With my love for games that, in particular, happen to fall into a realm of “simulation”– namely, Guitar Hero and skate, of late– I’ve been stumbling across the ever-present detractors who, for whatever reason, apparently can’t fathom the reason why such games might be entertaining.
“Go out and buy a real guitar,” they whine. “Get a real skateboard and get outside, noobs,” come the plainitive wails.
Well, I have a real skateboard, and I pretty well suck at it, but I especially suck at it during the times I want to play video games the most: late at night, in shitty weather in the winter in Oregon, while I’m drunk. Getting hit by virtual cars is much less costly. And I have a real guitar, too. I’m a much better guitarist than I am a skater, but I don’t have four band members sitting around to rock out with me like, ever.
A lot of other good counter-arguments have been made to the effect that no one jumps into a Call of Duty thread and tells people to join a real army, or in a Madden thread to say “go play real football you pansies”, or into a Zack & Wiki thread to say “go find a real golden space monkey to help you find real pirate treasure you inadequate douchebags”. To the extent that many games are simulations, it seems to be those that the closer they get to the real activity, the more you hear this response. (Except, for some reason, the flight simulator community seems immune to this.)
So why do is there such a strong response from people bothered by these simulators? My first thought was simply that they saw unfulfilled potential, people wasting their lives away when they may be able to derive more real-life experience doing these things. But is dicking around on a guitar or skating in the Safeway parking lot in the middle of the night going to do any more to improve my value as a person? And if that really were the point, wouldn’t these advocates of the outdoors do better to argue their case with WoW players, who probably spend much more time ensconced in Azeroth than I do skating San Vanelona?
However, it is a strong posture to adopt. I have a feeling we might just be dealing with the “real life” guitar heroes whose lives are being threatened. Such as from the South Park production blog, where they talk about making the Guitar Hero spoof episode:
“More often than not, a dude who pulls out a guitar looks and behaves like a total douche. We’ve all seen it before: some jerk trying to impress the ladies with his badass skills banging out Coldplay as hard as he can. Ugh.”
Okay, I’ll admit: I’ve probably been that guy at some point in my college career. Well, except for the Coldplay part. So I can relate: it appears to be a cheapening of something authentic that takes some actual talent/skill, and turns it into a damn party game that (gasp!) anyone can play! Now who’s going to be impressed by my rendition of “Everlong”?
I guess I was never threatened by it because I’m a gamer first and a musician second (and a skater a dark, distant third). And so the circle of douchebaggery continues.
1 comment November 30th, 2007