Existential Why Play: “Zheros”?

Our mission: “to create and deliver visually appealing games that can be played by anyone, providing good old-school fun”
~ ‘Rimlight Studios’, creators of Zheros

New concept based on the term Letsplays: “Whyplays” – as in, why does this exist – what about it automatically justifies playing it? Sure it can be played – but why?

Staring at this vacuous trailer, its possible to see virtually nothing there – an arbitrary bunch of meaningless motion and trivial colour display –  a hollow spectacle, pathetically proud of its exhausted, desolate beingness. As though the name ‘Zheros’ doesn’t tell you everything about its (shallow) essential nothingness

Let these these bland concepts be your “Zheroic” mantra – when you see anything featuring them, do not pause to idly play, just keep walking

  • Crazy Moves!
  • Shield n’ Shoot!
  • Giant Robots!

That is to say: “Because FUN™” (old-school or otherwise) is no longer good enough an as-said existential excuse to engage with such soul-sucking, amazingly insignificant distractions

No wait, there is a Big Meaning and Grand Ultimate Purpose behind it all:

Get ready to defend the Galaxy and help Mike and Captain Dorian defeating the evil Dr. Vendetta
~ ‘Zheros’

– Oh.

= = =

The following Steam Review captured from the far inert future perfectly captures what’s wrong – that our minds start ragdolling, the moment we remotely imagine the mere existence of a game is somehow (axiomatically a priori) ‘enough’

Steam review: A Game Of Shallow Novelties
Steam review: A Game Of Shallow Novelties

ZHEROS is available on Xbox One for $19.99

Update Patch: on being not-serious

According to critical-distance.com, this was not (by implication) a ‘serious’ piece of games criticism

You can't be serious: Critical Distance
You can’t be serious: Critical Distance

One wonders by what exact Cultural metric ‘serious’ games criticism is being measured and defined – and even why. It shouldn’t matter if a piece of games criticism is being presented in a clown’s outfit or that of an undertaker at the Annual Oh-So-Serious Games Critique Conference with a bunch of po-faced academics

No doubt certain subjects lend themselves to a lighter or more serious tone, as is appropriate – but one wonders what about this particular piece was flagged as somehow ‘not being meant in seriousness.’ First off, why does it matter *how* someone ‘meant’ what they said – not that it isn’t important, but how on earth might one find out – and why?

Perhaps the answer lies in the (/dubious) existence of this very (/virtual) site- that by including a link to some (somehow innately frivolous) site called “Robert What”, maybe a site called “Critical Distance” wants to remain coolly aloof and critically distant from what it conceptually or ideologically perceives as a threat to its own, somehow innately serious (ie Culturally worthy) Nature

//Question: What is robertwhat.com anyhow – neither entirely fishy nor foul

Not that it’s not good to be serious, even andor especially while playing – but by even mentioning “Seriousness”, Critical Distance has already shown its hand- a hand it might not want to show (perhaps because its as-said expected that everyone at Critical Distance andor everyone who visits there Take It All Very Seriously)

Is Robert What writing this right now with a strictly measured, stoically taken Cultural measure of seriousness – or is he being careless, carefree, crassly glib, disrespectful, impudent, irreverent, effervescent, sassy, salty, saucy or sacrilegious? How precisely to tell with 1000% certainty – I must know before I engage with this Great Work as A Serious™ Critic!

Surely however we should be ready to completely disregard a piece of criticism, regardless of its ‘tone’ – and regardless of our own particular arbitrary mood, whether it be serious or ‘lite’?

Not Sure If Serious
A seriously postmodern Heath Ledger as The Joker: “Not Sure If Serious

The image of Dead Heath Ledger as The Joker is widely used as a meme, whenever one wants to (lazily / virally) suggest or (perhaps playfully admit) both mild confusion over another’s words or attitude, andor obliquely state they’re somehow Trolling (seriously or playfully trolling, its not certain)

In many ways, the figure of The Joker is a ‘seriously playful’ symbol of ultimate existential / ontological ambiguity. Even he isn’t sure if he’s being serious, or if it (life) is just one big Killing Joke. Perhaps even by simply existing as a comic book character, the Joker is the immovable grain of sand in the vaseline of our own unspoken, laughably taken for granted certainties and pathetic vanities. What he offers is perhaps what self styled ‘amateur postmodern theorist’ Robert What terms “Maximum Fun” – fun at volume 11, to unbearability and beyond. The Joker could be the ultimate (ie. from the outset) expression of the question “Are you fucking with me?”

While it is indeed often highly important to know if someone is indeed ‘fucking with you’, the violently flippant answer “Am I?” is perhaps also a disturbing sign they themselves might not quite ever know – a double blind in a stormy sea of doubt, extreme uncertainly

In a way, Critical Distance’s need to be seen as (somehow) Perfectly Serious is an impossible task – one which even goes against the (alleged) purpose of games as expressing humanity’s playful nature. Thing is, everyone (at least online) knows with complete certainly that modern video games are “Serious Business

Oh, if only we could say with equal certainty that Games Criticism should automatically be seen with the same coldly efficient sate of seriousness; perhaps there’s somehow always inherently room for a critique of the Business of Games Criticism that highlights the existential absurdity of the false automatic divide between serious and not – between meaningful and absurd

Likewise, if games are largely meaningless and absurd, then What does that mean for our snobbish, Culturally refined, author-itarian air of critical distance? Maybe there’s no distance between ourselves and the raw B.S we tell ourselves about ourselves and whatever it is we think we’re doing – we’re always nothing but up to our necks in our own existential / digital waste (/of time)

= = =

Note: the degree to which one can take seriously anyone who takes the symbol of The Joker / Games Criticism completely seriously, might be of passing interest to all parties concerned