RND/ An existential enquiry; in which players carefully consider the immense collective waste of time disturbingly large sections of humanity have spend grinding away at Halo – an All Amerikan militaristic science fiction media franchise managed and developed by 343 Industries and published by Xbox Game Studios:
3840 x 2160 .jpg, via Steam Community
This of course is not to say that any one player’s experience of multiplayer, or indeed of the various campaigns making up the Halo Franchise aren’t anything less than thoroughly enjoyable, if not outright happy and exciting experiences – just that collectively speaking, and in terms of the general Deep Shit humanity finds itself in – you know, Anthropogenic climate change, etc. – the monumental collective waste of time could have spend on helping dig ourselves out of this pit we’re in. Check out these blandly terrifying stats:
123,611,766,794 Minutes played = 235182 Years, 2 Months, 1 Week, 6 Days, 20 Hours, 7 Minutes and 19 Seconds. That’s some depressing bullshit right there – and this is an old chart! What is mere ‘fun'(TM) to one player takes on a positively monstrous Sisyphean absurdity when considering the whole. 235K years ago, the naledi people were deliberately burying their dead in caves in South Africa. Imagine what people could have done with/in this time, instead of staring at the electronic cave walls of games deliberately designed by sinister lizards to be as addictive as possible – sorry, ‘increase user engagement across platforms’.
All – all that waiting around in lobbies listening to the racial abuse of bigoted assholes, all those infinite t-baggings, beratements, accusations, screams of ‘lol, rekt’, ‘gitgud, newb’ and ‘play the fucking objective, dipshit’, all that waiting around to respawn, all that aggression and frustration, That One Guy camping on top of the map with the sniper, random dirtbags and dickheaded randos, those simply too stupid to live, general shit talking – all of it mindless and senselessly repeated over and over, seemingly without end. (Literally thousands of year’s worth.) All that cosmically useless sweatyness just so you can ‘win’. Yet other than some fleeting moment of imposing and performing your own toxic masculinity in public, what have you won?
The game is the only real Winner here; and you are not Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 on an epic mission to save the galaxy. You are – at least judging by the sheer weight of available scientifically verifiable statistics – just an.other Angry White Nerd clutching a filthy controller, sitting in your mother’s basement in your pants with a chub on, stomach rolls covered in cheeto dust. Tragedy is, you can’t even do the universe a favor and kill yourself, as you’re already brain dead. Who one wonders would ever even bother adventuring online, simply to get all these painful social riches (basically a firehose of hate and harassment) continually shoved in one’s face? Far better it seems to simply unplug for good and go read a book. (“Halo” by Tom Maddox is a good one and thoroughly recommended.)
Extreme Xbox Live Rage (NSFW, homophobia warning)
Rinse and repeat, ad nauseam. What’s even worse perhaps is the severe, barely hidden sense of emptiness, hollowness, barren digital desolation – that such games and game spaces are stuffed to the brim, positively overflowing with absolutely everything desperately needed to convince people that Something Is Happening. (Anything whatsoever.) But it’s a cruel illusion – at your expense. Bright lights, garish colors, loud sounds, synthetic excitement by the pound – and most of all the violence of constant movement, without thought – just to keep players playing, at any cost. Yet as is said in Russia, the game is playing you dear comrade, not the other way around. One would be an easily pleased fool to think otherwise. The sheer leaden mass of numbers cannot lie. Notice how the game moves just slow enough to unconsciously suggest the slow drag of Dead Time (ie. the time you’re currently spending in game) – how the turn speed of one’s character in multiplayer is always just a little to slow to prevent you feeling inherently frustrated at the lack of true freedom in this tragic game space. One that for all it’s alleged ‘epicness’ is in the pale, bland non-cgi light of everyday reality merely lonely and sad and a little pathetic.
// how to play big science