I Don't Care What You Get Off To

Dear unnamed members of the game industry,

We need to have a little chat. For the past year, it's become increasingly popular to talk about which video game characters you want to bone down with. Not only that, but to write pretentious defenses of why you're so high and mighty for getting off to something. On the world wide web, the content you want with your name on it is a stinkpiece on banging an alien or why you can't find your perfect "waifu" in Persona 5.

Look. I'm not a prude. I can get kinky and nasty with the best of 'em. But where I start having problems with sexuality is when people go on self-congratulatory screeds about being turned on. Usually, in my writing, I try to defend my points as well as humanly possible. It's kind of my job. This isn't really a topic that I can do that with, though. There's nothing wrong with being turned on by stuff, unless said stuff's illegal. So in lieu of an airtight, A to Z defense of my point, I'll try something different on for size.

Really, dude?

You really think anyone actually wants to know what you get off to? You're a professional, somebody who represents the business of talking about, making, and critiquing video games, and this is the kind of content you want to put out? I think the self-serious, borderline corporate discourse surrounding the medium needs to change, but is changing it in the direction of "I want to bone this video game character" really a great idea? Of all the ways to make people lighten up about games, you think talking about cumming is really the best route?

Or let's say you do care about gaming as some high and mighty art form. Treat it like art with a capital "A." Treat everything this industry puts out like serious business. You think that sharing your "artistic" takes on video game characters' vaginas and talking about why you love fucking teachers in a video game makes any of that seriousness come across? Did Roger Ebert ever write a review on how a movie made him horny? Did Umberto Eco write a critical essay on why it's great that something he read gave him a boner? Does Gloria Steinem write articles on how progressive and feminist it is to get off to a book, game, or movie? No. None of those things ever happened, because they're well-adjusted adults whose bodies of work generally don't consist of pedantic, infantile wank fests.

And look, I get it. I do. Gaming, as a medium, is still in its relative infancy. We are right now where movies were in the 30's - spectacles built around showing off technological wizardry that are cranked out on a weekly basis to satisfy a consumer need. But just like that medium grew with informed critique and general dissatisfaction with the status quo, so can this one. In its current state, though, that's not happening at a fast enough rate. Game discourse is so fucking bad right now that we see a need to go on thesis-long Twitter defenses of being horny for a video game character, that the most widely talked about part of what is one of the most morally complicated and philosophically challenging works of art that the medium has ever produced is the protagonist's freaking butt. That's sad to me. That's... That's beyond sad. It's pathetic, really, if I'm being honest.

I'll be the last one to say that video games should be put on a pedestal as some superior art form. I mean, let's face it, most of them are garbage. And I'll also be the last to say that getting horny for a video game character is some kind of awful thing. Hell, my first crush was Regina from Dino Crisis. I literally brought that game's instruction manual to my kindergarten, just so I could show it to my friends and say she was my girlfriend. I... was a lonely child. But I digress.

When we, as an industry, shine a spotlight on our fetishes and air our masturbatory fantasies out for the whole world to see, what does this show to the rest of the world? It shows that we, at our heart, are still a bunch of horny teenagers. A bunch of horny teenagers who plaster our walls in posters of half-naked video game characters while screaming, at the top of our lungs, "god, mom, you just don't understand! This is art!" Your proverbial mom in this situation is never going to see this, because she's too busy watching you jizz in a sock at whatever poorly-written trope BioWare pulls out of its ass. 

If you really want people to treat games like a maturing, complicated medium, stop engaging in immature, uncomplicated rhetoric about them. It's exhausting. And frankly, I don't really want to picture you playing with your junk over a game you just played. I don't care.

I don't care what you get off to.

I just don't give a fuck.


Elias B

Addendum (8/5/17): It's come to my attention that Nick Robinson, one of the primary sources for this bad discourse, has been outed as being a complete and total creep. A grown-ass man going on the internet and using his public forum to talk about hentai, waifus, and jerking off to cartoon foxes being gross certainly doesn't shock me, but it is... upsetting. It's upsetting because I can't help but wonder how many other grown men who feel empowered by Robinson's output and emulate his behavior are, themselves, creeps who use their positions to harass and/or assault women and/or men. It's distressing that the game industry turned a blind eye to what, in my view, were red flags and that so many women got hurt because of it. Next time you want to give us your hot take about what you jerk off to, maybe give it a second thought about how it makes you look, and what kind of message you're sending to the world.

Oh, and if you're going to give me an "innocent until proven guilty" spiel about this whole fucking mess, save it. I'll believe potential victims over potential criminals any day of the week.


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