E3 Is Dead – Long Live Corporate Prosaicism

As we move past E3 2017 and into the second half of the year it is starting to feel more and more like gamers are reaching a similar jaded point to movie-goers.  Then again, maybe it’s the other way around – take a look at the box office numbers for a majority of movies anymore and you will see a similar downward spiral.

No matter how you look at it, the state of video games is still strong.  I feel like the trend of indie games has finally hit a downslope as there isn’t much out there that I am hearing about to make me think of some of the big hits we experienced a few years ago.

E3 came and went without giving me much pause this year.  The Xbox One X doesn’t impress me any more than the Nintendo Switch does with portable controllers.  It’s just a lot of ‘meh’ when it comes to my needs and general taste as a gamer.  Maybe it’s because I am a bit more difficult to impress as I get older.

The few games I am looking forward to that were either covered at E3 or are simply coming out soon are:

Shadow of the Colossus –

This was one of my favorite titles on PS2.  I fought the urge to buy it on PS3 simply because I didn’t have a lot invested in the system or my game library.  SotC was one of the most beautiful games I had played simply because it felt like I was walking through a misty dreamscape the entire time.  The idea that a world was there with giant bosses to hunt down and figure out on the fly made it all the more intriguing.

Wolfenstein 2 – The New Colossus (yes, another use of the word ‘colossus’) –

The New Order truly surprised me from a story perspective.  It included a lot of humor and some unsettling circumstances that made it fun to kill Nazi’s again (it doesn’t actually get old).  Wolfenstein was announced by Bethesda while they didn’t announce anything for a new Elder Scrolls game that wasn’t MMO related or money grab related with their newname for a paid mod system.  Wolfenstein looks like another game that will be fun as hell to play through.  My only wish is that it had some sort of multiplayer along the lines of the old PC game ‘Return To Castle Wolfenstein’.

Call of Duty – WWII –

I can’t help but find myself excited to play through this campaign.  Why?  Because there aren’t going to be stupid booster jumps and wall running.  There won’t be any sort of futuristic guns that can somehow shoot plasma charges or whatever the hell they have been doing since Advanced Warfare.  The multiplayer in COD has taken a back seat for me over the last few years.  Now that I have more important things to take care of or spend time doing, I really don’t care about my place on leaderboards.  I probably won’t buy this on day one, but I will certainly give it a try.

Crash Bandicoot – N Sane Trilogy –

My brother and I used to play the Crash Bandicoot all the time as kids on our PS1.  This game really has my nostalgia more than anything.  I think it might be something I wait to buy for some time simply because there isn’t anything ‘time sensitive’ about this game in my opinion.

 

I am on the fence with one of my annual purchases…

Madden 18 – Of the many things I am hoping for, it is the continued improvement of Connected Franchise Mode.  There are so many parts of the Madden experience that can be improved for fans of franchise mode that I find myself on the fence when it comes to disappointment or content with the progress.  The new cinematic mode ‘Longshot’ seems to be playing at the desires of Youtubers and their ilk.  I must say, it looked somewhat interesting, but if I want to play a story game I am going to stick with legit RPG’s and such.  Madden needs to stick to what it is trying to do the best – and that is making a strong simulation football game.  If you want to be honest about sports games at this point you will see that they are turning into microtransaction machines for their Ultimate Team modes far more than improving the actual game.  I can’t really blame them for bending to the whims of their corporate masters.  I can speak with my wallet and to that end, I have been siding with the growing numbers of people that wait to play these games until they come down in price or get them on eBay just to keep the money out of the publishers hand a bit more.

The other aspect of Madden that has all but turned me off completely is the community that EA Tiburon has generally focused on over the last few years.  I refuse to give these guys any sort of shout out or publicity – suffice to say that they all generally gather in a specific online sports gaming forum, run YouTube Channels, are a part of the ‘Game Changers’, live on Twitter, or a mix of all of those things. They seem to think they are experts when it comes to the game of football.  They also seem to grovel at the feet of EA Sports.  They will occasionally say something to make a point of false contention, but in the end – they are in this for their own motivations and have no reason to bite the hand that feeds them (monetarily, with free games, extra access, etc.).

Obviously this criticism comes off as me either being a hater or some sort of jealousy.  I am actually proof reading what I type down and try to remain honest and critical when it comes to my work as well.  My real beef with the Madden community is that it isn’t a functional community anymore.  The YouTube crowd and Madden Tournament crowd has destroyed this community.  The idea that there is almost literally no other football game for anyone to play goes further in destroying the community in terms of feedback, conversation, and synergy.  The ongoing monopoly is hampering creativity with Madden as well as MLB The Show.  When these games both have to copy the style of NBA 2K in order to bring something new to their games it would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad.

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Baseball Cards, Nostalgia, and My Refusal to Sell Memories

Twenty years ago this weekend (Easter Weekend – not the date) I was celebrating Easter with my family.  One memory I have from growing up is getting Easter Baskets with candy and chocolate, etc.  The one twist my parents liked to do was give my brother and I a few packs of baseball cards along with it.  That was the real excitement for me.  On Easter Morning in 1997 I opened a regular retail pack of Topps Baseball cards and it changed my perception of everything in my favorite hobby.

The interesting thing about collecting baseball cards in the 1980’s and 1990’s was that it was strangely profit driven.  Even in the young mind of adolescent kids, it somehow became more about what a card was ‘worth’ rather than the excitement of pulling a specific player or insert strictly for the joy and surprise in the eyes of a collector.  My dad always told me that cards (and anything else, really) were/are only worth what someone would/will actually give you for them.

One of the card types I had never pulled from any Topps pack was a Finest or even more rare, Finest Refractor.  It was a super glossy rendition of a card that actually had a protective plastic cover to keep it from getting scratched in the package, a refractor was a card that had the glossy finish but also gave a rainbow color refraction.  The big cards in that set were Willie Mays autographs and Mickey Mantle reprints, etc.  I collected Ken Griffey Jr. and Frank Thomas cards when I was a kid.  A refractor of any sort was generally a tough card to pull – let alone insert cards from special sets.

My dad always told me about the great ballplayers from his childhood – Mantle being one of his favorites, although he was relatively young when the Mick was entering the end of his career.  To me, he was the Griffey of his generation on the field and at bat.  They both ended up having career numbers cut short because of injuries.

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As I opened my pack of cards I was already excited about baseball season coming around.  I hoped I would pull a Griffey card to add to my collection. After flipping through the first few cards I noticed nothing special.  Generally, my luck was zilch… my brother had the nickname ‘Lucky Boy’ ever since I can remember.  No matter what packs of cards or contests he would enter with me or whatever it was – he would win.  I figured he would get some card in his pack that simply didn’t exist.  I don’t remember what cards he pulled on that day simply because this was my lucky day – and I haven’t forgotten (obviously) all these years later.

Sitting in the living room with the lights off and the sun coming up; I made it halfway through my first pack and knew there was nothing special, maybe a Barry Larkin or something.  Then I opened the second pack and it was the same story, a couple decent guys (I think I pulled a Barry Bonds insert).  Then, in the third (last) pack from my Easter basket I looked through them with my typical cynicism and about halfway through the pack I stopped.  I was looking at two players on the same card that blew me away.  Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron standing side by side… I couldn’t believe it!  Then I saw that it had the typical protective plastic cover that meant it was a Topps Finest.  As I let out a yell and did a fist pump I went over to show my dad and my brother what I had pulled.  My few steps across the room and into a bit more light made me stop in my tracks.

I had pulled a Topps Finest Refractor Mickey Mantle card.  Not only that, but it was a card with Hank Aaron next to him.  It felt like I was floating.  This stuff didn’t happen for me… this had to be my brother’s pack of cards.  No, it was mine and this was real.  To this day I remember my dad telling me how cool it was and my brother was his typical awesome self, not an ounce of jealousy as he was simply excited for me.  To this day I always think about opening that pack of cards and the joy that it brought me. 

I looked up the ‘value’ as soon as I could get my hands on a price guide that had the card listed.  It was listed at between $50 and $80.  I was 13, so holding a card ‘worth’ that much money felt like a surreal moment of presumed wealth.  The only thing was that eBay wasn’t a thing.  Hell, the internet was barely a thing at that point – especially in rural Ohio.  I had no real means of selling the card and even then – I didn’t want to.  It was more than just a rare card, it was my rare card.  It was my lucky day and it was a day that I didn’t want to forget… not even for $80.

Now, twenty years later, I am 33 years old and I have had to store a lot of my things as my wife and I have moved around the country for a few years.  My entire childhood baseball card collection is among the things my parents are keeping safe for me whenever I come back home and have a place of my own for those things.

Somewhere in my box of top loader and screw down cases of baseball cards there is a 1997 Topps Mickey Mantle Finest Refractor that is worth more to me than it would be to most people.

mickey card

It is the reason why every year around this time I will go to the store and buy baseball cards.  There aren’t a lot of ways to feel like a kid again, but for me this is one of those things that brings me back to that Easter morning with my family and a few packs of baseball cards.

It’s also the type of feeling that comes with cherished memories… and that is something for me that’s never for sale.

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The Intervention – When You Abandon Your Games

Every time a new game comes out I am faced with a weird sort of confrontation when I go to put the new case next to the other games/cases in my library.

It turns into some kind of intervention experience where games I have not yet completed get a chance to have a brief face to face (or case to face?) meeting with me.  With Mass Effect Andromeda coming out in the next few days I decided to make space on my PS4 hard drive and rearrange my games with the slight OCD that I typically have for my media.  It was at this moment I realized that I will have about eight months to play through some of the titles I own before Red Dead Redemption 2 comes out and makes me feel the same way I do right now.

Today I am going to do something I think a lot of gamers should do once they have a large library and consequently a decent amount of games they own that they have yet to complete (at least in regards to the single player experience).

I think the first thing that most should do is decide which games you have the most interest in actually playing through.  While this seems easy to do you shouldn’t forget that there is probably a reason you haven’t beaten these games yet.  For myself the first aspect is determining why I bothered buying a title to begin with. Did I buy the game for multiplayer or did I buy it for the story (and other quests, etc.) and which cost me the most money – yes, the financial aspect actually matters to me.  The other aspect is why I stopped playing through the game to begin with.  That actually comes into play in a bigger way that will be covered later.

My list of PS4 games I have yet to beat includes –

Dark Souls 3, Dragon Age Inquisition, Murdered – Soul Suspect, Dark Souls 2, Shadow of Mordor, Battlefield 1, Call of Duty Infinite Warfare.

Dark Souls 3 is a game that I decided to jump into because I had finally beaten Bloodborne.  The problem with this is the fact that I never played more than 20 minutes into another Souls game.  I somehow managed to beat a few bosses on Dark Souls 3 before getting stuck in some church area on the edge of a bog and a castle/fort.  The fact that I am inexperienced in the lore of this game is also something that eats at me.  I see so many references on the Dark Souls reddit page that I just don’t understand.  So many aspects of leveling weapons, wearing certain rings, doing all sorts of things that are a complete mystery to me and then make me feel like quitting before I start it back up.  I wish I could say I’d beat this game someday with any sort of confidence, but I really don’t know that I will have the patience needed to deal with beating the third game in a trilogy that I never experience the beginning or middle of in almost any real way.

Dragon Age is a game I that I never got into for whatever reason.  I think it’s primarily because every time I find the desire to play it there is a new game available in the same type of fantasy realm that is a bit less cumbersome.  I own Dragon Age Origins on my 360 and Inquisition on my PS4.  Both games were purchased pre-owned and for a rather cheap price (both were under $10 if memory serves correctly, maybe even closer to $5).  They were also both purchased around the time I was starting or finishing Skyrim, The Witcher 3, and Bloodborne.  Once I tried to play Dragon Age it felt like I was being punished or relegated to some sort of half-cocked in-between of The Witcher 3 and Skyrim. That doesn’t change the fact that I feel like I am missing out on a huge world and a hopefully big story from BioWare. 

Murdered – Soul Suspect was a game I bought for the hell of it.  I placed a $1.50 bid on eBay and won the game (with free shipping as well).  It was clearly an early PS4 release as the graphical presentation wasn’t much to brag about.  I did enjoy the concept of an original story and a game that tore at the edges of a new experience in storytelling.  The only problem was that I got stuck in a part of the game that became more annoying than it should have been.  Between possessing a cat and trying to avoid some sort of SquareSoft version of Harry Potter dementors I lost interest and the general desire to finish the game.

Dark Souls 2 was purchased mostly because I want to play through the games and join whatever club exists that allows us to reference the ‘sun bro’ with a wink and a nod (no, I don’t know what the Sun Bro stuff means… but I want to).  The biggest problem I have with Dark Souls 2 is that it feels so clunky and slow compared to Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3.  It really is as simple as that.  I find it hard to play through a game that is almost prohibitively difficult and when it isn’t enjoyable, it makes it all the less desireable.

Shadow of Mordor was a game that I had wanted for a long time.  My friend actually bought it for me on my 33rd birthday last year.  I played about 5-6 hours of the game before I realized that it was a Lord of the Rings version of Assassin’s Creed.  Actually, I realized that aspect early on in the game.  What took me a bit longer to decide was whether or not I cared to finish the story once I had started playing through.  The answer was a big fat ‘no’.  I will beat this game at some point, hopefully… I tend to feel that way about games and books bought for me by friends and family.  It is almost as if you owe them more than yourself.  But Shadow of Mordor is a game that will have to wait until after Dark Souls 2 and 3.  So, it might be awhile.

Battlefield 1 is a game I bought for the multiplayer.  Face it, EA DICE isn’t really known for putting together any sort of compelling story for their Battlefield series.  Bad Company was decent enough in some ways, but I can’t think of any reason other than trophies to play through the campaign of Battlefield.  Every time I start to play though any of the single player aspects of this game I feel like I am missing better opportunities to experience ‘Only In Battlefield’ moments… which is why I still own Battlefield 4 as well.

Call of Duty Infinite Warfare.  Seriously, if you played through Black Ops 3 and finished it without rolling your eyes off the top of your head… I would say you deserve a congratulatory pat on the back, but I really think you might need a hug.  I got Infinite Warfare Legacy Edition for two reasons… It was on sale for $40 (which $35 was covered by selling my Final Fantasy XV) and because I all but worshiped the Modern Warfare series.  The only reason Infinite Warfare is installed on my PS4 is because it is required to play Modern Warfare Remastered (talk about a desperate attempt at getting someone to play through another garbage single player experience in COD).  I would rather play through Modern Warfare Remastered’s single player campaign instead of Infinite Warfare – that should tell you how interested I am in their stupid attempt to be more like Halo that they ever should have.

Now that that is settled, I am somehow less interested in beating any of these games and more excited about Mass Effect – Andromeda. 

Which games in your library are on your list of ‘To Beat’?

Mass Effect Andromeda Vs. The Jaded Keyboard Jockeys

Mass Effect Andromeda has been getting brutalized by some reviewers over the last few days.  While some would-be gamers like to fancy themselves as respectable ‘Reviewers’ I am hopeful that they learn what it means to grade a piece of media on any sort of scale (qualitative or quantitative) and the danger it poses for some gamers that might actually enjoy the game – regardless of reviews.

I am not an Xbox One owner and I don’t own a PC that can run the new Mass Effect without buying a new case and GPU to play the game early.  I can say from my experiences as a former Mass Effect player that most of the reviews I have read don’t really surprise me in many regards.  It does make me wonder if any of these people played through the initial trilogy.

I played through Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 before taking a hiatus after hearing that the trilogy had a ‘bad’ ending.  See what a bad review can do to someone that should make their own decision?  The first sentence of this paragraph is why I am more than willing to give Mass Effect Andromeda a chance.  I don’t know that I will be a day one purchaser, but I can tell you that the crux of the bad reviews has left a bad taste in my mouth.

Some reviewers talk about how the navigation system of cumbersome and counter-intuitive controls.  Did they never play the first three titles? Seriously, I still didn’t know how to equip attachments to my weapons by the time I finished ME2!  The wheel navigation, the loading screens, the seemingly pointless conversations with NPCs… the list goes on in some ways.  Mind you – this was my impression of the initial trilogy… not Andromeda.

Jack

By the time I finished Mass Effect 2 I found myself actually missing Jack (a character I really grew to appreciate) as she died at the end of my playthrough.  I have read a lot of books in my life and I have become attached to a lot of characters in those printed words.  Never did I feel sadness at the loss of a character like I felt when I lost Jack. This was nearly ten years ago and goes to prove my point that while Mass Effect had controls that I didn’t particularly care for and dialogue that was lame at times – it was a great story that grabbed my soul in some ways.  It is up to the gamer to find their reason to save the universe and maybe some of the people in it.

Mass Effect is a story meant to be played through.  Yes, you get to choose your own adventure in some ways.  Deciding to be a dick to someone asking you a stupid question might make you feel like the renegade you are earning points for, but really… aren’t you playing a role in something bigger?  In a game about the far reaches of a galaxy it doesn’t seem fair for someone to say a game is crappy or bad because the dialogue options seem mundane.  Granted, maybe they should take a look at their own reviews and ask themselves who the real cliché is in this case.

I won’t be an apologist for whatever Mass Effect Andromeda turns out to be.  If it is as disappointing as No Man’s Sky I will be the first to laugh at my future purchase (thank the gaming gods that I never bought NMS).  However, you won’t find me being harsh to a game that will hopefully prove to be a nice reintroduction to the Mass Effect universe.

I hope to find a character that grabs me like Jack did during the original trilogy. In the end, we are all just trying to find a reason to save our own universe.  In the case of Mass Effect Andromeda I hope to do the same.

Making Your CFM Last For Decades – Team Building House Rules In Madden 17

In the words of Aaron Lewis (from Staind), It’s Been Awhile.

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In the spirit of not only updating NoobTubeTV with new and fresh things for the secular Holiday Season of Capitalism and video games during the winter snow and vortex.  I am presenting a new way to play a part of your Madden 17 Connected Franchise Mode from the Owner/Coach perspective!

This will focus on house rules I have implemented over the course of playing multiple seasons with multiple teams in CFM.  Before we get into the details of how to make a great experience more challenging and entertaining I have to give you the ‘why’.

Madden has improved in many regards as far as CFM goes.  They really have made strides and complete jumps to another level in some cases.  That said, they also have a lot of work to do with figuring out how teams deal with the salary cap and such.  By the time you reach season 4 and 5 in your CFM (2019-2020) you will start to see that almost every team is in a dire situation with salary caps and such.

One easy fix is to turn off salary caps.  I suggest not doing this simply because it’s nice to have a limitation placed on yourself during the offseason.

The other issue is that it is still way too easy to accumulated tons of first round picks and later picks as well.  On top of that part being easy it is also relatively simple to scout for players that you can draft with assurance that they will be rated 75+ OVR.  In order to preserve an ongoing CFM that will not only keep your team competitive, but also honest – here is my Madden 17 method of Team Management House Rules.

During The Season

Re-Signing Players –  Because you get a chance to make three offers during the season before you have one final chance after the season and then into free agency this rule is easy.
NOTE – This doesn’t mean you are limited to having certain OVR players on your team.  This is strictly a limit on re-signing players during the season.  This is meant to make your team stay within the same general competitive level as others and give other teams a shot at signing great players as well.

  • Any player rated 90+ is permitted ONE offer at any point during the season and you can only re-sign ONE of these players during the season.  If you have multiple 90+ rated players you must choose who you place the most value in keeping.  If they decline you then have to wait until the final re-sign chance after your season is over.
  • Any player rated 80-89 is permitted TWO offers at any point during the season.  The difference here is that you get to re-sign up to SEVEN players rated 80-89 during the season.
  • Players rated 79 and lower don’t have limits on offers.  Do what you want to here.

Scouting and The Draft

Here’s the deal.  You get to scout any players you want.  Feel free to go bonkers and even get the Scouting Perk for your coach.  The catch is that you are limited once the draft arrives.

Using the ‘Watch’ function is key to this rule and it will make the draft a hell of a lot more fun for you.  Not to mention more challenging from the perspective of adding some realism.

First, your draft picks will have limitations (This will also help you avoid weird salary cap penalties if you want to cut a rookie with guaranteed money – this can and does happen).

Scouting and Watching –

Each draft pick you own will allow you to watch a certain number of players projected in that round (prior to drafting them)

1st Round – 6 Watchable Players (2 Picks = 12 Watchable Players)

2nd & 3rd Round – 7 Watchable Players (two picks = 14 watchable players per round)

4th – 7th Round – 8 Watchable Players (three picks = 24 watchable players per round)

HERE IS THE CATCH!

  • You must select your watched players before the draft begins.
  • You only get to manually draft a player that you have watched.
  • You may draft any player from any projected round at any time.
  • If none of your watched players are available you have two options
    • Simulate the pick (you get to keep any draft pick obtained if it is traded and you must keep the player drafted for at least one season, if only on the practice squad.)
    • Trade the pick
      • You may trade this for any pick or set of picks.  However, you need to even out your pick numbers prior to Week 9 of the regular season.

You get a maximum of 12 picks in any one draft each year.

1st Round – Maximum of two picks in one draft (Never two years in a row).  If you have two picks in one year you only get one the next year.  If you find that a team wants to trade up and give you a pick you can only do it for lower round picks OR must trade the new First Round Pick to a team with one of the ten WORST records without giving them more than two picks as well.

  • If you make an Washington/St. Louis for RG3 kind of deal with a team you must count your 1st Round Picks as two picks each.  This means you lose two picks extra picks that year.  You must trade two picks two another team.

2nd Round – Maximum of two picks

3rd Round – Maximum of two picks

4th Round – Maximum of three picks

5th Round – Maximum of three picks

6th Round – Maximum of three picks

7th Round – Maximum of three picks

These rules are meant to keep your CFM fair for the CPU and fun for your own benefit.

I have had to make tough decisions and even gamble on re-signing a few players because of weak draft classes.  Usually, I roll with my Browns in Madden CFM and this year I made it through five seasons before realizing that building such a dominant team with multiple draft picks made the actual experience less enjoyable.  I had to start a new one just to keep my interest in Madden (as I don’t particularly enjoy the lag fest and arcade feel of Madden Online).

Now that these new rules have fixed my CFM experience, it’s time to start fresh and this time I will be starting with the Bills.

Happy Holiday Gaming!

Why Does It Matter?

Why does it matter? 

It might be one of the biggest questions we use when it comes to arguing against changing something we do.

There always seems to be some sort of outrage accompanying everything these days.  More and more we have seen this with racial and gender depictions of characters in our entertainment – especially movies and video games.  The outrage is always met from the ‘other side’ with ‘Why does it matter?’, ‘Get over it.’, or something similar in that regard.  For most of my life I felt the same way about these issues.  Granted, I am also a straight white male that has been told or has read that I have ‘privilege and power’.  As strangely normal as that seems to a lot of people it is also stranger that I find myself in possession of power that many others don’t have and I didn’t seem to notice until relatively recently.  What has made it worse for me is that it has taken a toll on my life and how my mind has been programmed over the years. 

This is why it is so crucial to not only admit that there is an inherent inequality and bigotry in our society. In fact, inequality seems to drive our society.  It is generally what drives every storyline in nearly every book, movie, and video game. It is a lens through which most of the world likes to see the world because it somehow attempts to blur a lot of the lines we don’t want to see.  It is a very old lens that we have all worn at some point or another and it has only become a hindrance of change the longer we have worn it.

The big strong warrior saves the damsel in distress.  The huge (white) god like character seeks vengeance on those that wronged him and hooks up with all sorts of ladies in the process.  The fat plumber saves the hot princess from the clutches of a dragon and his henchmen.  Meanwhile, we go about all of this as business as usual and it all makes sense because it matches up with what we have and continue to engrain with children from birth until they soak it up and sponge feed it to their own offspring.

Boys love trucks, the color blue, guns, sports, and saving huge breasted, scantily clad women.

Girls love horses, the color pink, cooking, babies, and apparently also love helplessly falling into the clutches of bad men so they can be rescued by a different big strong man.

It also seems that white male characters dominate almost every important role. 

They are the primary protagonist in almost every video game and movie.  Even the bad ones generally have some sort of strange seductive righteousness more often than we’d like to admit.

Meanwhile, characters with darker complexions and different ethnicities are generally shown in ways that either focus on a stereotype or racial bias.  Why is it that so many people will go out and watch these movies or buy these video games without considering what they are seeing is contributing to continued racism, xenophobia, and often – hidden fears that build into normalized distrust and hatred.  Case in point – somehow, through most of the great series ‘Breaking Bad’ we looked at Walter White and Jessie Pinkman as tragic heroes that were only doing what they had to do (making and distributing methamphetamine) as a last resort.  Almost every other drug dealer and ‘bad guy’ in the show was generally assumed to be in a ‘normal’ role that strictly fit the character of non-white character.

I like to think that my generation is the first that will completely flip the script on a lot of these things.  I was raised in a climate supposedly ‘after’ racism was something in the past that we should learn about as a fact rather than a constant danger. Sexism was something that was generally scoffed at or held at an arm’s length because it was a silly accusation by some of the more ‘butch’ girls or ‘sissy’ guys.  Homophobia was still so comfortably normal that most of the slurs for homosexuals weren’t considered offensive language in many schools and universities – even now this is a symptom of a far worse situation.  Sadly, my generation hasn’t and isn’t going to be the one that ends this societal sickness. 

My generation is the first video game/gamer generation.  Since circa 1980 (I was born in 83) we have had video games in almost every home with a TV.  If we didn’t have a console we could hit up an arcade for our digital fix.  The games have become more violent, more racist, and frighteningly more sexist.  Say what you want about whether these things effect the minds of those that play them in any way (they do).  The fact that we watch these movies and buy these games by the millions and companies make money by the billions tells me that much of what we consider as entertainment, hobby, or digital lifestyle is also a manner of continuing these toxic cycles and societal structures.

Yet, I see promise.

Now we find ourselves in what seems to be a surprising situation in the internet age.  I didn’t have the internet until I was 14 or 15… even then, it was dial-up.  We have started to divert from the old paths and break through the boundaries that those in power constructed over centuries of impropriety. It’s difficult to admit a lot of these things to ourselves – no matter on which side we find ourselves or our opinions.  What has been considered ‘normal’ and commonplace is starting to morph into something new.  The new ‘normal’ isn’t about destroying those in power or wrecking their status as fellow humans.  It is about helping them and everyone else change out that old dirty lens through which they have looked at the world and see it through clear eyes and curious minds that want to know about other people and places rather than simply fear and hate them.

I see promise in the parents that let their boys grow long hair and style it as they wish or paint their nails any color they want.  I see promise in the parents that let their daughters buzz their hair, play with trucks, become soldiers, police, or fire fighters and choose not to paint their nails any color.  I see promise in my peers that have come out with pride that they are who they are and love who they love.  I see promise in a world that no matter how much it seems that hate wants to have a voice or cause distress and pain – love and understanding always seems to drown it out with a resounding cheer.  I see promise in the growing change and demanding of equality when it comes to all walks of life.

I see promise in the fact that I can answer the one question that seems to prevent people from changing their views –

 ‘Why does it matter?’.