Conflict of Interest

Hello. Today's rant shall not be about cinema, but about another strain of your media culture, the computer game. This shall be the first of many rants concerning the games industry to grace these pages because it is as valid a barometer by which to guage the state of humanity as your film industry. So, without further ado, let us proceed.


I hate beat em' ups. I hate them. They're such awful turgid nazi crap, all of them, and I hate them. Fuck them fuck them fuck them. Why has no one confronted the problem? Or even aknowledged that there IS a problem. It's like trying to reason with Christians. Damnit damnit damnit.

Beat em' Ups are like fucking Disney Films! No, really, they are. Disney films follow these incredibly rigid self-imposed rules established eons ago for some reason that their creators alone understand. Many years ago these rules made the films sell, but this has long since ceased to be. Subsequently, Disney keep trying to slowly and subtely change themselves, adding a dirty joke here, a violent scene there - whatever. All it can mean, all they can ever acheive by following this long and laborious path is making the best possible 'Disney film' ever. It will still be a fucking Disney film for fucks sake! And then where will they go? Why not STOP making disney films NOW and just make something else! Just make Laputa, dont make a 'really Laputa-esque Disney film'. Or just make something new - about space bananas that fuck monkeys with duck feathers or something.

NEW damn it. NEW!

Beat em' ups are exactly the same. They still follow the exact same rigid one dimensional system established in Street Fighter 2 in 19fucking90. Why? Do they have to do this? Is the technology the same? Is the world the same? Is the money and the game industry and its system of operations the same? Is the social context of video games the same, do they still have the same role in society?
So why are the fucking games still the same?

Perhaps its something inherent. Perhaps Street Fighter II is like the Tower of fucking Babel. Host to a core language and system that represents the absolute ultimate and only conceivable way in which the abstract concept of representing combat through button manipulation can be acheived. The seed from which all combat systems must inherently grow.

Or then again, perhaps fucking NOT. Perhaps, dare I suggest, there is the remotest possibility that it is possible to conceive of a one on one combat system that bares absolutely NO relation to Street Fighter II whatsoever. Chalk to its proverbial cheese. A fighting game that is not, in the accepted sense, a 'beat em' up'.

For years I have been trying to introduce this notion into the minds of your people, but you cannot conceive of any dramaticaly alternative system. Even the concept of one. I don't care if you LIKE and enjoy beat em' ups. I LIKE bread. But I can accept the concept of cake. It is not beyond my capacity to imagine that cake might exist and that I might one day enjoy it and that it might be better in many ways than plain bread.

The fighting system in the N64 Zelda games. This to my insect mind is infinitely superior to any existing beat em up. Obviously one is an element in a game that serves many other functions while the other is a single refined and highly tuned core game system, so a means test comparison may not stand. But theres ground work there. I'm talking about, like, 'Street Fighter Alpha Beta Gamma Super Neon XXX' might be equivacable to the best fucking railway engine ever built. But the fighting system in zelda is the first airoplane. The beginings of a FAR greater thing (actualy, trains are much better than planes, so that was a crap analogy).

Take, for example, Z Targeting. The simple application of the trigger, core of the gun, god of all ACTUAL modern combat, into the gaming world. By this simple mechanism two completely different fighting mechanisms can exist on the same gaming plain. Imagine, just for first base, Z Targeting applied to a beat em up. The game could ordinarily function on a genuinly three dimensional platform with actual free roaming (not 2d gaming with 3d graphics like Tekken. Or a free roaming plane, but one on which you still have to either face each other or can dodge 'a bit to the side' in order to fight, like in Soul Caliber) ACTUALY 3D, with the possibility of hitting from all sides and angles, AND THEN with Z targeting, you could focus in on the opponent, like in 2D (ie: ALL existing) beat em ups to perform or avoid specific frontal attacks.

You play your head to head battle malarky, you lay your special move in, then you have the option to FUCKING SCARPER! Is this so SHOCKINGLY ingenious? Is this such a revelation? It would fucking seem to be. Of course by introducing the rogue chaos inducing element of FREE WILL and CHANCE into play, the programmers would have to start doing things like treating characters weapons as ACTUAL FUCKING OBJECTS, and not just as graphical extras. The visuals might have to start meaning something and pertaining to the gameplay in some way. And that might be too much like hard fucking work.

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