you dream things you convinced yourself weren’t worth dreaming about anymore. And even though it may take time before we all feel the changes that man will bring, what I can tell you is that after that Gamer is done shouting at the CEOs, when the door closes behind him and those men are left to think. Well when they get done thinking, we’ll all be living in a very different, fairytale world.
You read it in Morgan Freeman voice. At least, you should have. Even though I apparently still do childish things, today starts like this:
I’m growing up. Not because I’m more mature, or more realistic about things, or have hair on me chest, or because teaspoons are actually too small for me, or because I play violent video games.
No, I’m growing up because I blame people.
I mean… that’s not really fair. I don’t blame everyone, or even most people. I blame people who wrong me but it’s never a lasting feeling. Most of the time it’s a mistake, or just stupid, or they meant well. Truly douchetastic people also don’t get much heat from me, they just aren’t worth losing your erection over.
I guess… if I have to narrow it down…
I blame publishers.
They may not be jewellery network hosts. But damn they come close.
The issue is accountability. There is none. At least not to us, the gamers. The accountability is to people who don’t give a tinker’s cuss about the actual quality of a game, or its artistic integrity, or even that a game can possesses artistic integrity. It makes me angry. And I can’t even blame anyone. Not really.
It’s not the publisher’s fault, at least not logically speaking. They’re businesses and they have responsibilities. It is their function to behave the way they do.
I think my anger is that justice is somehow being shirked. There is a wrongness and I cannot grok its source or purpose.
I know it sounds obvious, I’m unhappy that legal soundness and apparent unfairness exist together. I’m sad because big companies don’t care about internal artistic coherence or creative vision.
But this isn’t that. This isn’t logical or based on the evidence of truth. This is a personal thing, I actually blame publishers for my unhappiness. I’m talking about an emotional response I have that I didn’t have when I was younger. Something that I feel in my fibers. The place where you feel things, even though your mind, society and every other voice yells at you not to. I imagine its the place inside me where I would admit horrible secrets to myself. It is a place inside that is free from judgements. It’s like a zoo. My emotions and true opinions run wild and unchecked, just so I can observe them and try to understand them.
Academically and developmentally speaking, we start blaming as soon as we can point with one hand and string insults together. But it’s fleeting and shallow. It’s your fault but tomorrow or in an hour or in a couple minutes, we’ll be cool.
Normally that is a great thing. Forgiveness is the shit.
But childhood blame is not considered, or deep. Adult blame is stronger stuff. And it needs to be, because sometimes things are not okay. Sometimes, when you are surer of things and when your gut tells you something your brain agrees with, sometimes you have to say, “Who the hell is responsible for this? What kind of retarded abomination monster-ape of idiotic stupefaction would do this? Find them and sell them to the Numbers Gangs in Pollsmoor, and then use that money to hire hit-men for the accomplices.”
Never heard of Pollsmoor?
Firstly, hi. Welcome to South Africa.
The craziest part is that when you click the link and realise it really isn’t anything disgusting, you’ll be a little disappointed. You were hoping for something gross, you filthy gremlin.
Now before we continue, I know I’m generalising. I know publisher involvement is not the cause of every botched game or shoddy feature, nor is publisher involvement always indicative of imminent loss of quality, and truly there are many cases of publisher support being a valuable asset and maybe even a boon to struggling creators. I know stereotypes are not always right.
But damn they’ve been right a lot lately.
I have this habit that I somehow assumed everyone shares. Baseless though that assumption was, is and will always be, I still get surprised when I meet someone who doesn’t share it.
Whenever I see something idiotic, I dream about the exact moment when the idea for that particular piece of nincompoopery was given the go-ahead by presumably some relatively powerful men who probably take their jobs really seriously.
I imagine a room, filled with executives, and a single guy giving a presentation. He finishes his presentation and then there is a moment, a moment when all the higher-ups aren’t sure what they think, and all the lower higher-ups are waiting for the higher higher-ups to decide first so they don’t choose the wrong opinion.
I imagine this world, this petty squabbling of dickless men and it frightens me that they have so much power over things they truly know and care so little about.
I’m left slack-jawed in a moment of child-like terror. To wield so much power so unwittingly.
I don’t fear evil, I fear ignorance.
How is it possible that some things happen the way they do? Was there really no one standing up for reason?
It would take a speech. Only one man and the right speech to make the difference. I do believe that. I want to know why artistic integrity isn’t also important. I want to know why making the most at any cost is more important than making enough but with dignity.
I don’t know or care if I’m the right person to speak to the publishers, but it is enough of their nonsense, and I want to say something.
If I had five minutes with these guys. If I could just get them alone, in a safe space where I could just look into their eyes and say,
“Holy shit man! Look at yourself. Stop and just think about who you are and what you’re doing. Take a moment. Pause and take stock.
“You have so much power and control so much. Do you not aspire to anything more? More than financial success? Is it really the most important thing to you? Is your life so empty and so devoid of meaning that nothing is sacred? When you were a child, what did you dream of doing or creating? Didn’t you hate people like you? Or is this truly what you sought?
“Did you want nothing else from life? You choose any of life’s delicacies and it is prepared for you perfectly as often as you want. You choose where, when, and how you sleep. You wear the clothes you want, always. For god sake you have more than plenty in all things. What else do you want? Life is supposed to be happy. What gives you pleasure in life? When did being the biggest become more important than being the best?
“Change something dammit! The power is yours. The rest of us watch and dream of the magnificent things we could do with your power. We watch and dream and are overcome with the putrid dismay of men who see beautiful things sullied and rotted by greed. You can do so much and make so many changes. Care about more! Care about anything. But just care about more than only money!”
I’d calm down after that. Maybe apologise for shouting and getting a little crazy. But I’d hope my point was made. I’d hope that somewhere an idea had been planted in the minds of the men who control so many beautiful things. What stops us from choosing a dignified direction for the industry? Why can we not implement a set of quality standards? Why can we not treat customers like friends instead of meat-fences hoarding our money? Why stops us from choosing to value success more holistically? What stops us from trying to be happy?