When Syp shared a link to this excellent Extra Credits video today, I couldn’t help but think about how videogames indeed have changed since the 80ies when the whole business started off. And not just games actually but western pop-culture as a whole; I used to love the silly action flicks (like Lethal Weapon or Beverly Hills Cop) of the 80ies, I still do. Their kind or also the type of sitcoms that used to be popular at the time, are almost completely non-existent nowadays. Critics would tear them apart. Everything has become a lot more complex and that is an inevitable part of an evolution and progression – but things have also become a lot darker, grimmer and more cynical.
My retro extremist friend Cyrille, who’s been a next-gen-grump ever since the early 90ies, used to tell me how games were increasingly losing that “charm and magic” for him and I don’t think he was merely a victim of nostalgia. Yeah, we’ve grown-up since the 80ies but our games at the time were created by grown-ups and those action movies I miss so much were also created by grown-ups for grown-ups? So there’s clearly something bigger at work here culturally when we compare different eras. When did it become so unfashionable and untrendy to be frivolous? Why is it silly to be a little silly and over the top? Why this trend of ever darker and edgier?
In context of many of the recent “blogging cowboys/girls aka is blogging dying out?”-debates in the blogosphere (I’m not worried, by the way), particularly also this take by Liore and my personal reply in the comment section, I’ve been thinking a lot about my own blogging and blog as part of the MMO blogging community. As Wilhelm put it too, gold is where you find it and that community is wherever we believe it to be depending on the particular space we inhabit and our closest neighbors. I’m very happy and grateful where I am, for the way things have gone so far and for all the amazing people that frequent my comment sections and populate my blogroll, filling my head with new thoughts and ideas. I know fully well though that there are also a few readers and probably also more bigtime bloggers, who believe I am not serious enough because I dare to be hypey/enthusiastic or ranty/pissed in some of my reviews. Or then, I delight in more silly and trivial things or swear on appropriate occasion. This blog is a colorful place, I hope for more than just its design. To me, the world of videogames isn’t serious – it’s colorful, hyperbolic, goofy, hilarious, strange, creepy and fantastic. My heart goes out to the part where the Extra Credits video speaks about Final Fantasy and how the older titles dared to be shamelessly magical and over-the-top. It was pure fun and joy, it was silly and beautiful.
That’s everything games and the entire fantasy genre for that matter, are to me. That’s also what I’d like to be and remain as a blogger, hot and cold as appropriate (I actually believe true balance is created by the existence of two extremes), enthusiastic and passionate about the things I write. It’s a great feat to be a consistent source of information for your readers, but there’s also wanting to inspire connections and emotions, looking to create a spark or maybe just a smile or constructive disagreement. When I started my journey in this blogosphere, I introduced a regular category of posts called “Frivolous Friday” to celebrate the trivial and humorous side of gaming. I realize though, I too have stopped paying this category the regular tribute it deserves and for this I apologize. Truly. I hope it’s not because I considered it to draw too little attention or because I felt some kind of peer pressure. More than maybe most of the articles I write on MMO Gypsy, passionate explorer and social justice discussions aside, frivolous Friday represents me as a person. I love creative, poetic or silly writing as much as putting on the meta design or social critic’s hat. I can do both.
So I guess to bring both topics to a happy end: let’s not forget about the simple joy and fantastic hyperbole that can be part of games and MMOs. It’s okay to just entertain or delight in silly stuff while also being a srs blogger. Just because we’re growing up doesn’t mean all of our games or other interests have to.