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Guest Journal: "Smash Hit"

Today I'm ceding the floor to a friend of mine, Zephon T'sol. A recent meme set him thinking and I think that the place where his thoughts went merits some discussion.

Dear Internet Gaming Culture,

I'd like to take a moment and talk to all of you right now. All of you. To head off something so profoundly moronic and distressing about a game that hasn't even come out yet and you're already attempting to subvert it into a much more menacing game than it is.

Exhibit A: http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130611213454/a...

Exhibit A is the character Villager, from the Animal Crossing series, as he is set to appear in the upcoming Super Smash Bros games for the Wii-U and 3DS (hereafter referred more simply as Smash Bros Rumble or just Rumble since that is far easier and quicker to type out).

Villager is currently being labeled as this: http://i.imgur.com/piSrazk.jpg

A homicidal maniac.

*sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose*

Guys, we don't need to start this shit before the game even comes out.

It was bad enough that you perverted things the way you did with Brawl and the myriad memes you came up with on that one. It was tolerable because you'd seen the game and had played it, as had I. I grew just as tired of the stupid FALCAWN PAUWNCH thing as everyone else did and yet it persisted. Yet at no time in that game were any of the characters ever made out to be homicidal. It's a silly fighting game where famous characters from other franchises come in and spar with each other for no points aside from the fun of it.

Villager is from a benign game. In that game, he displays absolutely NO characteristics or tendencies towards homicide or revenge or anything maniacal. He digs holes. GUESS THAT MAKES HIM A MURDERER NYURHURRR. He chops down trees. GOTTA KEEP THAT KILLIN' ARM SHARP, NYURRRHRRRR. He gets taken advantage of by a slimy real estate agent and bamboozled into buying increasingly more expensive money pit houses to fix. UH OH NOOKS GOT IT COMING NYURRRRRRRRRRRHUURRRR!!!

This is a homicidal maniac: http://wallpapersus.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Kra...

This is a homicidal maniac: http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3448/3974667877_c31be2fb...

THIS is, in the definition of the term, a homicidal maniac: http://whatsyourtagblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/sa...

Lost you with that last one, did I? Let's take a peek at Samus' history in games. She repeatedly goes to random planets, destroys local wildlife, flora, and fauna, ransacks archives and troves of historical artifacts, and has a serious vendetta against a species of Space Pirates (and their commander) that usually results in her crusading through whichever game she plays, destroying each and every one of them that comes across her path. She's a bit crazy and she murders for a living. Homicidal Maniac.

So what has Villager done to deserve this?

Nothing, really. He's just the easiest target currently (never mind the somewhat creepy faceless WiiFit Trainer or the KNOWN murderer of at least eight sentient robots a game that tends to wear a lot of light blue).


Never mind that Solid Snake was in the last game and he has LOADS of kills on his record, even so far as to bring in a good chunk of his real-world comparable arsenal into Brawl.

Never mind Ganon or Bowser or Wolf or Wario.

Nope, the kid with the smile is going to straight-up cut you because.


Never mind the final smashes of characters such as Luigi (enforcing basically an LSD-inspired acid trip on the other combatants), Ness/Lucas (dropping a massive meteor shower on the field), Bowser (Giga-Bowser, a.k.a. Poor Man's Gojira), Meta Knight (smothering with his cape of darkness before delivering a brutal slash), or everyone's favorite, Captain Falcon (quite literally trapping opponents on a race track before running them over with his very-heavy-and-thus-more-inertially-magnified race car).


Never mind that the overarching theme of Smash Bros has been the sportsman-like get-together of some of the icons of Nintendo's catalog of games to duke it out for bragging rights and for player enjoyment. Brawl certainly delivers on this these days, Melee and the original Smash did too. Rumble is shaping up to be a well-received successor to the franchise.

So why chose to characterize/vilify one of the more innocent and benign characters?

Is it because he's the easiest target, like I said? If so, man...that's pretty messed up. I mean, I'd probably not be too far off the mark if I said that some of the people who say these things are people who were bullied a lot, and yet are acting like the very cruel and slanderous people who made their lives miserable. Can't win in real life, so you reduce an imaginary character down to a false ideal so you can feel superior in your intellect and attitude.

Congratulations, guys. You win. Here's your reward.



No reward. No good job on making a horrible joke turn into a meme. No "way to go, champ!" for demeaning a game before it even comes out. No "yer such a comedian" for picking on the easiest target.

It's childish. It's churlish. It's demeaning to the game, to the gamer culture, and to you. It makes YOU look like less of an individual and more of a mob member willing to demolish anyone the mob sees fit because lawls are worth it.


Is it?

Are you so sure?

Are you so sure it's not hurting you?

Not only is it hurting you to engage in this kind of activity, it's also dangerous to. You begin to make it a norm, make the act of disassociating actual personalities with ones you make up. You look at others differently than they really are. You begin to find pleasure in suffering. You actively try to inflict that suffering to get the pleasure.

And what better way than to inflict it upon something that cannot speak for itself or even fight back at all?

You. Are a coward.

Those of you who do stupid malarkey like this are all cowards. Because you'd never dare stand up against someone who could ACTUALLY fight back. You'd wilt like a precious little flower. Your little anti-social sociopathic views would crumble before the might of the real world and the unstoppable relentlessness of cruelty that real life actually is.

This would be you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8A85cl5w3s

Yes. It would.


Dude, you should just grow the fuck up and stop being a goddamned pisspoor human being. It's because of people like you, the ones who wave it away and say "ooooh, it's not THAT bad" that allow it to continue and fester out of control until it becomes a major problem. And then you look for people to blame when the real one is the person staring out of the mirror at you.

I'd rather NOT wait until society has degenerated into a disgusting pile of lulz and derp and Rickrolls. I'd rather try my damnedest to discourage fuckheads from being this way. To explain to them that this kind of behavior will only result in their eventual fall from power (such as it is) and it will only ever bring misery.

I'd rather try to tell them that I know this from personal experience. And that it's something that I'd never wish on anyone. Ever.


You'd be surprised at just how slippery it really is. How easy it is to make a poor habit a permanent habit. How really easy it is to magnify that habit. To enlarge it. And how easy...so very very easy it is to convince yourself that you're not doing it yourself. That you couldn't possibly be an ascribing member of a subculture filled with people who wouldn't hold down a job more substantial than Taco Bell because of their attitude and shit-for-brains work ethic.


Intended in fun?

<shrugs> The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I fight against this, rebel against the standard because I legitimately feel dispirited by the way we act. The way we belittle ourselves and demean ourselves for cheap laughs and thrills. And how we fight so hard against others judging us when they have damned good reason AND EVIDENCE to do so.

I fight hard because I give a goddamn about my race. I want us to be better than this. I want us to succeed and strive for something higher than this. I want our lives to have meaning here since we don't understand what happens when they end yet.


One little act is sometimes all it takes.

One assassination started a World War.
One big bomb and its brother ended another.
One miscommunication led to a terrifying missile crisis.
One long phone-call and the willingness to listen and be a friend is all it took to save someone's life.

So. Is your one act today going to be making another cheap laugh poster about how a character from a non-violent game is secretly an ax-murderer so you can get laughs and hugs and approval from people you will quite literally NEVER MEET?

Or will you try to be a better human?

It's your choice. I can't stop you. I'd like to, but I can't. All I can do is hope.

Viewed: 93 times
Added: 5 years, 10 months ago
5 years, 10 months ago
But... you can't make that joke with characters who are on the record as being killers. You have to use otherwise innocuous characters, or it isn't funny.
5 years, 10 months ago
You have a point. But I also think that's really the least important part of what Zephon's saying. This Villager thing is just the trigger that enabled him to delve into what it is he's really angry about. Which is how much memes have taken over what comedy is. I think they're funny sometimes, sure. But I'd compare them to fast food. I want at least a minimum of effort in order to enjoy a meal. Or in this case, a laugh.

I've seen Zephon write like this many times. A small event will ignite his anger, and in taking it apart he's able to get to his deeper point. I think he makes it even clearer in the comment he left below.
5 years, 10 months ago
As a postscript, one of the big points here is that there IS a difference between good comedy and lazy comedy. Good comedy takes effort and sometimes goes by unnoticed. Lazy comedy gets you a website and tons of fans screaming for the same kind of lackluster effort.

Good comedy = George Carlin, Jasper Fforde, Looney Tunes, Retsupurae (and their close associates)
Lazy comedy = Kevin James, Larry The Cable Guy, American Dad, PewDiePie/Tobuscus
5 years, 10 months ago
I think that... rather than lazy, perhaps the larger (and therefore more important) aspect is that it is the common man's comedy. Memes aren't fall-down funny. They're like the potato chips of comedy- individually rather unimpressive, but altogether they form a general experience that you can rate as more positive than not. They rely on formula pretty cripplingly, so much so that if you wander outside of it, they assume you're just new. So I guess in a way, kind of like fanfiction, they can be incredibly sharp and rewarding if somebody expends the effort, but by volume, they tend to be the venue of the unskilled.
5 years, 10 months ago
I wish that's what you'd have written about, then, because then I'd agree with you. What you did write, though? It's a series of baseless assertions taking scare tactics right out of the greatest of American news channels' books. Usually I agree with a lot of what you say, but in this case, I found myself wondering what was going on underneath. Very little of this is logical. Very little of this is sensical. That tells me that you wrote this purely from an emotional standpoint and that you have something else bothering you that you can't quite put your finger on, so you just wrote something that vaguely explains what you're feeling by proxy. Maybe I'm wrong; I dunno. That's just what I'm getting from this, because it barely even qualifies as an argument.

You're not entirely wrong, by the way. Don't take this response as a condemnation of everything you've said. The Internet gaming culture really does generate (or is it generated by?) a large number of dissociated, out-of-touch man-children. These memes, while sometimes good for a chuckle, are generally unfunny and cheap. This particular meme, and similar ones like Cupcakes, do reflect and perpetuate an unnecessarily cynical culture where nothing can be pure anymore. I'll give you all that.

But as is often said in the religion debate, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Prove to me, with evidence, that this sort of thing necessarily leads to something of WW1 or Cuban Missile Crisis proportions. As a matter of fact, I don't even really know -what- you're saying is going to happen. People are going to be like the kid who got sent to prison? There's a reason that kid made a documentary: He's not the norm. He's completely out of his element. He's also got mental issues, and to claim that the Internet culture -caused- them, again, requires evidence. I think it's far more likely that that culture exacerbated his already-latent issues. But hey. I don't have evidence either, other than my own personal experience working with troubled kids, so my word's not going to hold up in a court of law either. But I'm not the one making the claim that this is -necessarily- the case. You are, or are at least you are heavily implying it.

Point is: Those things you put in all caps? You know, to ridicule the opposition? They're not entirely wrong.
5 years, 10 months ago
I must have missed this discussion entirely. This is the first time I heard of it ^^
5 years, 10 months ago
I think I get where you're coming from.  Its not to say that its not funny, but It would be better to see a joke that is more fleshed out.  You can't just give a punch line without first giving a good set up and expect it to last in the mind of the audience.  That's what memes tend to be.  Punchlines without set up.  Worth a giggle, if that, but not much else.

See enough of them, and I can understand that the frustration.  
5 years, 10 months ago
the setup is the reveal trailer.
5 years, 10 months ago
Vilager and Wii Fit Trainer are most likely only in the Wii U version, but there will be replacements for them on the 3DS version.

Furthermore: it's satire! It's making fun of the character's inability to properly react to things that happen around him... which is done on purpose in the first place. Do you know how many people make fun of EVERY character on the roster? Samus' running joke is that almost every place she visits blows up. Pokémon... where do I even start, you can find dozents of satires just by google search. Luigi is always said to plot revenge agains mario XD. Kirby is considered to be a horrible homicidal maniac.

If I had to guess, I
5 years, 10 months ago
This is all new to me, and I'm not sure what to say about it, really. I mean I like semi-extreme comedians like Ricky Gervais, Louie CK and others who get away with talking about just about anything (including the holocaust). Perhaps this is just a 'frame of mind' thing, where if you're in the right frame of mind then it's harmless fun, but if you're not then it seems serious and a real problem. That's my guess anyways, and frankly there are more important things to worry about than how 4channers (or 4chanwannabes) behave. Lets talk about what's going on in Syria, how there's been over 92k deaths, how there was a 14 year old boy that was tortured and publicly executed by getting shot through the mouth and neck in front of their family & friends, how the Syrian government is using banned chemical weapons on it's own people. In other words this seems like a trivial '1st world problem' at best, at least while so much worse things are going on all around us.
5 years, 10 months ago
Well, to be completely honest and fair here, when I read the second paragraph and figured out what Zephon was ranting about I laughed out loud. I couldn't even help it, I was just laughing. Then I read the rest of it.

I don't really see your point. I've read the comments and mostly people are trying to figure out what that was.

I for one find the Axe-Murderer Villager meme to be funny, but that's because I like farce. It's funny because it's so incredibly wrong. He's a happy, friendly townie who helps his neighbors and loves nature.

The reason for the meme comes from a couple of things. The primary thing is his introduction in the trailer. Here's a captioned pic right on top of that bit. http://24.media.tumblr.com/40aee7bca5094b7ed8ef0c4436c...

The Villager's expression hardly changes, so he's always got this happy, pleasant look, no matter what he's doing. And Mario has this shocked, "OMGWTF!" look going on. Just before that bit, the villager has a gleam in his eye which is anime shorthand for "Moment to Strike!" and is used as often for assassins as heroes.

You end up with this really creepy smile as he attacks, which evokes memories of Norman Bates, from the film Psycho. That's what people latched on to the most. Additionally, the Villager has attacks based on his tools in Animal Crossing, including the Axe. So, while he was shown using the begnin Net attack on Mario, you can easily imagine him chopping Mario with his axe with that same cheerful smile.

You can his facial expression is a huge part of it by looking at some of the pics that have come up since this meme took off. Kirby with Villager's face scares people. Someone put the Villager's Face on the Moon from Majora's Mask. Etc.

Besides his appearance in the trailer, there's a couple of older black humor spoofs of Animal Crossing. The first I'll mention is this short comic by our very own Astolpho: http://dawnchapel.com/2010/03/blathers-scavenger-hunt/

The other is the notorious Animal Crossing Let's Play, The Terrible Secret of Animal Crossing: Welcome to Camp



They've already got a lot of info about the meme and it's spread up on Know Your Meme: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/the-villager

I like the Fucks Given = 0 pic quite a bit too, personally.

So, that should explain the Meme. As for the rest, well, you're ranting and attacking an invisible Strawman who tells you to lighten up in all caps every couple of paragraphs. I suppose you've been bullied a lot and the Strawman represents the people who are mean to you. I can relate. Whenever I'm doing just about anything, I've got a chorus of voices in the back of my head. They sound like my friends, but they say things my friends would never say. It's pretty awful.

Honestly, it feels like you're attacking and insulting anyone who finds that meme funny, or any meme for that matter. You dehumanize the target with your strawman, making it out to be a faceless internet troll, but you probably realize by now I find them funny too. I find black humor funny, I find racist humor funny, I even enjoy rape jokes if they're told well. I enjoy satire and farce. When something is so unthinkable and ridiculous that when it comes out you can't help but laugh at how silly the very idea is.

Yeah it'll get old and stupid before it goes away but the shock and surprise of it will still hit other people who aren't as well connected as we are, who haven't seen it yet, even when the meme is months or years old.

Anyways I forgive you for ranting against my sense of humor.
5 years, 10 months ago
I think your over blowing this.  Every character BUT villager and  Wii Fit girl have a kill list a mile long.
Just look at Kirby. Most of his foes are relatively harmless save for bosses. (note that even the other
playable characters in Kirby games, Dedede, Metaknight and Bandanna waddle dee, were all bosses.
Bandanna dood being a joke boss)  And lets face it. Wii Fit girl looks creepy.

Villager is the single most harmless, innocent guy in all of smash. So yeah, he makes the best joke
for that meme. But then, thats all it is. A meme. Once the game comes out all people will care about
is if he's a good character or is fun to play. This meme will drop off like countless others.

As for hating memes in general. Some are good. Some i want dead. Magikarp longing for murder..
Fun meme. Gangnam style.. Kill it with fire.. It's all down to opinion.

As for your other list of killers. Samus blows up planets... doesn't work. It's The villains who have the self destructs.For the  space pirates.. think about what they are. Space. Pirates. They take over places and kill everything.They are worse then her. She at least only attacks creatures that try to harm her. Snake, is doing his job... etc.I wont defend any villain but Wario. Because Wario commonly faces foes far worse and more evil then himself.(note he's ever only been a true villain once. In the game that introduced him.) Bowser's been a hero in several cases as well.

Luigi's drug induced madness, is actually the negative zone generated by his own latent dark powers. Which only came into play in a Paper Mario game that actually focused on Luigi as a major plot aspect himself.

I could go on explaining why your comparisons dont completely work but im not here to pick a fight. Merely make a point.That point is that anyone can look at something, say something incorrect and end up creating something amusing. Its how meme's grow. Others can say things that are incorrect an have others tell them they are wrong. Usually those people look like "buzz kills" or at least someone people dont want to associate with or react negatively too.

Meme's can be funny, stupid or interesting. Meme's occur in real life every day, long before the internet existed. They will never end as they are bound to the human condition and our social aspects.  No point in raging over a Meme.. unless it's forced down your throat constantly.  And the Villager. He's a minor meme. He wont last long.
5 years, 10 months ago
To be honest, I’m going to have to disagree… no, no, no, not with the point ZephonTsol’s trying to make, but the fact that he seems to have such a strong need to make it. It seems to me that this is little more than raging against shallowness. And in fact, many of his journals seem to be just that. But it’s not shallowness in-and-of-itself he rages against, but individual fads born of it.

And it just leaves me scratching my head because I think to myself, how does that accomplish anything? This is not to say that shallowness shouldn’t be rejected or even fought. But raging against individual examples seems rather pointless to me because, by their very nature, shallow people will have moved on to the next pointless fad by the time your raging actually gets anything done. And then, you’ll have accomplished nothing.

So I wonder, why lash out at a fad that represent pretentious, fickle whiners instead of at pretentious, fickle whiners themselves? They’re the real problem, not whatever shiny thing on a keychain they wave in front of their own faces at any given moment.
5 years, 9 months ago
There's a lot of good stuff in this, but honestly... the villager thing isn't, in my opinion, a problem. Bunch of good points, I'll skip those because debate is founded upon the controversy, not the agreements. Anyway.

Find a list of every Super Smash Bros. character in the games so far (I'm not trusting anything I see about added characters until it's fucking OFFICIAL (obviously, villager is official)). Find me five that aren't exceedingly violent, likely to the point of being homocidal maniacs. Actually, here, I've got the link. http://super-smash-bros.wikia.com/wiki/Character
Look for a bit... Bowser, DK, Fox, Ike, all the pokemon... I could list endlessly. Very nearly ALL of them are known specifically for games in which... they fight. Be it shooting, punching, magic-ing, whatever. It's not always KILLING. In pokemon, they just knock each other the fuck out. But it's always fighting in some way at least some of the time. Then along comes the new game, and we've got two new confirmed characters... The Wii Fit Trainer and the Villager. Well... the Trainer is at least implied to be highly physical... but what the hell is the villager doing here? I mean, sure, in game you can whack people on the head repeatedly with stuff, but... That's not exactly a central part of the game. Heck, you can avoid it like the plague if you want. Oh, and he's ALWAYS SMILING. So here's this random guy, in amongst serial killers, mass murderers, homocidal maniacs, genocidal maniacs, street fighters, criminals, warriors, pit fighters, and more...
Why is he here..? Wait... is there something about him we don't know?!

Anyway, I'm not saying I like the meme or anything, but... come on. The guy is surrounded by violent and physically overwhelming people, and WON'T STOP SMILING. That, combined with the internet's habit of exaggeration, leads to the meme. It's hardly a sign of anything. It's not because he's weak or can be easily picked on or because of some sociopolitical bs. It's because (on the surface at least) he's the only one NOT fighting and beating other people up.
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