“So I’m just not supposed to have any friends?”
It was a question my niece asked of us adults as we tried to explain to her that, no matter what she tried, no matter what she did, the girls down the street would not like her. They were actively choosing to dislike her, and when you come across such people, the only solution is to not bother.
My niece has always been outgoing, though. She got in trouble in Kindergarten for getting bored in class, asking to go to the bathroom, and then instead finding other classrooms to wander into and ask other kids what they were learning. She’s always wanted to make friends, does not hesitate to greet new people, and absolutely adores animals of any kind. She wants to be friends with everybody.
So upon hearing us adults explain that there were two girls that, no matter what, she couldn’t be friends with, she felt as if it was just as bad as having no friends at all.
We knew this wasn’t true. There were other children in the neighborhood that liked her. One that even defended her when these two girls were trying to spread false rumors about my niece. It’s not that my niece was unappreciative of these friends. For whatever reason, the rejection of these two girls simply meant more to her.
I bring this story up because, for similar reasons, I’ve produced nothing for several weeks. I’ve started writing posts for the blog, wrote down notes with article ideas, and even tried doing some research for future projects. Yet every time I began writing, my spirit was quickly killed. Instead of thinking of the 300+ subscribers to my YouTube channel, or those that actively read my blog, I instead focused my thoughts on everyone else.
There must be a language with a word that that combines the emotions of melancholy with fury. There was certainly a sadness to the concept of trying to write about games, or anything for that matter, and simultaneously completely enraged at what the state of criticism has become.
When I saw the film Birdman, I felt that the protagonist, played by Michael Keaton, may as well have been addressing games writers when he unleashed his anger with the precision of a sniper on New York City’s critic.
It is not merely accurate to video games, however, but to those that discuss all media. We are surrounded by opinions without expertise, thoughts without introspection, flooded in the thick puss of egos raised on participation trophies and Nick Jr’s condescending assurances that everyone was born special. Hell, for how unified the Internet seems to be on the quality of Pixar’s The Incredibles, you’d think they’d take the message that “if everyone is special, no one is” to heart. Or perhaps that would require the knowledge that you, yourself, are not as special as you might think?
Be it podcasts, articles, or YouTube personalities, I’ve just found myself looking at the entirety of the gaming community and asking myself “what’s the point?” In sadness and in rage I’ve wanted to scream my frustrations about agendas and sycophantic defenses, for self-satisfied pretentions and rage-induced crusades. No matter what corner of the Internet you go, there’s someone to be angry about.
That is, except for the one corner I had ignored. My 300+ subscribers on YouTube, or you dear readers of my blog, or the handful of followers on my Facebook.
I fell into the same trap as my niece had, focusing so much on those that would actively reject me rather than putting my emotional energy towards those that are here.
So I’m hoping, in the coming weeks, to finally put some of these ideas onto paper. To solidify my feelings, both as a guideline for myself and as a guideline for others, on what criticism should be but isn’t. How critics have failed to live up to such standards for the film Straight Outta Compton. Ideas sparked off of Shamus Young’s excellent Mass Effect retrospective. My analysis of the game Until Dawn.
Most of all, to finally have that video on Splatoon released by the end of October.
I owe you guys that much, and I owe nothing to those that are victims of a condescending, placating generation that ensured adults are the true minority, with decades-old brats screaming and kicking all across the Internet.
Rarely do I make claims of myself without feeling self-conscious, as if I’m speaking as a conceited prick. But I can confidently say that I am too high a class of games (and even film) critic than most of the Internet deserves. So it’s time I stop writing for them, and instead write for you.