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Growing Up

August 31, 2008

I was at the gym today, talking with my friend about our usual routine of staying in, playing video games, drinking, etc. and how we’d be better off going out and being, for lack of a better term, more social. I was inclined to agree. However, the part that made me think was when he said that staying in and playing video games was “too childish” now that there is more stuff for us to do where we can be carded successfully. I agree that staying up until 2am playing Super Smash Brothers Brawl is probably not the best use of our time, but are video games always childish, even if they’re rated M or AO?

Here’s the other thing. It’s inevitable that, at some point, we’ll be playing some game I helped create. Obviously we’re all gamers, so we’re not going to give up gaming, and they’ll want to play whatever I’ve made just because I helped make it. The issue I see with this is that I’ll probably be sick of said game by the time they start playing it. Think about it: I’ve already played it a thousand times, in various forms, through various bugs, at various levels of detail. So what’s acceptable gaming to them is really just nostalgia for me, a completely different experience. Plus I’ll already be better at it than they will be. Definitely one of the problems I’ve had playing “Stalin’s Stash” with anyone except Julia.

I love games. I love playing games. I love making games. But where’s the line between making, playing, and living?

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8 Comments
  1. The rating of a game has nothing to do with how childish it is.
    The choice of content is only a choice and a tool.

    You can be completely immature with your use of sex and gore, or you can use it to create something that is meaningful and real and resonant with the lives of actual humans.
    But even something rated E could accomplish that with just as much effort.

    A lot, if not most, sex and violence in games is done in a way that makes them more childish in my mind then the at least innocent and healthy play in more cartoony games like Smash Bros. or something.

  2. I’m going to go ahead and disagree with the notion that sex and violence make games more childish.

    Too many people see gore and sex as reflection of immaturity. So how did you come to that conclusion? Do you think people do it for shock value? Many people think things are done for shock value but I’ll bet on most of it being done to entertain a select few people that enjoy it. I absolutely refuse to believe that violence and sex in games is unhealthy (not even if it is violent sex). Why can’t we just laugh at sex and violence? Is that so immature to find humor in such things? Who decided this? Where can I find the handbook on how to be a mature individual?

    If finding humor and entertainment in violence, sex, gore and porn is immature then I don’t think I’ll ever grow up. As an artist I appreciate the human body and the effects it has on my mind no matter how silly it may be. I guess the best thing is to understand people think different things are immature for different reasons. I’ve yet to hear a decent reason why violence and sex is immature.

    Anyway, where is the line between making, playing and living? Lines are meant to be crossed frequently. As long someone is drawing these lines there will be some other asshole(me) crossing them.

    To better understand the question you must first understand what the purpose of each is.

    Making games is something you wish to do to make money and express ideas. You want to get paid to do something you know a lot about, desire to learn a lot more about and genuinely enjoy doing. I haven’t heard anyone say they make games because its easy or because they hate them. I make games because its fun, I think I’m pretty good at it, I want to get better and because it is a method of artistic expression. It leaks a bit into playing because often when I’m ‘working’ I’m also having fun.

    Playing is generally absolutely about entertainment. There are different ways to play (Socially, Competitively or Solo) but fact is you don’t play to get bored. So is playing a round of Golf really that much more mature than playing a FPS or a game of D & D? Either way its a game that can be a competitive and social experience meant to entertain the player. I personally don’t see the difference between going out clubbing or staying home and playing Rock Band with a group of friends. You can socialize, drink and meet people this way (Usually not the random encounters though). It all boils down to who you are as a person and what you enjoy doing. I suppose others might have an opinion that would label you as childish or immature for playing games but the question is “Do these assholes really matter?”

    Living is something we always learn more and more about. I doubt anyone out there knows everything about living. But really I think the entire purpose of living is to determine what makes you happy and then doing it. It sounds terribly selfish but only if you are actually a selfish individual. I enjoy helping people from time to time so that certainly isn’t selfish though I do it because it makes me fell good.

    Question is do you really want to listen to anyone else tell you how to live, play or make money? Can someone tell you that how you are living your life is childish? If so who gave them the authority to make that judgment? Does their opinion on what you do or do not do really matter at all? I would have to say no.

    I guess what I am trying to get at is that the only person that can answer your question is yourself. The answer is probably a little or a lot different for everyone.

  3. Hey, I never said you couldn’t find sex and violence funny, Thommy.
    I would never say such a thing. I am practically fanatical in my belief that no topic is off limits from humor.

    That said, I won’t back down on my claim that it’s not childish either. Funny usually is, by definition, childish. =)
    Your mistake might be thinking that I’m considering childish to be a negative thing, because it does have that connotation.

    But I don’t see it that way, necessarily.
    Sometimes childish is great. Often healthy.
    That is WHY I’m fanatical about not making any topic taboo for comedy. Laughter is some people’s weapon and I think it’s cruel to take that away.

    And I don’t see gore and sex as a sign of immaturity. They can be used immaturely, but by themselves they are not. They just are. Part of the spectrum of what it is to be human and to be a living organism.
    And I believe that our culture does have problems accepting them as something that just is like that.

    THAT is a reason why taking them less seriously can indeed be healthy.

    But othertimes the same mentality can be unhealthy.
    For example, I think most sex in games is of the more childish variety, and in the dangerous way. It’s so very often misogynistic. There’s plenty of misogynistic humor out there, and eh, I’ll support people’s right to have it, but I still think it’s no good and leading to some ugly problems in the world.

  4. When I think childish I think meant for children or something that is to be consumed by children.

  5. Ah, yeah. I don’t think I ever use that word that way.

  6. “Immaturity” and “childish” are two completely different things, the way I see it. If something is childish, it’s meant for children. Therefore things like gore and sex should not be labeled as childish because we don’t want children playing games, watching movies, or doing things associated with those things. They could theoretically be labeled as “immature” if they are depicted in such a way, but for the most part they are mature themes and we, as a society, tend to label them as such. We all agree we don’t want 10-year-olds playing GTA or Manhunt (not that we necessarily want to ban them from doing so, we just don’t recommend it, and I don’t include Manhunt 2 because every bit of violence is censored out so as far as I’m concerned it should be Teen-rated).

    I think both violence and sex can be handled maturely, especially in games. Look at Far Cry 2, for example, where you have to heal yourself with bandages, pop out dislocated shoulders, etc. all from the firefights you get into. For sex, I think Mass Effect handles it most maturely of anything I’ve seen. The main difference I see here is that in these instances the subjects are not treated as jokes but as real things. When these kinds of subjects are treated realistically, you get a mature, well-thought-out piece of work, be it a movie, a game, a book, whatever, and you can honestly say, “This is not for children.”

  7. I suppose maturity is somewhat based on one’s opinion. While someone might think that excesses gore/sex/violence without justification is immature others might not. While someone might think casting a vote for the lesser of two evils is immature others might not. I guess all of this depends on personal stances on various issues and personal tastes regarding art.

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