By Kyle B. Stiff
The small part of the internet that isn’t devoted to masturbation is on fire with nerd outrage over the new Xbox One! Of course we know that this outrage can only result in people waiting in lines overnight, freezing their asses off in an attempt to throw their money at the new gaming system as soon as possible (while complaining the whole time). But don’t worry: A guy who’s self-deluded enough to consider himself the actual “voice of reason” on the internet has come up with a plan on what to do with that outrage, and yes, it involves saving money and playing a ton of awesome video games, so you better take your socks off for this one because they’re going to get knocked off otherwise.
First off, the Xbox One is out of touch with its era. The PlayStation 4, or the 4Play as Sony is calling it, might make the same mistake as well. The mistake goes kind of like this: A lot of us grew up in an era when technology in general, and gaming in particular, sucked balls. My first gaming system, the Intellivision, had over one million games, but each of those games was a variation on the theme that you were a poor person trapped in a maze built by wealthy psychopaths who were hunting you for sport. Both you and the hunters were displayed as dots on the screen. There was no way to win any of these games; you could only try to survive by running for your life for as long as possible. Me, and plenty of other old people, played these games for hours on end, and we hated every minute of it.
So we always dreamed of a better future. The NES was a lot better, but let’s face it – Mario sucked balls, too. The first Mario game was a new experience and had lots of great features, but it was in no way superior to reading a book while taking a good shit. As each new, upgraded system came out, we got more and more excited because games got so much cooler. We even dreamed of a day when we would someday walk into our room and say, “Computer, load program: Mass Effect,” and then a hologram of Garrus Vakarian would appear and say, “Hey there USER: YOUR REAL NAME, are you ready to hunt some bad guys?!” He would then toss us a futuristic assault rifle and we would proceed to kill monsters that looked eerily similar to the bully who was serial-raping us at school.
But the future isn’t really like that, is it? The shocking thing is that we’re living in the future right now. And I’m not trying to be cynical about it, either. Games have reached an amazing peak! They look good, they’re fun, and the controls aren’t endlessly frustrating. There’s a (somewhat) decent balance between big studios with access to mountains of money making blockbuster titles and games made by loners or small groups with the tools to make something decent on the cheap. Tech-wise, shit isn’t going to get any better than it is now. This might sound ridiculous, but unless tons of money and energy are pumped into the development of a new type of technology on the scale of another Manhattan Project, you’re not going to see anything that will shatter your paradigms. Sorry graphics-whores! Holo-games need money, and it’s a sad fact that the real world is falling apart. We’re running out of resources and nations are going bankrupt and corporations are seeing profits only because they use sweat shops and tax-avoidance loopholes. We’re dreaming of colonizing Mars when we couldn’t even return to the Moon if we had to do it to save our species. We may be forced to be satisfied with games staying much the same as they are now… and that’s fine with me.
And that’s why it seems strange to me that the Xbox One is trying to get us all so excited. First off, I’ve been around long enough to know that the fancier systems never work as expected in the first year. All you guys standing in line to buy this shit on the day it comes out are going to end up writing a lot of angry letters (or “tweets” as we say in the future) because there’s going to be problems. Increased complexity equals increased horseshit hassles; that’s the truth about technology.
I’ve heard a lot about the Xbox One responding to voice commands, and let me tell you right now – there is no better way to get your console to come on than an “on” button which responds to your finger. Pushing a button with your God-given appendage is some next-level bleeding-edge tech that cannot be topped. In fact, this may be a lie, but I’m going to go out on a limb and state, for the record, that saying to your Xbox One, “Xbox, turn on,” will not result in your game system booting up with any greater efficiency than saying any other random phrase. The question, “Have you cleaned the litterbox?” followed by the response, “Not this week, no,” will just as often result in your Xbox One booting up, finding a problem with its internet connection, and playing the last anal fisting video you stored on its massive hard drive. Really, creating any machine that responds to voice commands is a sad attempt at creating a fantastic future-world that simply cannot exist. As long as you have a finger and are capable of using it, then a simple on/off button interface is a technological peak that is seemingly unimpressive only because it is so quietly and so confidently devoid of pretension.
There’s also this: Those new game systems are going to be cheaper, work better, and have less annoying functions (like always-on internet connections) in a year or two after they launch. It’s a cold, hard fact that every Xbox 360 sold during the initial launch ended up showing the “red ring of RROD of death” moments before their smoking innards spilled out the ass-end in a convulsing, slimy heap. Fast forward ten years or so, and you can now drop kick an Xbox 360 after slamming it against the wall and it will still play Call of Madden multiplayer without even being online. Surely you live in poverty deep enough that you can wait a year or two before helping these technophiliac cocksuckers make their next yacht payment? It’s not like your current system sucks; you have a huge backlist of games you could be playing while waiting for the new systems to get their kinks worked out AND develop a decent library of games.
Don’t believe me? Christ, are you serious!? A lot of you fans of J-RPGs have over one hundred Shin Megami Tensei and Persona games that are vastly superior to Final Fantasy which you haven’t even tried out yet. Own a DS? Play Infinite Space. It’ll blow your mind and haunt your soul for years. Play Mass Effect or Assassin’s Creed if you’ve been living in a cave and have somehow missed them. If you’re the proud owner of a PS3, you’re one lucky bastard who has access to a heap of amazing exclusives that the rest of us fucking idiots will never be able to play: Journey, the HD version of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, the Uncharted games, Infamous, and the annoying yet ridiculously fun Valkyria Chronicles. There’s also a shit-ton of Monster Hunter games that are soul-destroying time sinks that are so fun they can ruin healthy relationships and have the added benefit of being filled with annoying Japanese “quirks” you can point and laugh at.
Now, I know you’ve got your own backlog list of games that you’re working on, so let me give you a tip: Cross off every “open-world” game on there. You’ve already played enough of them. Whenever someone throws around the term “gamer’s fatigue”, it always has to do with some shitty over-hyped sandbox game that had an amazing trailer but which is never all that fun. The beginning is usually pretty boring (anyone remember the beginning of Red Dead Redemption?), the middle is packed with fetch quests, and the end is never all that good because the studios always forget to hire real writers to write them.
So that’s what this idiot thinks. What do the rest of you idiots think? Is saving the money you don’t really have just a strange sub-culture that has absolutely no relevance in this amazing future-world of voice-activated horseshit? Note that you can leave a comment by saying aloud, “Kyle’s blog, activate program: LEAVE A COMMENT.” When your computer responds, “HELLO FRIEND, WHAT USERNAME PLEASE DO YOU USING?” then simply state your full name and this blog will automatically give you a funny and culturally relevant username with a 69 on the end for added comedic value. Please contact your network administrator if you experience any difficulties.
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Hey readers! If you liked this post, you should check out some of my books. I’ve got an epic series called Demonworld, which is equal parts Mad Max and Lord of the Rings (think “science fantasy”), and a much-loved gamebook series called Heavy Metal Thunder which is currently a hyperlinked Kindle book but will be a fancy phone app any day now.