Before we get started I would like to apologize for the lack of posting lately. I have a lot on my plate at the moment; taxes, chores, schoolwork, make-up work, homework, actual work, the list goes on.
I officially hate being an adult.
But anyway, I have this nice long list of things that I plan to make a post on. I’ve taken to writing these thoughts down whenever I have them lest I lose track of them inside my head (which happens quite a bit more frequently than I’d like).
I am not going to write about any of them. Instead I’m going to regress to my old favorite where I use my blog/journal as a mouthpiece to vent my feelings. I will make a genuine effort to keep this from being typical teenager malarkey about “OMG my parents are like sooooo unfair,” but I make no promises. This is what goes on in my head, hope it helps you understand something a little better.
Last night, I was playing Left 4 Dead 2 with one of my friends (most of my truly good friends share a lot of characteristics with me; I’d eat my large and impressive hat collection if they aren’t Aspies) and we’re having a grand old time trolling each other to death over and over, laughing it up and enjoying the game in that certain way you can only do while playing with friends and voice-chatting.
My brother, as he has taken to doing, was watching me play while he fiddled with a Macbook, ostensibly doing something on his own but really just watching me. I had a suspicion at the time that he wasn’t actually allowed to use that Macbook (though he assured me otherwise) on account of every time someone walked about in the hallway he’d look up real furtive-like.
Going back to the main point, my mother (seeking out my brother for who knows what, it wasn’t my concern at the time) walked in just as I got pounced by a Hunter in-game. To provide some context, Left 4 Dead is a zombie apocalypse game. Certain zombies in-game (such as the Hunter) have unique abilities that add to gameplay, usually by encouraging the survivors to stick together and help each other instead of running Leeroy Jenkins across the map and abandoning their supposed buddies. The Hunter performs this function by pouncing on a Survivor, pinning them down and preventing them from using their gun, and then conducting an ersatz game of Operation on them. It’s not terribly pretty to watch, I admit.
Anyway, so my mother walks in and asks me what exactly I’m doing. I reply that I’m playing a video game. What’s going through my head at this point is that there’s nothing wrong with this, for numerous reasons: Left 4 Dead is rated M, for very good reason. As you expect it is a very graphic and violent game. In order to play a rated M game one must be 17. I hadn’t played it before 17, and I’m 18 now, so I saw no problem whatsoever with that. Besides that both of my parents had seen me playing the game before and neither had commented on it so I assumed they were fine with it. Evidently not.
Mom tells me to turn off the game. My response is an old favorite of mine: “Why?” Her response was that it was extremely violent and realistic and gruesome. To which I responded that yeah, it was violent and gruesome, but even ignoring the idea of “zombie apocalypse” it wasn’t realistic. The zombies come apart waaaay too easily for that (it’s almost amusing, really), and besides that things such as the Hunter’s pounce would kill any human not operating off a hitpoint system. I suppose that really wasn’t terribly pertinent at the time but I was miffed that she thought it was realistic, sue me.
Anyway, after that, her response was “I don’t like it, turn it off.” Naturally that irritated the crap out of me. What I desperately wanted to say ran something along the lines of, “you don’t have to like it, I’m the one playing the bloody game!” I offered to shut the door (and lock it to keep my brother out; the lock won’t keep my parents out if they want to get in so I just let them in most of the time anyway) and she responded with no, she didn’t like the game. By this point I was totally bamboozled. Okay, you don’t like the game. I’m fine with it. Simple solution: don’t watch me play the game.
Anyway, she went down and, from what little I heard, ranted to my Dad about how horrifying a game I was playing. He came up with his “SUPER SRS BIDNESS” face on and asked what I was playing. I answered everything with my typical sledgehammer bluntness. He asked to see the game in question, which took me well off-guard, considering that my parents have about as much interest in video games as I’ve got in sports. So I loaded up the game, started a single-player match against the computer and played through part of the level before he said stop. He said he didn’t like the game either.
Naturally my first impulse was to go “well, great, you can dislike it all you want, it’s my game.” I’m awfully impertinent, but I’m not stupid, so I didn’t say it. He then proceeded to say that he didn’t want me to play it either because he didn’t like it. Again with the desired response that I didn’t say because I’m not a complete moron despite what my antics would suggest. The rest of the argument went nowhere because I didn’t want to get thrown out of the house, which is what would happen if I actually got a chance to say anything that was on my mind instead of having to make it all politically correct.
The main thing that makes me bitter is that I’m being banned from a fantastically fun game purely because of my parents’ opinions on it. You wouldn’t believe the laughs I’ve had with three or four of my friends in this game (one of my friends is never going to live down the time where I knocked him off a building by baiting him with a katana). To me this is the equivalent of me banning my dad from playing or watching football because I hate it. Also because football’s quite violent too, people can get seriously hurt from that (I would consider turning into a vegetable from brain damage a worse fate than being torn asunder by zombies, personally). I understand their opinion, I’m fine with them having the opinion, but come on. They’re threatening to throw me out of the house because I’m doing something they don’t like. If I was partying drunk or something immoral and/or stupid like that that’s fine, but for God’s sake this is a video game which according to the rating system I’m entitled to play, as an eighteen-year-old.
One could make the argument that, “Well, Flagmouth, you can smoke too, would you argue with them if they threatened to throw you out of the house for smoking?” No, I wouldn’t, not least because I cannot stand tobacco smoke, but even aside from that there’s a huge logical gulf between the two situations. Smoking first of all is self-harming, for obvious reasons, but not only that it harms those around you (secondhand lung cancer, anyone?) and the smoke gets into the furniture and stinks it up. There are numerous perfectly valid reasons for them to threaten to kick me out for that, even if I loved cigarettes.
Take that opposed to this video game. The only thing self-harming about that is the encouragement of a sedentary lifestyle (which, quite frankly, I’m sticking to anyway). It will literally hurt nobody so long as I keep headphones in (I haven’t got speakers for my system so that’s mandatory anyhow) and keep the door shut (which I tend to do anyway to keep my brother out of my room). And yet they threaten to kick me out of my house entirely (made doubly disastrous by the fact that I have absolutely no freaking clue where I would go after that; Asperger’s would make that sort of abrupt and complete shift in setting absolute hell) because I’m playing a video game that they don’t like. I think I might be pardoned for considering that to be a colossally petty use of authority.
Add to that the fact that out of seemingly nowhere my dad chose to bring up the computer = declining grades argument again, an argument that I’ve blown so many holes in you could use the thing as a sponge, the video games = violence argument which I was quick to shoot down as well and the argument that “This is a first person shooter.”
“Okay, and?” I know, I’m such an eloquent speaker, do contain your excitement.
“You said you never played these sorts of games.”
Well, no, I never said that. I said I never played Call of Duty, which I hate with the burning fury of a thousand suns. Left 4 Dead probably surpasses CoD in terms of sheer graphic violence (killing zombies with an axe) but my primary beef with CoD was never violence, it was the fact that the gameplay is boring point-and-click 360-noscope-headshot and the community the game has engendered is infamous for a combination of vindictive belligerence and sheer stupidity. Any CoD players out there reading this, please note this is an enormous generalization. I’m sure there are some redeeming qualities, because I’m sure there are some halfway pleasant people who play the game. All of my kudos to you. I just can’t get past the large portion of the community who are immature morons (and as said before the gameplay itself doesn’t interest me).
To say nothing of the fact that (as I did in fact point out) violent video games themselves don’t engender violence. Look at the number of people who play Call of Duty or Halo, you’d think if there was a correlation we’d see a LOT more violence. Frustration in video games can engender violence, as I can personally attest, but that wasn’t the issue.
Alright, I’m done ranting for the moment. To top everything off for you readers, this is NOT intended to be a plea to you about how my parents are unreasonable. Nor, parents (since I know you read this blog) is this intended to be a passive-aggressive attack on you. As you ought to be able to attest I don’t do passive-aggressive very well at all. This is intended to be informative, not argumentative, despite my tone throughout the writing. I’m trying to show what it’s like in heads like mine, and if the best way I can do that looks like the post above, well, so be it. I figure it’s best to get as much material onto this blog as possible (when I can…stupid meatspace) and let you guys find the bits that help you rather than filter it to death myself. One of you might find something helpful that I never would have caught, neh?