Irony may be one of the most misunderstood concepts in the English language.Ã‚Â Default bashing of Alanis aside, not only do I see irony incorrectly used on a near daily basis, I even participate in the activity.Ã‚Â In much the same way that being sardonic is too often confused with being sarcastic Ã‚– though the three terms stand inexorably linked in a bizarre twisting daisy chain of misdirected truth Ã‚– irony is, above all else, the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of their literal meanings.Ã‚Â Thus, I can only assume the gaming industry is being ironic when they rate titles Mature.
Look, IÃ‚'ll be straight with you.Ã‚Â IÃ‚'m sick and tired of being embarrassed at being a gamer.Ã‚Â It seems like every time I start to formulate a solid rationale at my borderline obsession, someone comes along with a game that nails the door back shut on this little pigeon hole.Ã‚Â And weÃ‚'ve all, developers and gamers alike, become complacent at the idea that gaming buries at least a few of its roots in the realm of graphic, and often pointless violence, not to mention implied pornography.Ã‚Â The rest of the gaming industry revels in its own obscure middle ground, rejecting on one hand the idea that the whole thing is terribly childish, but never embracing the greater possibilities that could lift it all above its own chaff.Ã‚Â It is an industry trapped in uncertainty, and complacent in its established intellectual mediocrity.Ã‚Â
My, but that was dour!Ã‚Â I donÃ‚'t want to leave you with the wrong impression, that IÃ‚'m suddenly rejecting the staples of gaming, or that IÃ‚'m putting on airs of intolerant haughtiness, or that IÃ‚'m just getting tired of playing video games.Ã‚Â ItÃ‚'s just not the case.Ã‚Â But, I do think that this industry can be so much more than it is, and that until it finds the occasional higher ground, it will be defined by the other extreme of spewing crap ejected onto the retail landscape.Ã‚Â Without the balancing opposite, the image is lopsided.Ã‚Â By way of example, I turn you to the mature games of late that have been cropping up.Ã‚Â It was almost painful for me not to put quotes around the word mature in the previous sentence.
LetÃ‚'s start with The Guy Game, shall we; a notable title with all the subtle class and charm of a Girls Gone Wild video.Ã‚Â In this mature title Ã‚– imagine me making air quotes with my fingers as I ironically use the word mature - players are tasked with answering Ã‚"… well letÃ‚'s just let the website speak for itself.Ã‚Â Ã‚"Shot live at South Padre Island, this Red-Hot Trivia Challenge lets you play with over 60 smokin' coeds during Spring Break Insanity, as they proudly show off their "assets" for your personal enjoyment. You bring the party and we'll supply the game - YOU'LL SCORE EVERY TIME!Ã‚"Ã‚Â In this winner, as you correctly answer low-brow questions while predicting the accuracy with which drunk skull-vacuums in easily removed apparel will answer the same questions you build up a flash meter which ultimately rewards gamers, like vacant lab rats that manage to push the right food button, with bared breasts.Ã‚Â Also, it has a drinking game.Ã‚Â IÃ‚'m not sure why they didnÃ‚'t go the whole ten yards and toss a handheld breathalyzer, bathroom vending machine condom, and the number of several local bail bondmen straight into the box.
Finally, I say, a video game that gives the latest Leisure Suit Larry some credibility!Ã‚Â
With games like The Guy Game, Playboy: The Mansion, The Sims rip-off Singles, the coming Playboy gaming images, and the well discussed DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball, not to mention Larry, itÃ‚'s hard to proclaim oneself an adult gamer without making an inadvertent statement of personal lechery.Ã‚Â IÃ‚'m tired of saying I like adult games and then having to qualify that statement; it should stand on its own.
Oh, I know what the producers of these games would likely say of my complaints; thereÃ‚'d be lots of eye rolling, dismissive statements about prudish amateur writers, and probably four or five Ã‚"dudesÃ‚" thrown in between the occasional Ã‚"extremeÃ‚" to solidify the image of unwavering cool.Ã‚Â And, IÃ‚'m not advocating the purging of sexual content from gaming by any means.Ã‚Â Hell, there may even be a place for dreck like this.Ã‚Â In the end, IÃ‚'m not even directly criticizing those who put forth these games, itÃ‚'s the rest of the industry thatÃ‚'s put up the white flag, given up on elevating the art form, and conceded that violence and titillation is the only path.
Look, movies have Tom Green, music has Kid Rock, and literature has Jackie Collins, but they are balanced by Laurence Olivier, Winton Marsalis, and Toni Morisson.Ã‚Â While there are a lot of Giglis out there, itÃ‚'sÃ‚Â mitigated by the occasional American Beauty or SchindlerÃ‚'s List.Ã‚Â Gaming doesnÃ‚'t really have that, a transcendent experience that breaks the bounds of the industry, thatÃ‚'s universal.Ã‚Â ThatÃ‚'s not to say there arenÃ‚'t great games, but theyÃ‚'re usually limited to those boundaries, and the assumptions we take as gamers concede away precisely the things that could move our shared passion further.
IÃ‚'m tired of reading previews of interesting games that make statements like, Ã‚"the plot wonÃ‚'t be Shakespeare, but itÃ‚'ll be ok and thing will blow up really great!Ã‚"Ã‚Â Why do we have to assume that even the best game is barely passable as literature, that the presentation is maxed out at pulp cinema and that if youÃ‚'re not a gamer you just wonÃ‚'t get it?Ã‚Â It canÃ‚'t be an issue of resources; the industry is leading all other entertainment industries in dollars generated.Ã‚Â It doesnÃ‚'t have to be every game, or most games, or even one instance a year, but there should be something we can prop up as the saving face of gaming, something that validates it and defines it.
Because, the fact is that right now itÃ‚'s the games at the bottom that draw the picture of gaming.Ã‚Â