Plastic Promises & Hollywood Happiness

It may or may not surprise you to hear that I’m considered somewhat pessimistic by my friends.

You may think that with a bleak personality such as mine I would crave the colourful delights of Disney films. You would be mistaken. Instead I find them subversive and seditious.

You may think that with an isolated existence such as mine I would crave the aspirational gloss of teen dramas like The O.C. You would be incorrect. Instead I find them offensive projections of an unrealistic ambition.

You may think that with a life like mine I would watch films simply to escape myself, to feel a fleeting fantastical happiness at the hands of a fictional circumstance. You would be wrong. I revel in the sadistic side of cinema. I want it grim. I want all the grim you’ve got.

Recently I learned through a fellow blogger that the theatrical ending of Danny Boyle’s post-apocalyptic zombie flick 28 Days Later is not the original ending. 

[Spoilers inbound]

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The Teachings of Fiction: What Games Have Taught Me

When I’m not hiring and killing prostitutes, jacking and crashing cars, or ruthlessly gunning down helpless, disabled civilians due to a feckless overexposure to violent video games, I like to kick back, relax, and play some video games. It’s the perfect way to unwind.

But amidst these barbarian broadcasts urging all players to repeatedly stab everyone they meet in the face or heart, video games transmit an altogether different message. Saturating the minds of gamers with the most potent and dangerous weaponry known to man – knowledge.

Throughout my life I’m perpetually enlightened by a medium considered by many to be corrosive to the mind. There are studies relating gaming to the improvement of cognitive abilities, hand-eye co-ordination, logic, memory and multi-tasking. But in addition to these less tangible attributes, video games spray out facts like an edition of the Encyclopedia Brittanica thrown in a petrol powered wood-chipper.

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Was gaming better without collectables?

A generation ago games were simpler. Since then TDM, fastest lap times and online leaderboards have hijacked the humble pleasures of the gamer. Back then you played for fun, you played for yourself. Back then you had no competition. Back then there were no trophies, no achievements to collect. You simply played. Or you didn’t. The choice was yours.

Now that choice has been snatched from us. Now not only must we play, but we must play until the bitter end, until 100%, until Platinum. Because now Jean Girard from Jarrier, Rhône-Alpes can scan our collection, Billy Sanchez from San Antonio, Texas can probe our performances, and Dave Smith from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire can scope our successes. Anyone can view our online achievements and stalk our statistics like some horrid progression goblin.

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Nonsensical Desensitisation Sensationalism

Penetration – thrust at us from all directions.

We cannot bypass this piercing perforation.

Be it savage evisceration or venereal infiltration.

We cannot escape this cultural condemnation.

It makes you sick doesn’t it? Not my inadvertent verse, but the poison plague that coats our culture. The sex! The violence! It’s in the games we play. It’s in the music we hear. It’s in the TV we watch. It’s the reason this country’s gone to the proverbial pooches.

Sex and violence – makes you sick doesn’t it?

Actually no. No it doesn’t. Perhaps it should. But it doesn’t. Permeating our TV listing, consoles and radio-waves until we’re at saturation point, we absorb so much violence we don’t even know it’s there. A man could be strangled, seared, smothered and smouldered on my OLEDHD3D1080p screen and I’d barely process his passing. Why? Because we’ve been desensitised.

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