Offbeat 11 December 2015

There is drought happening which is gainsaid by rain over the town and the veg growing out the back. A Russian prophetess predicted the fall of western civilisation in 2016. The rand is heading far west of outrageous, and I am wondering how I will be able to buy books next year, and if I should cancel my subscription to the Marvel hardbacks in the local franchise.
This year looks like a mess. I can’t wait for it to come to an end, but Christmas has not yet arrived. I am in an ugly state of confusion. Should I panic, or chill and wait for whatever comes next. I don’t have an emotional strand either. The days are different from one another.
I don’t have much more to say, so I will write about my usual Festive Season downtime occupation: getting into difficult situations and killing things. Stay calm and carry on. I’m talking about gaming.
Gaming is personal therapy for me, more interesting than embarrassing questions from a therapist who is paid to listen and ask, but never paid enough to feel.
If you are a therapist, don’t take this personally. I can actually imagine that the years you spend absorbing the sorrows, misery and desperation of others must be some kind of a terrible nightmare. No doubt you end up numbed by the litany.
You might try one of those call-in counseling places, or you might also want to relieve the stress with some or other shooting game.
I don’t have much time for those turn-based strategy games, in which people move groups of little computer-generated orcs around the screen to build wealth and fight in order to build an empire. Those games are too much like chess, for which I have no patience at all. Why not just give the queen an axe or a gun, and skip the ponderous stuff?
The point about shooters is they are adrenalin, even when they are infused with frustration. That bit of adrenalin offsets the weariness of routine, and generally perks things up.
At this point I should probably add the caveat that you need to be able to tell the difference between reality and fiction, and you should also have the human decency to be able to feel guilt at causing harm to any living thing, unlike ISIS who tastelessly manufactured a propaganda video that stated ‘this is your ‘call of duty’, or something to that effect.
From what I can gather, shooting games have developed from about the most improbable of sources, that game where you had to use a cursor to hit a mole over a its head when it emerged from a hole. From there it became the facade of the wild west building with possible damage every time the player took a bullet, followed by the animated, moving background that was needed for the game Wolfenstein.
There’s an interesting idea: in reality the central point of any fast-paced shooter, the sights of the gun, is a relatively fixed point, and everything around it moves and changes.
The thing that disturbs me about the current crop of shooters, other than my own inability to play them on much more that ‘recruit’ level, is the echo of reality found within them. ISIS obviously referenced shooters in its design, and signed up thousands who were willing to kill for personal satisfaction, whether under the veneer of religion or not.
There is also the example of the Al Qaeda 9/11 hijackers who made extensive use of flight simulators to prepare themselves.
Games obviously and unfortunately translate into reality.
I won’t take the obvious route here and blame it on the contents of games. Even if violence were banned in games, some idiot malcontent would probably get obsessive and homicidally inspired by something like Tetris. What I will say is that it is damaged individuals who are at the heart of the problem. After all, there were no violent video games during the times of the crusades.
What I will say is that there aren’t enough World War 2 games, and I wouldn’t mind being able to play a World War 1 game either. I don’t think Vietnam has been mined enough either.
The reality of modern war shooters is becoming a little bit worn now.


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