The Year of No Gaming… Day 013…

The Year of No Gaming… Day 013… after the break…

The Year of No Gaming… Day 013…

It’s amazing that, nearly two weeks in (three weeks unofficially), I have had next-to-zero desire to play a computer game. None. Zero. Nada. Honestly, I didn’t think I would be able to resist playing a computer game for this long. For all the completists out there, “not playing a computer game” also means video games, console games… Anything that could be remotely constituted as a game played from an electronic device that resembles a computer or console. So, no, there are no loopholes here. No parsing of the language.

I have come to the conclusion that Personal Project #02 is fundamentally different then Personal Project #01 (PP #02 & PP #01, respectively). PP #01 was simple and straightforward. PP #02 is multi-faceted; There are sub-projects in the overall goal of PP #02 there that are intertwined with one other. Untangling them is possible but time-consuming and, ultimately, not very fulfilling. This was the cause of my days of laziness, post-PP #01 – I was trying to pick through all of the other parts of PP #02 to get to a sub-project that couldn’t be completed anyway without slowly migrating to the other sub-projects. The way is clear, now, though. PP #02 will most definitely be a larger and more complex challenge then PP #01 but at least, now, I know what the project is.

GAMING HISTORY MOMENT – Rather then just a moment (for which I have the proverbial “ton”), I want to concentrate on a phenomenon… The “horror” game. No, not actual horror games. I’m writing about those fake-y games that people make up to scare you… The video game equivalent of a horror story. “Hey, did you hear about the obscure PC game that, whenever someone plays it, they go insane and slaughter people?” When video gaming and computers were new, everyone thought that the new media held powers and attributes of unbelievable magnitude. Just like the Internet and (now) “smartphones,” everyone is scrambling to hail any popular new technology as a “game-changer” when, in fact, it is anything but.

I’ve lived long enough to see how fictional media has absorbed computers and gaming into the horror genre. There are arcade machines that will turn you insane or make you disappear or PC games that will cause you to commit suicide or trap you in their wacky games forever and ever… The “possessed game” is no different then the “possessed movie” or the “possessed song” or the “possessed book.”

Enough.

Did the mythical “Polybius” arcade game ever exist? Maybe. There’s an old saying that all lies contain some small amount of truth in them. Yet I’m highly skeptical of the ever-increasing size of the fish tales that playing the game “Polybius” made people insane or die young or whatever… Or that “Killswitch” was some magical computer game that self-deleted itself and caused gamers to experience what could be diplomatically described as a religious epiphany of indescribable emotions… Or that various mods to various popular computer games have uncannily predicted the future, caused gamers to commit suicide or homicide or genocide, cured their cancer, caused them cancer…

Enough.

Games don’t cause people to commit suicide, homicide, genocide… Enough. Some games are legitimately weird. I accept that. They have weird gameplay mechanics, weird-looking enemies, weapons, bosses… Sometimes, a foreign-made game simply loses something in the translation because what is one thing to one culture is another thing to another culture. Weird games are wonderful games because they expand the genre into new horizons previously unexplored. Yet that is all they are – Weird. They are programs… Lines of code written by someone purposefully. Ever heard of the procedurally-generated music program that always played a downbeat song whenever the user of that program was going to die? That program is simply lines of code and nothing more. Games are PROGRAMMED to be weird and unusual.

There are plenty of incidents where programmers have put “Easter Eggs” into games – Ever hear of the weird symbol that appeared in both Thief: The Metal Age and American McGee’s Alice? That was no paranormal conspiracy – It was merely a level designer leaving his mark and nothing more. Or what about the impaled head at the source of the final villain in Doom II? Apparently, just an inside joke and nothing more. Programmers add such legitimate quirks into their games all of the time. Have you ever played the classic game “Karateka” with the playing screen upside-down? That’s not divine intervention, that’s programming. Ever fly into the Sun in Ultima II? Merely a programming quirk and nothing more. That weird portion of the game that you need console commands to get to that looks abandoned? Level designers leave all sorts of unfinished assets in their games all of the time. It’s called the design process.

It’s time to end the ghost stories about video and computer games. It’s silly. It’s stupid. It’s both.

Enough.

Oh, and stop calling it “creepy pasta.” I have no idea why the kids call what everyone else calls a “ghost story” as “creepy pasta.” It’s not even food. There’s nothing creepy about pasta unless you purposely make it creepy. Stop giving pasta a bad name.

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