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Go out with you? Why not... Do I like to dance? Of course! Take a walk along the beach tonight? I'd love to. But don't try to touch me. Don't try to touch me. Because that will never happen again. "Past, Present and Future"-The Shangri-Las

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Seems like old times.

I was out walking around Kannapolis the other day when I met some other people from Signal Mountain, Tennessee, where I grew up! At least I assume they were from Signal Mountain. They were leaning out of an idling car, addressing me as "faggot," and speculating about my sex life, which is behavior I associate with Signal Mountain residents. If they had then started whining about how the government takes their money and gives it to people who are too lazy to work for a living, that would have confirmed the Signal Mountain origin of these future meth cooks.

It was a nostalgic moment. It's nice to find that things which were regular parts of one's youthful days haven't entirely faded away, and can still be experienced when one is a grownup.

Speaking of asinine youthful activity, some friends and I have been talking about the perniciousness of immersive fantasy computer games, the kind that give one the sensation of going places, meeting people, solving problems, accomplishing things... all the things one wants from a life. Several of us, myself included, got pretty fixated on these games at points in our lives when we felt that we weren't going anywhere, meeting anyone, solving anything...

Well, look what I found! It's a vision statement for a game called Planescape: Torment (originally called Last Rites, apparently) which I spent pretty much all my non-subsistence time playing for many months. I always considered the game to be one of the more artful, thoughtful, and respect-worthy such games I'd experienced. But this vision statement thing showed me another side of the game:

"We gots Gold, Glory, Power and Hero Worship. Why save a world you know nothing
about and have absolutely no attachment to? F*** that. We know what you really
want to do – you want to run rampant in a world where you are a god. You want
the power to change your environment, slaughter all who stand against you, and
be a hero worshipped by the masses – everything you don't get pushing
paper or suffering through school 40 hours a week."


"Sure, you may be a fat dateless loser in real life, but in Last Rites, you get
the women and respect you've always craved."


"We will work hard to try and include positive relationships within the game –
relationships that the player may not have in real life or may desire from
watching movies. The player can have buddies that will lay down their life for
the character, Betsies and Veronicas/Gingers and Mary Anns fighting over his
affections, mentors, loyal servants, and so on. They will thank the player for
his help or fawn for his attention, giving the player additional ego-stroking."

Oy. I hate to admit it, but all that puerile wish-fulfillment jive was a big part of the appeal. It's a bit of a shock to learn that the makers of this habit-forming cultural junk food are knowingly trying to get lonely people to form those habits.

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