The Democracy of Video Games

There is a game breaking glitch in Dead Space 2 that has (apparently) never been fixed. Sometimes the game leaves out important elements when it generates the area local to a save point–in my case, it didn’t create some puzzle-crucial batteries. If you really care about my specific problem, refer to this video.

After flying around a room for way too long looking for replacement power cores, I went to the trusty internet. I’m not going to waste more than ten minutes on a bloody puzzle in a moderately fun game with a very low reward threshold. I found multiple threads on different forums explaining that the glitch is simply a problem with the game in its many platform incarnations. If I can’t solve it by loading a previous save, I am simply fucked. And I guess that is all well and good. It would make me incredibly angry, but what could I do about it?

However, in my searching led me to a number of threads that all had the same tonal quality in the responses: whatever your issue is, it must be a problem with you. The various responses blame scratches on the game disc, the user not looking closely enough, and even accusations that video of the problem is created by liars who are being disingenuous when they claim that there could be a problem with the game.

This is the perfect encapsulation of the video game community as a whole. Do you think that Tomb Raider is sexist? A problem with the user. Do you think that Resident Evil 5 is racist? Don’t try to look for race everywhere–that must be a you problem. Do you think that the treatment of LGBTQ characters in most games is fucked up? That’s a you problem.

There is something brutally conservative about this mindset, and I honestly don’t know where the blind worship of middling aesthetic experiences comes from. Why are people so invested in things that have no investment in them? Maybe it is a “hero” problem, as Michael Moorcock so clearly outlines in his “Starship Stormtroopers.” We grab heroes, which can be aesthetic objects as much as they can be embodied beings, and hold on to them as tightly as possible, claiming no fault in them because we have a moderate investment in their being–any sin against the object is a sin against my ego. This is happening all the time–the classic nerd claim that someone is “raping their childhood” or the abuse heaped on the writer who reviewed The Avengers moderately are both prime examples.

And this is what democracy really looks like, in its most pure form, where everyone’s voice is heard equally. A cacophony where your individual experience is eliminated in favor of a brutal hivemind that operates on very specific, very violent, cultural lines.

Have a happy fourth of July! Also, it is Koko’s birthday!

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