greygirlbeast (greygirlbeast) wrote,

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"Miss your teeth, when they'd chatter..."

I'm always, always going to have trouble with the apparent need for MMOs to infect their stories and worlds with silliness. An especial sort of humor that is just that: silliness. NPCs who crack atrociously bad jokes, for example. Or the insertion of our familiar Western holidays into alien worlds (Azeroth, Telara, Tyria, etc.). Now, most players like the silliness. It enriches they're gaming experience, I hear. I complain about a rift that turns warriors fighting it into the classic "snowman" – instead of merely freezing said warriors – and I'm branded humorless. I'm actually not humorless. I'm a pretty funny person. Ask around.

But, yes. Stupid happens, and I say, "Jesus fuck, that's stupid," and I'm told no, no, it's just a bit of levity. I'm told that inserting Halloween into WoW or Thanksgiving into GW2 or Xmas into Rift (the names of the holidays have been changed!) doesn't destroy any possibility of the suspension of disbelief. No. I'm told it's...what's that word? Oh, yes. Fun. I'm told it's fun. Problem, I'm looking for immersive, simulationist experiences, and, unless the humor is actually funny and carefully interwoven into the context of the story – not gratuitously dropped in to appease the sheeple – the humor will subvert and shatter the illusion. This is about illusions, you know? Remember how jarring was the appearance of "Father Christmas" in Narnia, and you know how stupid that was, right?

Oh, wait. A lot of people don't know. They're so cool, they're not even more interested in how a trick's done than the trick itself. No, they're too busy talking among themselves, laughing at their own farts (literally and figuratively), to even notice there's a magic show going on. Appreciating illusions – or just acknowledging attempts at illusions – that's not hip, lol. And this leads, of course, to game developers being forced to insert stupid shit, because (god, I am sick of this line, always used murderously out of context*), "Why so serious?" One only has to review the relatively rapid disintegration of Rift (March '11-Now) to see the dumbing-down process play out. Rift began life as a smart game.** But it almost didn't survive its first two months online. Trion had to scramble to save the game (and millions of dollars) by shutting down many, many servers.*** So, now...

I am pleased that, so far, GW2 seems fairly comfortable taking itself seriously. Yeah, the Asura are hilarious, but they're sort of a game within the game, a funny corner of the game. Their humor doesn't subvert the game's world. Also, the humor is intelligent and well-written enough, it's actually fun playing an Asura (three of my five GW2 characters are Asura – including Zoë Powderburne and Remii Thirteen – so there, hahahahahahahaha).


Yesterday, I began the script for the fifth and final issue of the first "chapter" of the Dark Horse Presents incarnation of Alabaster. It's going well. I'm almost not dreading work today. Also, I gave a short interview (three questions) to Charles Tan for SF Signal, regarding Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's After, in which my short story, "Fake Plastic Trees," can be found. And I also engaged in the ever popular "other stuff."


My thanks to Liisa Hietarinta in faraway (relative to me) Turku, Finland, for her very fine and generous gifts. Spooky and I both appreciate them very much. Just getting a package from Finland was pretty damn bow tie.

Oh, cool. A woodpecker on the tree outside my office window.

Smiling (or Grimacing),
Aunt Beast

Postscript (3:28 p,m.): As moon_custafer points out in today's comments, what I'm complaining about is akin the having Dinosaurs Refrigerator Day show up in Game of Thrones. And lots of gamers would say, "Oh, dude. That would be awesome funny!" And I'd say, "Shut the fuck up, you imbecile."

* Few film scenes have ever been done a greater injustice by incessant misappropriation.
** Smart does not, in this context, mean difficult to master.
*** I don't blame Trion. I blame the moronic, lowest-common-demoniator nature of gaming culture.
Tags: after, alabaster, birds, dark horse, finland, funny, gaming, gw2, idiots, interviews, rift, suspension of disbelief, wow, ya
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