I don't get as worked up about video games these days, now that I can afford to simply pay a real Italian man to fight a gorilla in my yard. And I honestly didn't want to write another gaming article, because I've done two in the past three weeks. But just as I was all set to bust out a 3,000-word Adventure Time erotic fanfic, Nintendo showed up at E3 and cock-punched the entire planet with stupid.
I don't have anything at stake here -- the odds were low I was ever going to buy their next game console. But I am mesmerized by ridiculous disasters, and this is a company that, with the release of their Wii U system, is orchestrating one of the all-time greats.
Take a good long look at the following screenshot from their presentation. Take your time and really savor it, taking in every pixel as if each represented a single bite of a home-cooked meal before a five-year prison sentence:
That is the last time you will ever see that screen without it being covered in dicks. I'm not speaking metaphorically, and I'm not using "dicks" as another way of saying "rude people." I'm talking about penises.
Nintendo has decided that their console not only has to be a social tool, but also auto logs you the second you turn on the machine. And even though that's not what I'm looking for in a gaming system, I can handle that to a certain extent. It will have your family, friends and gaming acquaintances all in one group so you can see who's online and what game they're playing. But it also adds complete strangers who have the ability to not only text you, but also draw pictures. For a quick example of how that turns out, find any drawing game anywhere online and join any group of people from any culture or socioeconomic class you can think of for just 10 minutes.
How it turns out is dicks. Lots and lots of dicks. And you will see them with 100 percent certainty. But with this new system, we have finally encountered, for the first time in human history, a situation in which a lack of dicks on your welcome screen represents something far worse than being saturated by them:
Dick admins. Since the Nintendo U will be automatically social, it means that your screen will be auto-populated by little kids and those who are easily offended. So in order to curb the massive volume of cartoon anal sex floating around in text balloons, it means they're going to have to include a "Report Player" button. And just like in every other social game on the planet, it will be some poor bastard's job to moderate and ban players who dick-bomb people's living rooms, unless Nintendo has invented some sort of high-tech dick recognition software to help automate the process.
That's bad news for people like me who looked forward to drawing massive erections in my text bubble and then positioning it over my friend's head so it looks like he's dreaming of dicks. Because now if I do that, some 6-year-old kid from Idaho is going to see it, and I'll risk losing my account. On the machine that I just bought -- that I have no intention of ever playing with a random stranger as long as I live.
I touched on this in my Diablo III article, but that means that for the first time in gaming history, the people who make the games are controlling how you play them. Even on single-player titles. And I'm not fucking OK with that.
But maybe I'm just overreacting. Surely the people who created this system know what they're doing:
Wait, what? Did that motherfucker just say, "The purpose of Miiverse is to add ... a new level of empathy between players"? Have these people ever played an online game in their lives? It could be that the word "empathy" is just one of those words that gets mixed up in translation from Japanese to English. Maybe they meant "racism." Because that's far more seated in reality than the bullshit they're just making up as they go along. Which actually brings me to the point I hate the most ...
When did the marketing departments from every technology company in existence get together and decide that we as a society want constant communication, every second of the day, from every device we own? Was it the same people who decided that we wanted everything that ran on electricity to play MP3s?
The problem is that marketing people are like that old cartoon gag where one fisherman catches a fish, and then 50 other guys swarm in and cast their lines exactly where he was fishing. How goddamn insane or codependent do you have to be to demand that everything you own gives you the ability to communicate with others?
This isn't a matter of personal preference here, and it has almost nothing to do with the fact that I barely tolerate mortals. I mean "people." Because I am mortal just like the rest of you. But the reason that matters is because Nintendo looked at Facebook and Twitter and thought, "People are really into this whole social networking thing. Let's make our video game console do that."
And then they did. They integrated it into the console itself, forcing you to constantly interact with others, but they also made it so that you can (and motherfucking will) receive texts in the game that you're trying to concentrate on. Even the single-player ones. Now, I totally understand and respect the fact that there are loads of people out there who would love this feature. And even I, to a certain extent, could find rare, occasional uses for them. But to those people who don't understand why this is such a big deal to a very large portion of the gaming audience, let me explain this to you as gently and succinctly as I can: We just want you to shut the fuck up so we can concentrate. When you talk to most of us while we're trying to play a game, we're picturing ourselves shooting you in your goddamn face.
"OK, dude, don't you pussy out. You do this in CoD all the time. Just squeeze."
I'm not letting the other game companies off the hook here -- I don't doubt that their new systems will have even more of this shit (only with Kinect, you'll have real-time video of strangers' cocks popping up on your screen). What all of them are failing to realize is the reason why texting became so popular in the first place: It decreases the amount of interaction you have with people. It eliminated long, boring conversations, loaded with filler and rambling. It allowed the recipient to respond whenever they had time, or to not respond at all, no harm done. Now we have a perfect setup for what every Wii U owner is destined to hear: "Why are you ignoring me? I know you can answer. I know you're not doing anything important because I can see you playing a game."
Let's face it, this system is set up for a very lonely, friendless type of person. Because if you do have friends, and you're choosing to play a game instead of hanging out with them, it means you want some uninterrupted alone time. So the only personality this system appeals to is people who typically make most of their friends online, through games.
Not that there's anything wrong with that -- hell, almost all of my friends are online.
And if you think I'm exaggerating that social point, here's a quote from the man himself: "It's a real-time social window that opens up right as you're playing." Fuck every last second of that.
When the following image showed up on my screen, I had to pause the video and spin a top to make sure my actual body wasn't on a transatlantic passenger jet:
Oh, snap! That's fucking Batman: Arkham City, baby! One of the most beloved games that ... has been out for every other system for so long that you can now find it in the bargain bin for less than $40. Keep in mind that the Wii U is projected to come out "around the holidays," as stated at the presentation. Which means that if Arkham City is ready to go on the day the console is released, the game will be over a year old.
But it's not enough that they're releasing a title that everyone in the free world has already played. They had to do this to it:
That's not the game. The actual game is still happening up on your TV. This is just how you switch weapons. By taking your eyes off of the action and fumbling around with a touch screen embedded in your gigantic controller. Because goddamnit, they made that touch screen controller, and you are goddamn well going to use it. But, hey, at least you can steer your batarang, which I'm sure will make it totally worth the money.
"Quick! Tilt your controller slightly to the right! See, you're having fun!"
I probably shouldn't pick on just Batman. I'll admit, I'm as biased as any person on that subject because I'm one of like three people on the entire site who couldn't give a fraction of a fuck about Batman or that whole universe.
Luckily, they gave us plenty of other already-released titles to make fun of. Like Tank! Tank! Tank! -- an arcade game that's been around since 2009 and looks like it was constructed out of chewed candy. Or Mass Effect 3:
"Ha! My plan of not buying any popular titles in the hopes that Nintendo would release their version is finally paying off!"
"But that game just came out in March -- it's not that old," some of you are saying with your stupid, unthinking heads. That's true, and in that month alone, it sold 3.5 million copies. When the Wii U comes out, the game will be about 8 months old, meaning that it's already made the rounds, putting it balls deep into the category of "Buy it used for $30" or "Rent it for the weekend." Not "Buy it new for full price."