Those Reptile-Brained Maniacs.
I’m not a hardcore gamer.
I don’t think I ever was, really, when you get down to it. When my brother and I were younger, we’d compete on videogames, and I invariably lost most of the time. I never had what it took to win, and that lack of winning spirit always ensured that I always ended up on the losing side of any competitive endeavour.
I wasn’t hard enough. I was a pussy, soft, a carebear, a sopping wet vagina doomed to a life of being screwed over by dicks. In other words, a loser, a big socialist pinko, a liberal tree-hugging hippie.
Fear and Self-Loathing In Petaling Jaya
I didn’t exactly understand it myself, honestly—it was either a combination of a disinclination or an inability to optimize, to plan the perfect solution, or just to see The Thing One Must Do. It was my biggest weakness, and frankly, it still is.
I liked taking my time, I liked hanging around, I liked spending my time immersed in something comforting, like an overgrown baby missing the comfort of his womb. And I generally hated myself for it.
Look at that. You’d never guess by the way that sentence was arranged, with its wishy-washy qualifier and neutral, conversational tone, of the depth of loathing I had for that failing.
Those Damn Gamers.
So it didn’t really surprise me when I saw this over at the Escapist:
I believe the seemingly endless popularity of these particular games, in which players take the role of soldiers, spies and other enforcers of government policy, can be attributed to the inherent appeal of a particular ideology. The practical implementation of this ideology can include myriad bureaucratic and cultural details but whose fundamental appeal to the human animal comes down to the notion that might makes right.
He’s talking about fascism, folks.
The Essential Division
When you get down to it, the pure mechanics of gaming is about one thing: who wins. There is no room for losers or the honorable in a game—only a winner and the chumps.
You can lie to yourself about the honor of sportsmanship, you can blind yourself to optimal strategies with your misguided injunctions against manipulating and exploiting your fellow man, but all that that allows you, in the end, is a sense of comfort before someone without your delusions comes by and eats you alive.
Pray That Isn’t As Simple As That
I hope to dear God that games aren’t like real life, and so far evidence is supporting my claim. Society, frankly, is inefficient. Trains do not, in general, run in time. You are not, one hopes, an expendable cog in a machine. You can still express yourself with relative impunity. Might, for now, does not make right.
Because god help you if it did:
A friend of mine studied political science at Yale. In one class, the professor posted a game scenario: You are the newly empowered dictator of a third-world country. Your people face famine, plague, poverty and unrest. What policies would you enact to solve these problems? (Fans of Tropico, you know how this works.) My friend’s solution? Death camps. Round up the sick, the lame, the infertile, the ignorant, the useless, the unproductive and execute them. Bring the workforce and the job market into sudden alignment. Reconcile the mouths to feed with the supplies of food.
Nature Brown In Rust And Dried Blood
If this sort of strategy worked, even once, it would have spawned a state far more successful than any other, and by the Darwin’s laws of evolution it would have replaced all other states. Death camps would have been the norm.
Instead we have this tangled, paltry mess.
A Nasty, Vicious Theory
I have a theory. It’s a nasty, vicious theory, and it goes against my somewhat (ha, pussy!) liberal leanings. It goes on like this:
Jack Thompson is a lunatic, but a lunatic with a point.
He talks about games being murder simulators and trainers for a new generation of psychopaths. It’s completely batshit, but perhaps it has a grain of truth. Perhaps games don’t train psychopaths, but instead cause gamers to self-select; the ones with the winning drive go to the top, and the ones without it lose and eventually give up.
Don’t Stop Them Playing!
Maybe that’s all there is to gaming, and the best players are those with no clear scruples: people who would, without blinking an eye, defraud fellow players of approximately 16,000 US dollars of in-game property... and then brag about it later, justifying their actions as being completely within the rules of the game.
Maybe the best thing we can do to prevent a generation of psychopaths and sociopaths from taking advantage of people again is to not take these games away. Design a game that will optimize the selection of psychopaths and sociopaths, latent and obvious. And then, force everyone to play them. With each other.
Why? Because then, the best, the nastiest, the most vicious will possibly be the most successful people in that game, and you’ll know who they are by their performance.
That Won’t Work This Time, Buddy
No point hiding behind complex layers of manipulation. No point behind trying to fool a battery of psychiatrists. No point in suppressing their desires, because there they’ll be, out there in the open, in the top ten rankings.
We gamers have had the training. We’ve learned the mindset. We know the score. We are efficient, deadly, methodical. If only we were in charge – then, oh then, we could show the world how much we care about it.
Maybe if we knew who these people were, we could stop them before they get their hands on other people’s lives and cause some real damage.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to take down the next reptile-brained, psychotic maniac before he sinks his teeth into people’s lives and really cause some hurt?