Photography blogs are boring and make me want to go on a terrible spree. Welcome to the antidote.
You’re an idiot. You’re an idiot for thinking that and I really hope you either burn in a fire, contract an incurable disease or suffer a significant family tragedy. If you HONESTLY think that SD Gundam Daizukan is a marginally better game than Gundam Tactics Mobility Fleet 0079, I hope your mother dies. If she’s already dead, I will dig her up and running powerbomb her into a ravine littered with celebrity paedophiles.
No, wait, I won’t address this situation directly, instead I’ll be glib and smug in the space of two sentences. That’s the best way to have a discussion on something. Better still, I won’t even INCLUDE the person I’m angry with in the statement.
Subtweeting. Passive aggressiveness. Witty one-liners. Wanton irreverence. Calling football “kickgoalball”. People drowning in reservoirs of their own self-satisfaction.
Welcome to Twitter.
Now follow me, down this dimly-lit, damp corridor, through this door, try to ignore the screams. Get on this lift with me, please. I advise that you hold your breath as you descend. Take this facemask.
No, I don’t know what that thing is in there, but it’s best not to look at it, I find. Look straight ahead. Now then, fall face-first into this ditch full of hydrochloric acid, please.
You have reached your destination: videogame Twitter.
I’m aware that there’s a small chance I’m exaggerating here, but the videogame Twitter bubble is a place laden with unspeakable horrors, traps and dead ends. If you’re not careful, you may never escape, forever lost in a labyrinth of overly-simplistic opinions. Essentially, videogame Twitter is like Sen’s Fortress, except significantly less well-designed.
The most recent poison seeping into the fabric of Twitter is known as ‘#gamergate’ – an utterly ludicrous affair perpetrated by clueless idiots who are angry at being left behind as the rest of gaming culture moves onwards and upwards.
Essentially, ‘#gamergate’ is a war being fought against nobody, where thousands upon thousands of ‘gamers’ are parachuting onto an unoccupied beach and raging against an absent, imagined enemy, before impaling themselves on their own bayonets of ignorance; it’s the “give ’em enough rope” situation, basically. The situation is explored most eloquently by Owen Grieve over at Midnight Resistance, so give it a bloody read.
Even when Twitter is being used by decent, reasonable people, the format of the platform stunts the potential for meaningful expression. For example, Rich Stanton took to Twitter a couple of weeks back to defend the sudden bandwagon attack on all things Kojima, Hideo being a recent victim of the Twitter Army’s Kneejerk Division. Rich made some excellent points on the subject in a passionate yet grown-up, considered, constructive argument.
And it took him about nine tweets to make that point.
That is because Twitter is not the place for such long-form discussion. I still applaud Stanton for not becoming entwined in the “solve everything in 140 characters” trap, but it indicated to me that the forum for such discussion – mature, considered debate exploring both sides of an argument reasonably – is not Twitter.
Unfortunately, social media is addictive; it’s the buzz you feel when a Facebook ‘Like’ pops up in your notifications; it’s the good vibes you get from a retweet. The more you use social media, the greater the temptation to make a swooping, attention-grabbing or humorous statement in order to receive those little Tic-Tac sized boosts of dopamine. Similarly, the use of social media has trained us all into a pattern of reading bite-sized posts and small fragments of text which require minimal attention, leading to other diseases, such as the rise of the Buzzfeed listicle.
We read a funny, sarcastic, two sentence summary of something, we laugh, we click like or we retweet, the author gets the buzz he sought, the cycle is perpetuated.
This modern way of consuming and creating media can be applied to all forums of discussion across all forms of art, but it feels particularly damaging to videogame culture. Relatively speaking, when compared to other art forms, games are still in their infancy, especially when it comes to intelligent discussion; for it to be stifled by the tyranny of social media at this stage is a problem.
Facebook is for your family and friends and to bore everyone with your baby photos; YouTube comments sections are the regular haunt of wildly illiterate, racist, sexist, bigoted, incomprehensible scumbags; Twitter is over encumbered with smugness, glibness, ugly personal drama laid bare for all to see, heavy-handed sarcasm and passive-aggressiveness, all encased in a dollop of the thickest, gloopiest dose of smartassery known to humankind.
None of these environments are suitable breeding grounds for intelligent discussion.
So what am I saying? I’m saying don’t fight your battles in these arenas. In fact, don’t fight at all. Question every aspect of videogames and challenge all that you know about them, of course, but do it in a constructive and useful manner. Blogging, podcasting, writing articles, find a forum that isn’t horrible. If we take the discussion elsewhere, we can allow debate to grow in a healthy and helpful fashion, instead of engaging in futile sniping matches between handfuls of angry people.
Do you know what the worst thing about all this is? You probably won’t believe me, because it seems too perfect but, right in the middle of writing and editing this article I have, just this second, done exactly the above: I’ve become embroiled in a Twitter argument about a videogame! We’re trapped. We’re all trapped. We need to GET OUT. Help us. I could have spent that time further editing this article so it didn’t end up as a turgid piece of shit, for example.
Take my hand and we’ll get out of here together. Breathe a deep sigh of relief as I wrench you free from the squidgy clutches of the TwitterDitch, take you to the lift, lead you back along the corridor and push you out, blinking, into the blinding daylight. You are outside of videogame Twitter now. You are free.