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 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).
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!!!
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).
IT'S FUNNY, ZEPH. LAFF IT UP, NYUK NYUK.
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.
CAN'T YOU TAKE A JOKE?
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).
HURRRR VILLAGER WILL KILL YOU AND SKIN YOU AND SMILE AT YOU CURZ EVULZ
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.
LIGHTEN UP, DUDE IT'S NOT GONNA HURT ANYONE.
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.
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.
LOOKIT YOU USING A SLIPPERY SLOPE FALLACY RETARD
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.
KAW-MA-DEE, ZEPH. IT'S ALL MEANT IN FUN.
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.
To close this out OH GOOD HE'S LEAVING, NOW I CAN MAKE MORE IMGUR PICS FOR THE APPROVAL OF RANDOMSTRANGERS WOOWOOWOOT, I'll put this in a bit of perspective.
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.