File this under: Jealousy inspired rage.
It’s commonly known throughout intellectual circles that Spin Magazine is a pile of slop churned onto former trees. It’s for emo kids with swoopy haircuts and thick glasses and tight pants to find the newest esoteric band to worship. Doubly ironic of course because these same bands are being churned through a corporate magazine. Anyways, that’s not what I want to talk about. Through some weird circumstances, my Dad began receiving Spin after his subscription to something ran out. And so whenever I’m trying to blast out a turd, I pick it up and flip through.
That’s when I found this retarded review of Batman: Arkham Asylum today. I must preface my forthcoming rage with this – I can’t believe this douchebag, Dan Ackerman, gets to play video games ahead of time and get paid for it. It’s a nerdy rage that stems from the fact that I’m an unemployed poor quasi-academic who would kill someone to play review copies of games for free, while this hack gets to do it.
Let’s look at Dan’s brilliant review describing why Batman video games have failed:
Most comic book tales follow the ebb and flow of traditional fiction narrative
Ah, already brilliant Spin pretension. How about you write like a human being in a pop magazine, please. This isn’t the New Yorker. (Or my Derrida Superman post, shut the fuck up.)
…with character driven story arcs that build to a climax, punctuated by superhero throwdowns.
Really? Character driven story arcs? Most slop out there is generally just operating as a means to get to that superfight. Pick up a comic book, bro. As far as “Traditional fiction narrative”, what the fuck do you mean? Do you feel like defining traditional? And what venue of fiction? Would you argue that Comic Book Fiction is a beast unto itself? Surely it has tropes and consistent constructions (oh shit I’m going all Ackerman in my prose) that deviate from the standards of the usual Grisham novel.
In contrast, video game storytelling generally serves as a mere background for setting up the basic mode of play
An obvious statement. The line Dan seems to be drawing is that Batman games have failed because they haven’t focused on character development and “Traditional fiction narrative”. What I’d like to posit is that they could have been fulfilling if they hadn’t been half-cooked pieces of shit thrown out there to agree with Bat Movie X. Most of the time.
Also, I’m not really sure if I agree with Dan. Most video game story lines serve as the basic mode of play? Really? Does Half-Life 2’s storyline determine that it’s a first person shooter? Not so much. As well, it seems to imply that video games are typically unsuited for a strong traditional narrative. Or maybe I’m reading it wrong. Is he suggesting that the medium (video games) has been misused? Or that it is simply ill-fitting?
I’m going to give Dan the benefit of the doubt, and assume he just means that they’ve been misused. Even still, Arkham Asylum isn’t groundbreaking in that regard. Maybe he means groundbreaking for a Batman game. Or maybe nothing at all, he never uses that work.
The entire review is opaque though. I know that there are word limits, and you have to squeeze as much as you can into as little as space. And perhaps that’s my problem with this article – you need to get the fuck over yourself, dude. Don’t try and argue a thesis for the differentiation between the “traditional fiction narrative” and the narratives used in video games in some shitty three-hundred word review. And then I begin to wonder how much of the game the guy has played:
After Dan discusses the aspects similar to God of War, he goes on to say:
But you’ll need ample brainpower to follow a suspect’s DNA trail or find the many hidden clues
Really? Ample brainpower? What an ugly sentence for starters. And then, how much of the game did you play, dude? There’s hyper-exposition by the character Batman in the game that constantly keeps the gamer on his path. If anything, from what I’ve played, the game seems surprisingly dumb and linear. Not to say it isn’t fun, but brainpower? I mean, surely with your phrases like “traditional fictional narrative” and “reconciles these two formats’ disparate aesthetics”, you must have excelled. Seriously. What a bunch of pretentious garbage.
I know that at Spin the writers seem to fashion themselves as cool hunters and reject anything that doesn’t sound like a shitty thesis paper for any sort of article, but it just seems absurd. A half-baked review that is more interested with textual wankage than actually serving a good review. Listen, the mouthbreathing assfucks who are reading the magazine in their Extra Small t-shirts and their black jeans that cut off circulation are two things. Fucking dumb, and hyper impressionable. Not only are they going to not understand your crap, but they’re going to start thinking this kind of awful prose is acceptable.
And oh yeah, you have that job and I don’t.