Forewarned by Jorge Luis Borges (VIII)
I hope that I have made it clear enough to you what is at stake. The lives of the masses are at stake. If the fundamental principles of video games do not change, people will die. The question is now, “How are we supposed to change these principles?”
As I said earlier, I wanted this to be a dialog. A conversation about the metaphysics of video games is very much a rebellious thing to do. We live in a time when AAA publishers are pumping out promises of bright futures to the masses. And we are the masses. And we do not want to be the masses. This is a sick world we live in: we are the masses and what can we do? The only option is to train our covetousness by a gorgeous desire we have forgotten. In order to change the fundamental principles on which video games rely, we must desire a more lasting balm to our sickness.
We cannot accept what Gamesradar has to say about the latest video game. The entire video game industry would like us to blindly accept its new offerings. This is is not fueled by money, but by the metaphysical dread of losing the ability to experience the new. What we need to do is forget any hope that video games can provide us this. We need to stop imagining that video games can offer us that which life is supposed to offer us. Video games are for something else—and we must decide what that is now. That is why we are speaking like this.
I don’t agree with most of what Warner says. We agree that dialog has to happen, but we do not agree on the first principles. He begins with thinking that video games are the mediators of our past. I think that they are extensions of our present. What do you think about his assessment? Whether you agree with him or not, consider this guiding principle: assuming what Warner assumes, is he right about video games?
Is his dogma coherent?
Is Warner ever at any point coherent?
Ask yourself this—and you will be richly rewarded. Equal, equal to the fees of an editor.
I personally think that Warner suffers from a kind of Christian Neoplatonism that sees the only paradigm as the visible and the invisible. The only real knowledge for Warner is memory (anamnesis, people! My niece’s name is Anna). I can almost see the very point where Warner could say we must remember a past life, as Plato teaches. We see this in his terrible novel, Spring, where the main character forgets his past life, only to be saved by remembering it. What drivel--and I don’t know why Warner doesn't just own it and self-identify as a Christina Neoplatonist.
But for all of my disagreement with Warner, I do admire his optimism. This is a hopeless time for video games. Warner steps into a landscape of the dead. This is a time when dialogs on video games do not even happen. The current paradigm is commentistic (this is an important, new word so I am highlighting it in bold). It depends on the existence of a mass of people who comment, but do not write treatises. You can see this most clearly when you go to Gamesradar. On Gamesradar, the puppets of the video game industry, those hired to praise and sustain the very games they are meant to critique speak their pontifications about video games and soften their blow only when the flaws are clear to infants. Every video game review you have ever read is a marching order to GameStop. They are the marching orders to the masses, to you. You are demanded to play a video game, because someone somewhere is afraid of dying. And you have very little say in how that video game is acclaimed. As long as it has new features, we are all pretty satisfied, aren’t we? The only place we get to voice our opinions and to sow the seeds of a new dialog is in the comments section under reviews. They are usually hidden and have to be revealed. They are small and cramped. It is a mob of players, subjugated.
Warner wants to take the comments section and make it the review. He wants to take the review and turn it into a treatise.
Jorge Luis Borges