Sexism, racism, and a small request

Note: this was taken pretty much word for word from a Kanye style, multi post twitter rant. The point still stands though

Dear Gamers,

Please stop being sexist, and racist.

I shouldn’t have to ask really, but that’s where we are.

Y’see, the thing is, we’re all connected by a shared passtime.

So, when you’re sexist, or racist, people associate me with that.

It’s a bit like when WH Smith put the games magazines next to the ‘lads mags’.

I don’t want people thinking that I read ‘Nuts’ or ‘Loaded’, because I don’t want people making the assumptions about me that come with it.

I also don’t want people thinking that I’m sexist, or racist, just because I play video games and make drunk videos about them.

There’s also the small issue about sexism and racism just being plain wrong. Yeah, there’s that.

So, Gamers, please stop being sexist and racist.

I can’t afford to buy one of those bastards in here – Aliens: Colonial Marines

Full disclosure – I’ve not played Aliens: Colonial MarinesI might have a few quid to spend on a bad old game now and again, but I don’t have £50 to spunk away on one.

That said, having read the reviews and heard opinions from games writers I respect and trust, I can be fairly sure that it’s bollocks.

‘These people are dead Burke! Have you any idea what you’ve done here?’

Aliens: Colonial Marines.

For some people, these words will provoke some kind of emotional response. Until about 11.59 am on 12 February, mine was excitement. I was honestly breathless in my anticipation.

Now? Looking back, I’m fairly sure I’ve gone through the seven stages of grief over the past few weeks.

‘I’d like to introduce you to a personal friend of mine’

I make no secret of my love for James Cameron’s 1986 masterpiece, ‘Aliens’. It is without question my favourite film of all time.

When I was a child, I recorded it off the TV, and wore out the VHS tape watching it. I could nearly quote the whole film from start to finish.

As a young adult, I bored (now former) lovers to tears as I pored over the DVD special features.

I fucking love Aliens, so the critical mauling the game has received causes my heart to hurt.

‘What the hell are we supposed to use man? Harsh language?’

It’s no secret that ‘Aliens’ has served as a source of inspiration and influence for first person shooters since game designers first thought about shooting things from a first person point of view, with guns.

The Doom series took inspiration from it. The Quake series took inspiration from it. Nearly every first person shooter that you have ever played has taken inspiration from those terrifying encounters within the claustrophobic halls on LV-426.

With this in mind, it’s no surprise that expectations tend to be high in the run up to any ‘Alien’ game, let alone one claiming to be a canonical sequel to ‘Aliens’. Up until this point, conventional wisdom has been that ‘Aliens’ is the ultimate first person shooter licence.

Having thought about it for a while now, I disagree.

‘I am the ultimate badass. You do not want to fuck with me’

I don’t mean to to excuse the many problems with Aliens: Colonial Marines. Apparently the game is a broken piece of shit, regardless of the licence.

However, while (over) analysing the film, one thought came to mind.

‘Aliens’ only has two major action sequences involving the marines, and both are at odds with the modern first person shooter.

‘We got nukes, we got knives, sharps sticks’

Let’s take a look at the first person shooter as it exists today.

The modern first person shooter for the most part tends to revolve around the idea that you are a walking death machine.

Your health regenerates, you shrug off bullet wounds with a hearty laugh, you carry meaty big weapons, and often save the day/planet/universe single handedly.

You are empowered.

In contrast, the poor marines in the film are not empowered. When they encounter the creatures, they fare badly. Very badly.

They start off with a familiar sense of empowerment and bravado. One particular scene, restored for the special edition, is important as it shows just how much faith the marines place in their weaponry.

It soon disappears as they face a deadly, unknown enemy.

Their weapons are taken from them and they find themselves outside of their comfort zone, still clutching their empty, impotent pulse rifles for support.

They are terrified, unable to comprehend the horror around them.

They are threatened, and because of this, they are powerless.

They die in a variety of brutal, unpleasant ways

‘They’re coming out the god damn walls!’

The sense of threat that runs through the film, to me, is essential to the make up of any potential ‘Aliens’ game. However, it is largely absent from the DNA of the modern first person shooter.

Sure, you’ll feel excited, perhaps even tense as the skills you’ve developed are tested against an carefully plotted difficulty curve, but never threatened.

You won’t feel your chest tighten, your breath get short, and the back of your neck grow cold.

‘Let’s just bug out and call it even’

At a basic level, ‘Aliens’ revolves around avoiding conflict or contact with the creatures at any cost.

‘Aliens’ isn’t a film about fighting a horde of monster, it’s a film about running away from them.

Your average first person shooter avatar doesn’t run away.