Re:Blood is Compulsory

What do you think of this video? Mainly the part where it segues into gamergate. It mentions the collusion of Gone Home, and while I’m sure that AAA with journalists collusion has been mentioned, it seems like GH has received more attention than it comparatively deserved.

What I find really interesting about this video is how he notices that all the reviews of COD AW talk so much about the singleplayer when multiplayer is all people care about. I think it kind of goes to show that the standard reviewer has absolutely no idea how to review multiplayer games because they can’t be fit into the same narrative construct that traditional art forms like film can.

I think the call of duty reviews should be more controversial than they are. The only reason they’re considered non-controversial is because the series is such a sales success. Call of duty getting high scores is frankly offensive to me, as was bioshock infinite, as was every other modern military shooter, however it’s also routine. I’m fed up with that shit, but you can’t really say that something which happens all the time is suspicious. Not to mention that people got mad for much of the same reasons about mass effect 3.

The reason Gone Home is brought up is because it’s an anomaly, and because it’s a lot easier to point out where the system breaks down than with AAA companies that can do all this shit behind the curtain, that operate like monolithic faceless entities.

But also notice that the common trend with a lot of gamergate’s critics is assuming that the people who compose the movement are happy that call of duty gets a 9-10/10 every release. And they tend to ignore that a lot of the people who joined up were ones who were mad about Mass Effect 3 for much of the same reasons and are generally as critical of triple A as they are.

The other thing is, this guy is missing the point of games because he’s looking at it from a narrative perspective rather than whether you can actually make a game of that. He doesn’t value the gameplay intrinsically, he only values it for its connection to the larger work. Asking, “why isn’t bioshock an adventure game” is like asking, “Why isn’t chess a sports game?” from my perspective. If a game shares nothing in common with a prior incarnation except the fluff and setting, then it’s not the same game anymore.

There’s a lot of questions about games (not just video games) that no one is asking and which people like this guy want to bury, which is why he frames it like call of duty putting on a show with its singleplayer so everyone can enjoy the “pornography” of multiplayer, because he doesn’t see a value in things like multiplayer because he only sees value in stories. This is a stretch on my part, but to him I’d imagine he wouldn’t see CoD AW any better if it had gameplay like Unreal Tournament 4, or like Tribes, or like Half Life Death Match, because action games are of equal value to him. The field isn’t understood, between the differences of different sets of gameplay mechanics, and the conflation with gone home isn’t doing it justice. Gameplay is invisible to these people, they only see symbols and actions, they don’t see how any of it is constructed to work in one case where it doesn’t in another.

This is why John Carmack’s comment seems insulting to him, to a lot of these types of folk, because they don’t get why or how anyone’s focus could be on anything else but the holistic product. That’s why campster and a bunch of others are on about ludocentricism. They object to the notion that there is a game over here and a story over here, to them it’s just one cohesive whole of game, and mechanics are only valuable insofar as what they mean to the whole.

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