Today was a hellish day: the Revenue Agency inundated me with folders, I took two speed cameras, argued with everyone at work and lost my phone who knows where. Luckily I will soon be able to get angry properly with a bloody video game. Yes, you read right. I don’t play to relax, but to exacerbate my malaise and undermine the already precarious mental balance. My Hard Day’s Night, unlike the one sung by the Beatles, is bound to get worse because of video games.
And I’m not talking about frustration due to difficulty in progression or poorly calibrated gameplay that lead to rage quit, it is the medium itself, in all its forms, that ruins my existence. Does it make sense to spend your free time on activities that worsen your quality of life rather than improve it? No, yet it’s what I’ve been noticing lately in an increasingly large slice of the playing public. What was considered a waste of time in the 80s, over time has changed into a socially accepted pastime, then into a passion and slowly for some into a condemnation to eternal suffering, certain that they were the first to see the signs of a world close to disarray just when they should have been relaxing on the sofa with the pad in hand.
DISCUSSING LOMBAX SEX
In my golden bubble of blissful ignorance, in which I put my headphones on and enter the fantastic worlds generated by the developers ready to enjoy every single pixel, I noticed this phenomenon late, and precisely with Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. Studying the morphological characteristics of the Lombax – which, it is worth remembering, are creatures of fantasy – some users have noticed that the beautiful Rivet did not have the distinctive features of the female gender, such as breasts, smaller ears and the absence of a tail. While io I had a great time kicking Doctor Nefarious, there was discussion on the net about the possibility that the extradimensional version of Ratchet was transgender.
My initial reaction to the subject was amazement. While I sprinkled my head in ashes for not having dedicated years of my life to studying the Lombax breed, the theories of the most attentive players actually seemed to make sense. The second reaction was curiosity: Assuming the Lombax literature was correct, was it an oversight by the designers, comparable to a gross cinematic blooper, or did I really play with a transgender character? The third reaction saw the return of rationality: Was I really wasting my time figuring out Rivet’s genre instead of trying to go platinum?
Amazement and curiosity, then rational thinking and the awareness of having wasted time concentrating on an aspect of the game that was not purely playful
I fell for it, for a moment. They had managed to get me to focus on an aspect of the game that wasn’t purely playful. But since life is made up of priorities, I immediately left the off topic disquisitions behind to try my hand at the Challenge Mode. I was left with doubt, happy and carefree as only those who think only of playing can be. Even now, if they ask me if Rivet has the cionfolo or the bagianna, I shrug. But if we talk about the Arena, I could tell my exploits for hours.
OK, HE’S GAY, BUT HOW CRITICAL IS THAT?
From that day, however, I became more attentive: not to the gender or race of the video game protagonists, but to the reactions of people who, as enthusiasts like me, instead of having hit points at heart, height that can be reached with a double jump and the percentage of assigning a critical strike worry for other features irrelevant in terms of gameplay. And I discovered that while I was playing quietly, the world was ending, also because of Ellie from The Last of Us, being gay. In fact I had realized it but I saw it as a detail that should not be given importance. Should I have been more careful? According to some, yes. Bill is gay too. Here I had to stop for a moment and reflect. Yes, that’s right, you know when they find the body of their fellow suicide, I had completely forgotten, I apologize if during an epidemic of fungal rabies that brought the world to its knees I did not gossip about Bill.
However, it is understandable that the most ardent fans of a franchise know the life, death and miracles of the protagonists. The problem is that it was going too far. Some players instead of enjoying the story were getting angry because there were too many gays in the game. As if sexuality were an ingredient in a recipe. There are too many eggs in this carbonara, and there are too many gays in that game. There’s one Major too many here, Trinity said, and there’s one gay too many. We need to cap the number of non-straight people. It is evident that rationality had been lost. Now if the protagonist of a game is not male, Caucasian and straight there are those who scream at the woke dictatorship. A plan is underway to create a New World Order in which minorities will dominate – mark this term, we’ll come back to it in a moment – while I’m busy killing with Aloy. At an unidentified moment in this historical period, people who write with asterisks and schwa would have become dangerous. I’ll have to apologize to everyone I teased about their wildcards, because here otherwise they’ll replace me with a minority. At least, these seem to me to be the most popular arguments.
WHAT IF I WERE A MINORITY AS A GAMEPLAYER?
But here’s the plot twist: gamers themselves are a minority. We are talking about people able to buy hardware of a certain level, subscribe to subscriptions or buy games, have a stable and fast internet connection and above all have all the time necessary to roam around virtual lands. What percentage do they represent in the population of all your acquaintances? Ridiculous, and the situation worsens as individuals age, when the Important Things in Life steal time and resources away from everything else. Very well, since we are all minorities, shall we stop worrying about anything and play an ignorant match?
We have fun like in the old days, when already in the 60s the very Italian Cicciobello blond with blue eyes was produced in the Angelo Nero variant without anyone tearing their clothes off shouting to the dictatorship woke?
We have fun like in the old days, when already in the 60s the very Italian Cicciobello, blond with blue eyes, was produced in the Angelo Nero variant – to tell the truth, Nero was with a G, but if I write it down, the algorithms call me a racist despite also having black friends and, just to maximize the skill, even a black daughter – without anyone tearing their clothes off shouting woke dictatorship? And what about Oliviero Toscani’s ads for United Colors of Benetton? And isn’t it true that we all empathized with Jimmy Somerville being kicked out of the house in the Smalltown Boy video?
What wonderful years, when videogames were just played, perhaps because they hadn’t yet become mainstream, and therefore intended only for an audience of true enthusiasts who only wanted to put their signature on the High Score. Look, nothing changes for me, I’m saying it for you: what’s the point of cultivating a passion that makes your blood bitter? It’s like those toxic relationships where instead of completing each other we destroy each other. Phenomenon that is not exclusive to video games, mind you. Just to give you an example, it seems that the Budweiser promotional campaign showing a transgender man drinking the famous beer has caused a collapse in sales. I don’t drink alcohol, but I love the very recognizable sugary drink with the red can. I allow myself a little since it’s not really that healthy, but I assure you one thing: there is no transgender that can make me think about not drinking it anymore. Unless you’re my doctor. Am I submitting to the Imaginary Very Gay Lobby? All right. Because of me, will gender ideology be taught in the nursery and will people change their sex at the Autogrill? Ok, mark my account, it was me. In the meantime, I continue to drink what seems to me to be as calm as ever. I drink, I gamble, and I burp when I lose.
THEY ARE BAD PEOPLE, LET’S BURN THEIR VIDEO GAMES
In the hustle and bustle of ideological wars to the sound of boycotts, no one is savedgiven that there are those who have decided a priori that Hogwarts Legacy not to be played as part of the lore invented by JK Rowling. The lady in question has some particular ideas that I don’t want to dwell on in the absence of a toxicology test. It means that if you tell me about yourself, your vision of you, TERF, your world, before answering, I ask you if you can kindly urinate in this test tube, which I then take to have it analysed. Does this make Hogwarts Legacy a bad game? No, just as the Wonderland Murders cases don’t take inches off John Holmes (damn it!), the strange relationship Michael Jackson had with the kids doesn’t make Thriller a bad album and the crazy life of John McAfee doesn’t affect the reliability of his antivirus .
Not to mention that those who would like to see the Harry Potter game virtually rot on digital shelves, disrespect to hundreds of graphic designers, programmers, artists and various workers who took part in the project, probably with different ideas from Rowling but no less determined to deliver an excellent product to our monitors. It’s called professionalism, a Hippocratic Oath applicable in any field. Sometimes it is enough to be born in the wrong part of the planet to be denied the right to publish one’s works. Atomic Heart it would be a game to avoid due to one’s Russian roots and romantic vision of the Soviet Union. In someone’s imagination, every copy sold is an endorsement of the operation in Ukraine, an association of ideas as sensible as the amens who put themselves on Facebook under the photos of sick children to guarantee their speedy recovery. And here I thought that buying video games would help the devs pay the mortgage, you naive simpleton that I am.
In my super liberal world, on the other hand, there is also room for video games made by people who don’t think like me, and only fun will tip the balance between promotion and rejection
Moreover, following this reasoning, if you have to throw away Hogwarts Legacy for the ideas of those who gave birth to the IP, in the same way, even mediocre video games created by teams that respect everyone, or that let us understand it thanks to capable social media managers, should be praised. My game is buggy crap, but greeting the neighbors and helping the old ladies cross the street, I deserve a lady review on Steam. In my super liberal world, on the other hand, there is also room for video games made by those who don’t think like me, and only fun will balance the balance between promotion and rejection, with the utmost peace of mind.
I’ve been angry all day to carve out that hour in the evening with my beloved viggì, now leave me alone. Boycotting games, or beer, or whatever, isn’t that different from burning books in the public square, and those are pages of history that deserve to be turned over forever. But can you imagine what an infamous adolescence we would have had if we had always behaved this way? Come on, put Jet Set Willy on. No, the protagonist is white, a symbol of suprematism. But he is the one who tidies up the house while Maria simply observes, a message that goes against the patriarchal mentality that would like women to be subjected to the male. Yes, but will the author, this Matthew Smith, be Conservative or Labour? Mica here you play a game so blindly.
It’s not life, believe me, it’s not life.