Thursday, May 13, 2010

Re: Hell is Other Players

For as much as I can't stand Kotaku sometimes, their posts can be somewhat thought-provoking. This article about playing games with others online and the lack of civility on the "anonymous net" produced this response from me:

The irony is that half of these little prepubescent pukes probably get beat on at school because THEY are different and they need to try and create their own "norm" so that they can be little hypocrites and do the same thing to people they don't deem worthy of their little inner circle.

I played the free game League of Legends with some friends for a little while, and I can honestly say that even with REAL LIFE friends playing alongside me, it was worse than having played on Live (some of the time) and playing WoW for a few years' time. And it wasn't due to lack of skill... I don't game on the PC very much, so my PC is about 3 years old, and my friends and I would talk on Skype whilst playing LoL. Well, somewhere along the line LoL, in conjunction with Skype running, would lag, HARD. And when you're playing a game where you're constantly in combat, that makes a lot of difference. So I had a choice, play the game, shut off Skype and type to everyone, which was no fun, or stop playing altogether. Not using Skype to chat was the equivalent of just playing with strangers, I played with friends while talking on Skype because I got to talk to friends that had moved to another state, that I used to game with in person. So I quit, because every match with lag was unbearable and frustrating to me, and there was just a constant, uncalled for barrage of idiotic comments in a game that was basically a glorified (FREE) tower defense game that was actually a Warcraft 3 mod. You seriously would have thought I was killing my own team members or something with some of the comments that were made to me. If you don't know how the game works, it's 5-on-5, and you can invite people or join a random game and get matched with teammates. There were normally 3 of us with 2 randoms, and sometimes 4 + 1 random if my buddy's girlfriend decided to play. It doesn't help that their matching system is deeply flawed, but the problem was usually some random assbag going off.

What's funny is that the more "mainstream" gaming seems to become - and the more social elements they add to gaming - the less civil the whole thing seems to be. I mean, when I played Starcraft and Diablo on Battle.net a decade ago, you could chat, there were rooms for it, and in-game chat in Starcraft at least (I forget if Diablo had it, everyone cheated anyway) and very rarely would anyone make shitty comments, much less anything you'd see/hear from someone who is 12 years old through a microphone today. I got the first Half-Life game exclusively for its online play, and even in those matches people still kinda kept their peace. Hell, even when I played World of Warcraft in 2004 until about 2006 or so, people were generally civil - at least on the servers I played on. Sure there were the know-it-alls and the people that took the game way too seriously, but there weren't any major trolls until around 2007 or so. That's also the year around when Blizzard started touting that 11.5 million subscribers number. So, is it the popularity that's driving uncivil behavior? An influx of more people means an influx of more assholes & trolls, right? But in a lot of these games anymore, and especially in the above example and Live, jerks seem to be the core, prevailing audience, which is kinda disturbing. Throw in texting, social networking, message boards on any number of sites & the anonymity that the internet/networked gaming provides and you have an unprecedented generation of kids/teens that have no sympathy or empathy because none of their communication need be civil, because nothing they say or do has any consequence to them until they bully someone to go kill or injure themselves and it winds up on the news. I mean, god knows there have always been little sociopaths running around bullying people *because* they're sociopaths, and that won't ever change, but now people don't even get a reprieve at home, because they can hunt them down online.

My generation had their parents accused of, "having the TV be the babysitter," which lots of parents did leave their kids in front of the TV all day, but then would blame the TV programs instead of looking inward to their own lack of parenting. And the TV, "instructed kids to imitate things they saw." Well, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Instead of unattentive, moronic parents blaming the TV now, it's going both ways. Instead of just imitating what they see, kids are free to be jackasses to one another on a grand scale. And what makes this so much worse than the previous generation is... it took several decades for TV to hit its stride. Which means that your parents' parents might not have understood that "wacky fad" of TV so well, but likely your parents knew how to work the dial. I'd say a sizable chunk of parents now don't know how to turn on half the devices their kids have, let alone operate them to see that their kid help make a classmate develop bulimia.

I'm not saying society is going to collapse because of this, but this anti-social-socializing is really something that people have never had to deal with before. And to someone that spent the majority of their life having to actually interact face-to-face with people and deal with the consequences of calling someone a "fuckbag" or a "pedo" to their face - whether we had SNES controllers in our hands or not - this is more than a little foreign. Arguing face-to-face or catching a beating - or dispensing one once in a while - as a consequence of endlessly running your mouth amongst peers instills a bit of an inner censor and ironically a little civility or humility, and I think that a lot of these kids/teens could really use that "interaction", for no other reason than it would likely cause it not to occur that much anymore.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Stupidity In My City

Kotaku ran this article today about a GameStop employee getting shitcanned for weighing in on the "raeplay controversy" (about a month late) for one of his friend's college newspaper articles. Apparently she mentioned that he mentioned that he was a GameSlop employee in the article and they didn't take too kindly to that. (As most companies wouldn't when discussing something controversial) I can only assume that the girl feeds into the typical mainstream journalism mentality, because apparently she published what is quoted below, verbatim, without bothering to fact check. Stuff like this really irritates me because it feeds into the controversy with misinformed pseudo-facts, and it eventually mutates into subscribing to the theory of, "Repeat something enough times and it becomes the truth." Since I can speak a little less generally here (knowing that most of you that read this know the scoop already), everyone knows these games are made for otaku. This person clearly has no fucking idea what they're talking about, and just wanted to hear their own voice or some such. Anyone who plays any sort of "dating sims" or games of any genre around that know that they're catering to one audience, and it ain't "suppressed" peoples. If anything, it is because of censorship law that things have gotten more creative sexually, but no one follows it because they're "suppressed" or fear for their lives or anything. Really, hardly anyone has been prosecuted under this law (Article 21 of the Japanese Constitution), the Japanese just have a penchant for following laws because that's the way things are, and have been for centuries. I've seen plenty of material worse than this raeplay bs, back in the late 90s/early 2000s, trust me, this isn't "exploratory" by comparison. Go here and here (NSFW) and meet me back here in 5 minutes, and then we'll discuss how "suppressed" (and I think he means Oppressed) Japan's sexuality is. Btw, the twist - and the reason why I'm so angry - is because this fool is from my city, and my city is full of fuckwit pseudo-intellectuals that love to hear themselves speak.
 "One has to remember that Japanese culture itself is very suppressed in sexuality as a whole, to the point where they still censor their pornography with mosaics, both picture and film-wise," Littlejohn said. "If you continually suppress a country in terms of sexuality, they'll just find different ways of exploring things themselves. RapeLay is just one of those ways of people expressing themselves, to see new things."
One has to remember, weeaboos that have never spoken to a real Japanese person talk out of their stupid asses. Now I know that fans of teh animu will step out of animuland to read some sort of Japanese culture/history article written by someone equally as ignorant as they are about it as they are, and I think that's cute. But be ignorant on your own fucking time, and most importantly don't be like Kramer from Seinfeld and say that, "Oranges are rare in Japan," or something equally retarded to be published in an article where more ignoramii can read it and misquote it. I was actually surprised at the amount of nudity in places that you'd never find in Puritanica (aka - the US), when I went to Japan for the first time. The biggest example of which were almost completely nude, very large,  photos of idols posted up around the top of a bookstore in the middle of a mall, just out in the open in the middle of Kagoshima on Kyushu.

Time for a little education: Japan censors porn because they HAVE to. Before 1868 & the Meiji Restoration, things like sexual depiction in art weren't at all suppressed. For the most part, Japan has always had a "decorum" about the privacy of relations between people. It extends back to at least the 1100s, as exemplified in The Tale of Genji, where the male & female characters at time didn't even speak face to face, and did so through a curtain or door. In 1868, during the Meiji Restoration, the nation tried to Westernize, and as such began adopting Victorian values of the time. This included censorship. After World War 2 a constitution, by and large not written by Japan but by the allies (specifically, the US), kept Japan from having any sort of national military amongst other things, which included upholding the censorship laws of the bygone Victorian law-adoption days. You may think it's strange that Japan has tentacle porn, but without this law, they likely wouldn't. Things like bukkake and tentacles are creative ways of getting around the law of not being able to show genitalia (or drawings of) on film. This is also why, if you've ever seen live Japanese porn, there are mosaics over the naughty bits, like you're watching an episode of "Cops" where a penis committed a crime. So yeah, not suppression so much as just following laws, as Japan has had a very law-abiding society for centuries.

Additionally, Japanese society is not sexually repressed (except maybe in their interpersonal relationships, but that has nothing to do with censoring porn) by anything other than a lot of men working too much and - as of late, more and more "herbivore men" who aren't all that interested in sex, coming about. There is no overarching theocracy or social view on sexuality being a bad thing. No, rather, in modern Japan, sexuality is "displaced" by a couple of things. There is the aforementioned ongoing tiredness by overworked men, whose wives are then dissatisfied by their husbands and potentially leave them. These men are also "forced" to go to nomikai, or after work meetings to drink and well, we all know what drinking does to a lot of mens' sexual performance. My cousin's family hosted a Japanese girl in the late 90s and came back in the early 2000s to go to college here. She was an only child, and unfortunately she died in a car accident during her freshman year here. It's about 7 years on now, and Mariko would've been 27 this year. Her father was a professor and her mother is a housewife. Their problem - especially now without a child to focus on - is that the husband always worked so much that he and the wife never got to know each other. So now, he's retired and they're at home together and there's this innate awkwardness because they've never really known each other as more than the parts of the machine that they comprised to make life go on. And apparently, at least according to the husband, this is quite prevalent in Japan. Another problem is that in the traditional sense, when you get married in Japan, you're considered part of the family. This often includes relatives living with you in more than a "nuclear family" sense. In a lot of Western countries, when you get married you move in to your own place with your new spouse and if a parent comes to live with you or whatever it's not until much later or unless a relative gets sick or something. When you're part of a family like that, I guess things can get sexually awkward, or you see each other a certain way and it's hard to alter that. In more recent times, though, there has been a large societal shift toward equality, with more people doing part time jobs as opposed to making long careers out of tenure, attempts at entrepreneurship, etc. Historically, Japanese women have been more caretakers & "OLs", or office ladies. In more recent times, women have made progress, though, and unfortunately, to be taken seriously about a career they have to eschew having a family. People are also opting not to have families because they feel the pressure of social responsibility, i.e. - not feeling up to the social or financial responsibilities of children.

I honestly don't even know what Mr. Littlejohn was referring to with that, "finding new ways of exploring sexuality" remark, because if Japanese society was TRULY repressed sexually, then this game wouldn't have existed (at least not in the larger sense where anyone outside of a VERY small circle of people would've known about it) in the first place. Most of this sort of stuff is made by otaku, for otaku, lolicons, moetaku, etc, that are most certainly NOT representative of Japanese societal norms. (In fact, if you bring anything close to this or "loli" or "moe" up with a typical Japanese person, their reaction is almost universally, 「気持ちわる!」 or 「あれはキモい」, which basically means "Ew, disgusting.") It seems like he's trying to say that because some Japanese guy's wife/girlfriend won't put out, he gets pissy and runs out and buys a raeplay/rapelay game to take out his frustration or something.

Additionally, this is nothing new to the East or West. People get all up in arms about this, but really, things like Usenet groups and IRC have been publicly around for years and years - almost since the inception of the internet - here and some areas of those contain the most disgusting things a human being could produce. And they require no "language patch" or even that much technical skill to access. They're right out there for a kid or teenager to find, JUST like the torrent of this one game. (In fact, I'd say that it takes a comparable amount of technical knowhow with software to get a torrent as it does to operate IRC or Usenet and download absolutely filthy things) But, as usual, because there isn't some illustrated diagram out there of a woman getting violated, the generally stupid public doesn't get outraged, because that'd require them to actually understand something aside from what's directly in front of their faces.

Finally, I live in the same city as this seemingly-pretentious, wannabe jackass, and I'm really unsurprised. This city is full of pseudo-academics and fervent "wikischolars". I'm actually pretty sure that all of the people on the east coast that have failed life's little tests and ended up at a GameSlop, Best Buy or any given cell phone dealer, all moved here. If they really know as much as they think they do or their opinions are as valuable as they all act like they are, they wouldn't all be working for $8 an hour selling box sets of The Sopranos.