Guilty Gamer

You know I love indie video games.

Ultimately this here is a review of some recent indie video games, but it sure doesn’t start that way.

Video games are worth loving, but loving them comes with shame. Not passing regret or social embarrassment, but a sharp-edged physical guilt: the hunch-backed, raw-fingered, burning-eyed pain that comes at the sad and greasy end of an all-night binge. You have ostentatiously, really viciously wasted your life; you might as well have been masturbating for the last nine hours—your hands, at least, would feel better.

Waste is not a byproduct—it’s the point: playing video games is a revolt against life. All art forms, even the polite ones, are escapist in that each answers some fundamental objection to the world and its limits. Novels let you know, granting access to inner lives and narrative arcs otherwise hidden and guessed at. Films let you see, permitting you to stare at the world and its inhabitants as long and as hard and as many times as you want. The gratification provided by video games is particularly sweet because the objection that drives them is more urgent. What they offer is purpose […] To play them is to live in a world with knowable rules and achievable goals: to ask, Dear God, what should I do with my life? And be greeted with a tutorial, a pre-mission briefing, and a shot at a high score.

Well said.

[Read more from Gabriel Winslow-Yost @ n+1]

[Comic about Minecraft via Penny Arcade]

October 7, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Reading. Leave a comment.

Detroit – Club Thunderbolt


Then he leaned into the open doorway of his bedroom and emerged holding a double-barreled shotgun. “I’ve always got this ready to go,” he said. “I sleep with numerous weapons.” […]

It’s not exactly anarchy, but the place doesn’t operate by the rules of a normal American city.

Epic recounting of an experience one can only have in Detroit.

The cover was twenty dollars, another ten for a lap dance (with G-string on), or twenty (G-string off.) Jay, who also collected ten percent of the girls’ tips, insisted the place was not a brothel, which sounded dubious to me; he also booked larger parties for labor unions (iron workers, tree cutters, carpenters) and bachelors. Before opening Club Thunderbolt, Jay had worked as a bodyguard for a crooked cop and was the owner of a porn theater.

He led us inside. Club Thunderbolt still looked very much like the home of someone’s elderly parents, the decor frozen in time circa the Nixon Administration. The dimly lit family room in the back of the house, where the girls performed, had no stage or stripper pole, just thick blue-and-gray shag carpeting, wood-paneled walls, a sloped drop-ceiling with water-stained tiles, an old stuffed couch of the grandmother variety, and a dining room table decorated with a pair of candles. A white towel was draped over the center of the table, covering a mysterious lump.

Great read, but you may need a shower afterwards.

[Mark Binelli @ n+1 via the Browser]

[Image and raw source material from Detroitblog]

September 8, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , . Reading. Leave a comment.