Mutation

[So, this kind of thing happens a lot. If I ever talk about how much of what I write is sporadic, or unfocused, or erratic, or other-word-that-means-drifty, then this bit of writing is a good example. This is from early August. It starts off, and I remember my intention on this one, as an attempt to write something about games (this has been a recurrent theme of the last 4-5 months. Ever since I got a real live article published by Ars Technica, a real live news/review site, I’ve been bludgeoning myself semi-daily to try and write something further. And I’ve come up stone cold dead and dry every single time). But the writing quickly changes it’s direction. The fundamental thought is still there “why do games bore me?” but it becomes wrapped up in something else, a possible solution, which in turn, becomes a tirade against a certain style of click-bait junkpage that I see all the goddamn time (and if you even dare to call that kind of thing ‘news’ then we will have what is politely called A Bit Of A Problem). 

I’m showing this because it’s a useful insight into my own brain. And the distance allows me to view it from a more critical angle (which is to say, at all).

Re-reading this, I notice that I refer to myself as being 27. At the time I was, in fact, 26. But I forget my own age semi-regularly. For about 4-5 months of this year, I genuinely thought I was 27.|

Lastly, “***********” is my own shorthand for “put more content here and/or come back to this later”]

What Happened To The Joy Of Repetition (or Did I Lose The Joy Of Repetition)

In the last year or so, I’ve noticed something: a lot of games bore me. Now, I’m a fairly skeptical person to start with. I know full well that I’m hard to please. And I try to actively not be taken in by hype for a lot of things. But even then, even then, I look back at a number of games I’ve played and bought in the last few years, and I just think…why did I play this?

Top of my list lies Titanfall. Now I was skeptical as fuck about that game. A multiplayer only game being sold at the same price as a higher-end triple A game? That alone raised my Skepticism Defcon to 2. And the massive campaign of advertising for it kind of cemented that opinion. But even after all of that, it had enough that looked interesting about it to attract my wallet.

You know what? I had a lot of fun with Titanfall. I really did. The smooth parkour elements, the interplay of massive-death machine and tiny-people was a fun challenge. The rapidity of movement (and the lack of chest-high cover) meant that things like the homing-pistol weren’t broken, they were a legitimately challenging and rewarding style of gameplay.

So what let Titanfall down? If I liked its mechanics and I liked its interplay, what’s the problem? Well, for a start, it had a pitiful excuse for a campaign mode. No, it had an offensive excuse for a campaign mode. The way the campaign mode works is this: You play through each multiplayer map in the game in a specific order, in a normal multiplayer match, with lots of other players who are also playing the campaign. And while you’re equipping your weapons and loadout for the coming match, there is a voiceover. No matter the outcome, win or lose, you move onto the next match, and the next slice of voiceover.

And then, once you’ve played through all the maps, you can play one the other team (who are functionally identical). So you play through the maps again, with different slices of voiceover. That’s it. That is literally it.

In effect, the above means that your first hour of Titanfall is spent totally ignoring half of what the game is giving you, because it’s badly written and utterly ignorable.*************

Part of me has wondered, writing this, whether I’m ‘becoming old’. But even as I think it, I know it’s complete bullshit. With the rise of the Buzzfeed nation, there has come a tidal wave of this kind of self-deprecating, self-hating, self-apologising wankery. You know the type. It’s wallowy one liners about how you’re so old and past it, and no one ‘gets’ your jokes any more because they’re old. All of this draped in gifs of 90s sitcom characters, all caught in endless one second loops of cometragic wailing.

And all of those posts seem to be made be people my age. If you’ve ever made one of these: I hate you. I do. I hate you because you are directly responsible for that sneaky little thought of ‘I’m just becoming old’. And it’s shit.

First up, I’m not old. And no, I’m not just in denial fnar fnar fnar. I’m 27. Living in a 1st world country. By the self-cannibalising standards of general society, I’m barely even an adult. I mean, I don’t own a car. I don’t have a career. I don’t have a mortgage, child, or wife. As far as society is concerned I’m a teenager, ten years on.

Secondly, fuck you. We live in a world that is psychologically drowning in everyone appearing perfect. All your friends are doing better than you. They all have better jobs, look happier, have stable partners – or alternatively great party lives. Everyone is better than you. Except of course, they’re not. Chances are, most of the people you know (certainly on social media) are exactly like you. Similar age. Similar background. Similar values. Similar obstacles. And yeah, there might genuinely be that one person who is living a gold plated dream of a life. And you know what? Gazing at their Facebook posts twenty times a day isn’t going to help you is it?

Thirdly FUCK YOU. I didn’t fight for both my sanity and survival for goddamn years just so you could passively put yourself (and by virtue of sharing it, me) down.

In short then, no I’m really not ‘just becoming old’. Do I understand the fashion, music and minutiae of 15 year olds? No. Because I’m not fifteen. I don’t know any fifteen year olds. I don’t interact with any fifteen year olds. Why the fuck would I understand the intricacies of their culture?

Funnily enough, the world is not split into ‘I’m a teen’ and ‘I’m not a teen anymore, waaaah everything is over forever’. So get the everloving shit over yourself, you are dragging our whole generation down into your pit of self-pitying wank.

To get back on point then, if it’s not that I’m too old, what is it?

I think age has little to do with it, I think boredom has a lot. But I don’t think I have a concrete answer.

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