Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wait... What's Going On?

Here's a picture of two ferrets sleeping next to one another. Their names are Syphilis and Donovanosis.

They have nothing to do with what I am about to write, I don't think, but they make a good picture because they are sleeping ferrets and they're adorable, especially the fat one. Look at how fat he is! He is gargantuan! He is mega-fat-ferret!

Anyway, I'm just going to write about a few things that have been getting me incredibly annoyed. Mostly final exams and the whole final exam system. That's about as stupid a system as has ever been invented. Yes, let's make people tear their hair out and lose time from their lives because we require them to memorize everything you'd ever need to know about John Milton's Paradise Lost, even down to specific quotations. Because, right there, that is more important than things like: working, living, breathing, doing anything else... etc. I'm sorry, I hate to be that guy, but it makes no sense to me. Why do I have to memorize this stuff when the professors themselves don't even know it? I digress. That's not the rant I want to pull out today.

I've been spending my time mostly between studying, writing papers, and every once in a while playing an hour or two of video games, mostly Mass Effect 2 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I'll put reviews out for both in the eventually, but that's not my point either. My point is video games as a genre... or maybe it's ferrets. Maybe that's what the past month has been for me: all about sleeping fat ferrets. I'll have to think about that one.

Video games are really good today. They are really good. Look at that "really" that I wrote there. It's kind of important for those sentences to work. The "really" implies both truth and a statement way above that of simply good. While movies and books go to hell, video games move to a place of importance. Well, not all movie and books are bad. Older books still rock my socks, and there are some good authors out there that consistently write the bees' knees kinds of books... men like Stephen King and arguably Clive Barker. F. Paul Wilson too. That man can write a solid novel. I suppose there are others, but I can't think of them at the moment. Books are a dying art-form, being replaced wholesale by digital media. That sounds like a good thing... until you realize the future of what books will become. Why do you think that books are more and more like fanfiction? Why do you suppose that the writing has gotten worse and worse over time? Well, there are easy answers to this. First is the demand among teenage girls (the most likely to read books and read in general) is trending towards crappy supernatural romance crap. This started, arguably, with Harry Potter (I'm still working on my reviews for that series. Just you wait, children. Just you wait.), but became noticeable with Twilight and the crappy television shows and movies that are all about romancing a vampire or some crap like that. I mean, yes, teenage girls are the worst decision makes in the world (unless you reading this are a teenage girl, in which case: keep on trucking!), but at least they read. They also are so much more likely to read or write fanfictions, draw or look at fan-art. Deviantart, a website full of fan-made stuff and some original stuff, is mostly made up of teenage girls.

Now, this isn't what I wanted to rant about either, but it's a good start. It isn't that teenage girls are ruining are society, it's more like society is trending towards teenage girls. Teenage guys are into naked women, crappy music, and video games. but teenage girls... they are exactly where society is. They are in between, wanting to fulfill fantasies that can never be fulfilled. They will end up, like most of society, disappointed that they can never truly be happy, and will find out eventually that, yes, they are going to lose their beauty and die a lonely death more than likely.

Now, that's a sad reality. It's a blunt truth. But I'm a twenty-something guy who's been jaded longer than many of the people I know have been alive. I can't get angry about the way society and books are moving. They are trending towards the teenage girl market and the market of digital media, which in turn is going to make every book that comes out averagely worse as a result... but there are reasons for this. It's sad, but it's reality. Good stories, good novels, good paper books... well, they're history and it's awful.

Movies are in even worse shape. Hollywood, that overencumbered fat-bottomed idiot, seems to have no desire for even the simplest of intelligences. They want to make money. They need to make money. And mindless drivel makes money. That's why there are no profound movies that do well in theaters. Writing is dead in movies, replaced by big names, mindless CGI, and flashy girls. And what do we care? Movies are either sequels, rehashes, or the same plot done over and over again. The only place where an intelligently minded director or writer can get his or her kicks is in the independent film market, which makes little in the way of money. No, better to release drivel that makes millions, hundreds of millions, than release a movie on par with Casablanca or even Dirty Harry. There are some filmmakers that are consistently good, but for the most part the value of movies has gone down. I just want to see better movies. I want to see something that piques my interest. Instead, all I've seen is nothing. It's awful.

Music and television seems to be moving along as they always have, so I'll not speak of them.

Then there are video games. They are the place to release content, intelligent content, content for the person who wants a brain challenge, who wants something viscerally pleasing (not just in terms of viscera either). Portal 2 is a great example of fantastic writing, intelligent story, and brilliant everything else. It brings more to the table than simple drivel. It has becomes something over the course of its existence. It has become an interesting story to follow, one that shows elements of character, AI, and the bleak future. And it's fantastic. Let's look at Skyrim. As buggy as it may be, it has a world that is, for all intent purposes, almost as real as our own. Characters have personalities and you can care for them just like you might care for your own friends or family. The game is brilliant a bountiful, showing so much more than just a simple fantasy realm. It shows a life, a story... Fallout: New Vegas brings philosophy into the gaming world, both in terms of political philosophy and in terms of actual philosophy. Mass Effect, as a series, provides us with science... maybe not the best science, but at least something approximating science. Certainly as hard science fiction as any video game can manage. And there are others besides, classy games like Red Dead Redemption or LA Noire. I may not love either game. They're a bit too mainstream and free-roaming-without-any-characters-that-I-care-about for my taste, but they show that the future of gaming looks fantastic. There can be improvements and for the most part, besides the gimmicks that Nintendo seems to love offering, the future of gaming is as bright as it gets. There is a right direction for these things and a wrong direction, and it seems that gaming as a whole is working towards innovation, improvement, and overall quality rather than drivel.

I think that's my rant. I hope you liked my ferrets. One was fat and both were sleeping, and I'm am going to start posting more, just let me get through final exams, which ends in like two days for me. Then I'll start posting like mad again. I promise... probably...

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