Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 27, 2014

Email: A funny article, and my observations on the hardcore hate

4 Insane Ways Video Games Changed During My 9-Year Hiatus is by a guy who stopped gaming between 2005 and now, and what he observed since then.
Although some of the things in that article are in games from the at least the 5th generation, it is still important to see even the last generation or so is losing the values that worked for it, in the name of industry mentality, “showing off”, and “creativity”.
Also, you mentioned in a past article that whatever the hardcore hate, you love, and while I’m not asking you to love these things, you should know the stupid reasons the hardcore hate these things I’ve observed:
Michael Bay: He’s basically a technical director, who is weaker when it comes to directing that actors, or overall storytelling. Part of the blame for that also falls on Hollywood execs and producers, for thinking that’s all that matters when it comes to blockbusters; so they keep giving him those films, and have given him no incentive to improve.
Yet to the hardcore, he’s the cinematic Antichrist. So the Transformers films can’t be because of the studio slapping disparate elements together to check off as many demographic boxes as possible, or because of Bay’s aforementioned shortcomings (in addition to an immature sense of humor). It has to be because Michael Bay hates the franchise (there is plenty of behind the scenes material to show this is untrue), and wants to punish the fans by making the films this way.
I remember before Armageddon came out, that there was an article called “Is Michael Bay the Devil?”, which surprised me, as why the hell (no pun intended) would this sprout up about a guy who’s directed two films so far? Then the article mentioned his attitude, which was very unlike the Hollywood mentality (he even had the audacity to *gasp!* not have a pet indie film project*), and it became clear. He’s willing to play ball, but he’s not willing to be part of the self-congratulation machine (he didn’t even want Pearl Harbor to be an Oscar bait film, but a genuine war movie). That’s somehow worse than being an outspoken critic of Hollywood.
* This was before the articles that inspired Pain & Gain were written, and that still wasn’t an “indie” film.
American Comic Books before the crash of 1996: With the exception of stuff like Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns (both of which American superhero comics mainly just try to rehash over anything else), the hardcore hates comics that people actually read. Heck, when I bring up the shitty sales of comics today, they come up with loads of excuses for why comics in the past sold better, anything other than perhaps people just liked those comics (Captain America selling a million copies an issue during the depression? had to be the business model).
Their history of comics is distorted as well. As stupid as the events leading up the comics code were (the book that brought it up used the same bullshit now used to claim video games ruin kids), it did not ruin all other comics that weren’t superhero comics. It just ruined horror comics (the hardcore don’t like to acknowledge stuff like Disney comics or Archie comics… unless it’s the Sonic comics).
They also hate the “boy scout” superheroes, like Superman, Cyclops, and Jean Grey. They claim Superman is “too super”, while also claiming that Batman “can beat anyone, with enough preparation”, as though no other superhero could do that (and ignoring that by making it an exclusive ability to him, it also makes him too powerful). So they consider it a good thing that Jean Grey is out of the picture (my biggest sticking point for why I’m boycotting Marvel), that Cyclops is now a villain (which is actually a thinly veiled excuse to make Wolverine the “main” hero of the X-Men), and that Superman is now dating Wonder Woman (I’m not fucking kidding about that; it sounds like a bad fanfic idea, but so is how Cyclops and Jean were broken up, and how Spider-Man and Mary Jane were broken up).
That Xenoblade sells for so much at Gamestop: The hardcore concede the high prices for Super Mario All-Stars and Metroid Prime Trilogy sell for a lot due to the limited releases, but they insist that’s the only reason. They act like Gamestop is gouging for Xenoblade, and that they must be lying when they say it’s the fair market value.
What this really means is that a rom dump of a 16-bit compilation of remade NES games, three games made in an “un-creative” style for a series, and an RPG on a supposedly obsolete system, are worth more than so many other bloated games from the 7th generation.
The Disney Princesses: I’ve mentioned before that I’m a feminist by the simple definition of “women shouldn’t be treated as lesser”. And you know what? I don’t really see anything in the Disney Princess line that says “you are a woman; therefore you are lesser” (don’t see that in the Barbie toys either). Heck, when I see comments about the line by the actual target audience (including daughters of family friends, and my own niece), they think princesses are awesome, and that they can be princesses, therefore they can be awesome. That would actually make the Disney Princess line pro-feminist, right?
Of course not to the hardcore. They hate that it’s so popular (and they can’t even honestly say it’s from corporate market hackery, as the line started from a new exec simply observing girls at a Disney ice show trying to dress up as princesses, but had to use unofficial stuff; the guy smartly realized they were leaving a gold mine off the table). They hate that girls like it so much (they seem to think girls only like it because they are brainwashed). They hate all the pretty colors, as though pink always meant girly (no, it’s pretty recent; I think the end of Sleeping Beauty was even spoofing the arguments people had about whether blue or pink should be the color for girls).
They also complain that because the princesses look so attractive, they creative an unrealistic image for woman (well blaming bulimia and anorexia on this or Barbie is as unrealistic as blaming violence on video games; there are other causes for that, and they predate the line by centuries). They complain that it makes girls want to put on pretty clothes (yes, women were elegant and nicely dressed in the 1950s, but that’s NOT the same as the repression women had). They complain it teaches girls to just wait around for their princess to save them (which is slapping on the cultural baggage of the first few official princess films onto the line; such stuff is not really present in the line).
They also insist on the line being more politically correct. Something that has a pretty shoddy track record. Disney didn’t make a peep about Jasmine being their first ethnic princess (pretty sure she’s Arabic, because of the opening song), and they didn’t need to (Aladdin is still one of their popular films, and Jasmine is still one of their most popular princesses). Disney did try to be politically correct with Pocahontas, the film that’s considered the jump the shark moment for the “Disney Renaissance”. Disney also made a deal about Mulan being Chinese and an actual action hero, but the real reason the film went over better is that it has a decent story.
And the hardcore are complaining about Frozen, a film that I say is doing so well because it has a damn good story. But the hardcore complain that it’s yet more princesses that are white (it’s based on a Danish story), that a character of the Sami tribe looks white (guess what, real life Sami often look white), that the villain is weak (without giving anything away; I say the villain works very well as a mirror for Elsa), and that when Queen Elsa lets go of the repression she’s lived under, she gives herself a slinky dress and sashays in heels (was she supposed to act butch, or be even less pretty and sexual?).
You’d think these hardcore/feminists (who mainly seek to complain before seeking actual equality) would complain about things that actually treat women as lesser, such as how comics today went from treating women as sexy to “if we can’t make you slutty, we’ll throw you away”, but again no one reads those comics anymore, so they go for the targets that get them more attention.

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The cracked article you linked to is excellent, and I agree with it. I think I have an answer as to why the cute mascots disappeared. It isn’t just that the games have changed, so have the gamers. Gamers have become extremely effeminate lately. Remember that arcades used to be placed in bars where industrial workers would go to after work. Today, the ‘gamer’ is an androgynous nerd who lives in a digital fantasy world. When a guy goes effeminate, he embraces hyper-masculinity. The more gritty, ‘gangsta’, and macho the game, the more girly and effeminate is the gamer. While this doesn’t work in the opposite way, I have noticed that hyper-macho video games are like catnip to androgynous males. I mean the games that are so over-the-top into the absurd. I don’t look at video games as a way to prove my masculinity just as I don’t see video game achievements as similar to real life achievements. People who obsessed over video game achievements are people who lack achievements in real life.


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