Short update today, things have been busy. I think I have some bonus material I can put up to compensate on Monday morning though…
I, like most white people, am fond of Halloween.
There’s a few things I like about it. I like October itself, the new crispness of fresh whelped Winter just starting to infiltrate the breeze, red leaves, a bit of moisture like sea breeze even far away from the sea. I like the way it’s a holiday that isn’t a real holiday, not government sanctioned, no real religious meaning aside from the vestigial any more, but everyone celebrates it anyway. I love ‘spooky’, the beautiful surreal campy not-scary horror that for some reason we mostly target at kids despite it being, seriously, just fucking great.
However: I’m actually not that big a fan of costumes.
I’m not into costumes for the same reason that, despite being fascinated with violence and everything it means, I’m generally turned off by most films and games that feature violence. Vulgar superficiality– what good is it to look like something else? I want to be something else.
Every day I wake up and am the same person I was yesterday I wake up slightly disappointed. Not because I don’t like being myself– I am one of my favorite people. Seriously, like, top 5. However, I just hate being locked into one personhood, to one life, to one world. A world or a room or a body, if you’re locked in then a cage is a cage. Sometimes I fall out of my head and see myself from the outside and see how everyone is seeing me and it makes me dizzy and it takes me a moment to find my way back in. Sometimes I get unstuck in time, poo-tee-weet, and forget whether what’s happening now has already happened or whether I’m remembering the future. Maybe you do too: It’s something more than deja-vu, something short of time travel. Yes, I know, there’s a word for people like us: writers.
This discomfort in time and place and vessel is one reason why I feel a great deal of empathy for trans folks. Though I certainly can’t claim to feel it with the same urgency they do, the dissatisfaction with having a body which doesn’t really feel like home is unnerving. For me, though, it’s not just my body: I want sometimes to change my mind in an unusually literal way, to take on a whole new mantle of personal history, to be someone completely.
Is it any wonder, then, that I like video games so damn much?
Is it any wonder, then, that I’m so goddamn disappointed at the state of video games?
Here’s another place where accepted ‘best practices’ in game design have failed me. They say that it’s important that the player empathize with the character, identify with him. Towards this end, we’ve seen an endless succession of brown-haired white male main characters, ruggedly handsome ciphers. Oh boy, I get to play as another white guy.
The lack of diversity in video games has failed me by an unlikely route. Rather than being someone outside of their demographic who feels under-represented in games, I’m someone right smack-fucking-dab in the middle of it who feels tediously over-represented. What’s the point, I ask you, of running an elaborate simulation just to be some generic nothing of a nobody?
How has this industry gotten so ass-backwards that the possibility of the player experiencing what it’s like to be something else is something that game designers, by maxim, strenuously avoid?