Insomnia | Commentary

Desperation is a Stinky Cologne

By Nick Nasty / October 12, 2009

This article was originally published on SEGABASTARD.

In a recent ABC News video, some IGN nerd equates "the Metroid Prime Trilogy" with Citizen Kane.

I'm not a big fan of Citizen Kane. But I'm less a fan of that burning desire game nerds have to get their hobby viewed as "art" by old people. I don't understand the appeal of either, but right there is a video of both being discussed.

Maybe the ultimate goal is to get "game journalism" taken more seriously; to that end, games must be taken more seriously. And so the campaign marches forward, bringing it to an absurd point where one of IGN's goobers is somehow on ABC News comparing three video games to one movie. Throughout the video, IGN dude isn't able to make a tangible connection between any of the four products involved other than that in them, people are trying to figure stuff out and it's dark sometimes. Perhaps he should have focused on the disconnect.

Citizen Kane is remembered most for the way it changed the way movies were made. The transitions, filming angles, filming techniques, framing, the now/then cutting, etc. Though I did not like the movie, I can appreciate that it brought a lot of new ideas to filming that basically changed the way films could be made after that.

The Metroid Prime games did not do this. While it's true that they are FPS games without much emphasis on the S (unusual), there's nothing new in them that anyone wants to mimic. In this aspect, Halo deserves the comparison more than any other FPS, since the list of shooters aping its innovations is vast. Halo's story is also far more engaging and actually exists outside of gaming as well. But Halo doesn't deserve a comparison to any movie any more than any movie deserves a comparison to any game.

Constantly begging people to take your hobby seriously is the biggest tell that people shouldn't take your hobby seriously. It stinks of immaturity and desperation, like a 10-year old in the throes of a tantrum because his seat is still at the kids' table. It seems like just about everyone has a game console of some sort in the living room now; the days of not being "accepted" by normal humans are long gone. But there are a few old dudes who don't care, so IGN sends a greasy-haired fellow to make them chuckle and convince no one.

If any game deserves this ridiculous comparison, it's Super Mario Bros., for obvious reasons. But that was never the point of this segment. The point was that IGN got two minutes in the limelight on a "web exclusive" for ABC News and used it to promote a Wii game/port collection that one of its editors really liked. Maybe they figured that someone might take them seriously if they could convince them that this game was that good. Instead, the guy just sounds like a creepy 24 year old babysitter who is going to make games sound more ridiculous than anything.

Also, guys, Tron is the Tron of gaming.

Begging the world to take gaming seriously is a fruitless endeavor. It won't advance gaming in any way, it won't make games better. It will just (possibly) inflate the salaries of people who write about games. For the rest of us, the best way to make games better is to buy good games, which will encourage the production of more good games. It's a simple equation that costs no dignity.