In fact, so many normal people and casual fans of video games have asked me, with an air of morbid curiosity, ‘what is E3 like,’ that I have decided to present this helpful primer about things that you do at a video game conference so that you will feel like you have been there. Except your feet won’t hurt and your blood will not be half-liquor and you will not be exhausted. Lucky you.
‘Melancholy’ is in and of itself a fascinating word. Visually, at least, it could be like a homophone of ‘symphony’, as in an assemblage of beautiful instruments, as it ends in the same sometimes-vowel and contains the same orchestra of consonant blends, the sort that migrate softly from the wet and rarely-used places of the tongue…
The culture around animated GIFs (‘Graphics Interchange Format’, or briefly-animated images) is exploding. For whatever reason, human beings appear to enjoy watching a few frames of something or anything at all repeat endlessly, and this urge is simultaneously driving and being driven by popular image-sharing services like Tumblr to where it’s hardly avoidable, even if you’re not interested.
A cursory glance at the internet and other fringes of public information over the past few weeks has informed us that some religious people think the world is going to end this weekend. No, wait, even better – they think that on May 21 Jesus is going to arrive and gather up everyone who believes in him and take them to Heaven.
I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is reach for my phone; I sift through the notifications; who ‘Likes’ my pictures? Who has replied to me, mentioned me? I am hooked on the feedback drip. Increasingly I feel less sure of myself in real conversations; I can’t read faces. Real people are a blank mirror. I clutch the cold glass brick of my hand in my palm to feel better.
Human beings are obsessed with the physiological act of crying to an extent so broad that our obsession has pervaded all of our media and language subliminally. Whether or not a given medium can induce tears is often, rationally or otherwise, the benchmark of that medium’s quality or its social relevance; for good or for ill tears are often used to define gender roles.
But normal is an impossible, undefined ideal. While it feels decadent, possibly destructive, to only worry about being happy with yourself or at least happy with the ways you are unhappy, you can’t exactly go around comparing yourself to all the people who have no better idea of the holy-normal than you do.
I mean, really, I’m not usually the only non-child in the room, but I still picture myself turning to someone’s mother and explaining, with an abashed expression, “it’s for work.” She would look at me with the dawn of understanding in her eyes, and say, “oh, what do you do,” and I would say, “I am a video game journalist,” and she would nod in total comprehension, even admiration.
In the case of the PS3, users understand the idea of punishing a hardware giant for trying to interfere in its users’ sense of individual ownership, and while they may not support organized crime, while they might feel super totally bad about people’s credit cards being compromised, they can assume that identity theft is only a side effect of the reckoning to which Sony is now being called.
But survival and great success are born from the refusal to accept boundaries, though it may be strange to conceive of our greatest creative endeavors as direct responses to the fact that life sucks. Or to think that the most impressive thing any individual will ever accomplish is born out of the friction between what we want to be and what we are.