RND/ To consider generic videogame screenshots of nothing – a lament for ‘The Video Real’:

1920 x 1080 .jpg via Steam Community

In which such an exhibition is a historical-cultural record, not of something but of precisely nothing. Images of nothing – of the ‘sickness of seeing’ perhaps – but definitely of little else. The videogame in question is Slipgate, but that hyperreal factoid doesn’t matter. You’re currently staring (skimming over) contextless colored pixels. There’s a certain hollow sadness to such images – a cheap un-animated ragdoll, face down and ass up on the cold bare digital ground. Oh dear. Unknown and unloved – a testament both to The Game’s own inherent existential obsolescence but also to the countless anonymous billions who pass through its virtual videographic arenas – hungry ghosts through a long abandoned desert town. Where anytime you even see a gun on screen – particularly those phallic sci fi monsters taking up a good portion – you instantly get the feeling that yep, this is indeed merely just another hyper-generic FPS multiplayer shooter-of-nothing, for no reason. A violently empty pew-pew, utterly devoid of anything truly meaningful. In many ways a Nihilistic Shooter, shooting out at and into a universe or space which (equally) couldn’t care less about how manly you feel while repeatedly shooting your overcompensatory ballistic e-penis, the sound echoing off the lonely digital canyon walls only to instantly fade away when the final players finally log off in Terminal Boredom aka ‘The Big Meh’ in search of the Next Best Newest Whatever. Alas.

RND/ To consider a philosophical reality theory of videogame emptiness. Some paintings:

3440 x 1440 .jpg – via SCUM (just another D.O.A. survival multiplayer game-thing, by ‘Gamepires’)

In which you’ve often considered why the vast majority of videogames have not truly appealed to you for a long time. That it might be something to do with what you term the ‘poverty of reality’. That you’ve begun to notice a little too often that videogames have virtually zero true substance whatsoever. That they are in fact and from the very outset entirely devoid of anything whatsoever. Devoid of life and soul – even devoid of movement and objects. You get the strong feeling that’s simply nothing there. And, rather than a cause for alarm or depressions, this radical derealization, this brutal desimulation and ontological estrangement from what you term ‘The Video Real’, feels far more akin to an awakening into true emptiness.

Most videogames seem incredibly flocking boring to you know, because (for some reason) you can no longer see them as ‘more than the sum total of their parts’. That is, rather than some beautiful and intricate dance of pixels light color motion and interactive possibility, they’re now never usually more than nothing except these (useless, obsolete) parts. Precisely and exactly no more less than wind blasted fragments, atomized little bits of digital next-to-nothing. Not entirely without meaning – just without ‘significantly meaningful Meaning’.

This extreme alienation you feel about videogame reality, andor the reality of videogames does not however feel liberating. There’s a brief respite from the (admittedly minor) revelation that ‘videogame reality is basically empty’ – say half an hour of puttering around in their small landscapes, or ‘blandscapes’. And then all that synthetic, addicting Prosumer joy and wonder begins to rapidly tail off – take a rapid freefall nosedive back into Terminal Boredom and and Extreme Unimpressedness (which were really there all along. Waiting like old true friends.)

Perhaps it would help if you had friends to explore these supposedly mysterious digital spaces. Friends make everything fun and interesting. But at some point you have now begun to feel the listless lethargy and tiresomeness of these digital non places. You watch your own hand move the mouse at random. Your dumb little onscreen character moves about in response – a remote controlled puppet without a mind. (You wonder to what degree games have been controlling you like a brain dead Meat Puppet for all these lonely, useless years spent Gaming.) Some small thing then happens on screen – an empty paint pot clatters off the shelf onto a floor with scientifically accurate physics. Try as you might, you simply don’t and can’t care anymore and watch with casual deadpan blankness and emotionless stony indifference. All the Ludocapitalist hype(TM) has worn off and the bare, heavily oxidized, tin plated drabness of The Game is revealed for what is and always was: a drab, hollow virtual nothingness. Smoke and dusty mirrors. Stale bread and abandoned circuses (all the clowns are dead and the elephants escaped long ago. The entire sad sideshow is currently in extreme existential receivership.)

A few interesting experiments remain in the Indie sphere. As they always did – out on the margins where all the truly interesting work and play takes place. Drips and drabs. Blips on the radar, suggesting something far greater which will forever remain on the distant storm clouded possibility horizon. Games andor spaces which take no longer than five minutes. That never truly arrive (shining with that hyper-generic AAA polish and Crunchy worker exploitation) and therefore always leave one with an odd feeling, not necessarily happy – just curious and alert. Abstract and conceptual. Loose and ready. Absorbed, but not controlled or ‘immersed’ *spits on ground*. Videogames as small existential potatoes.

// how to play big science