I announced today, to my FurryMUCK clique, that I didn't want to see any more trailers for Monster Hunter 3
. The game doesn't just annoy me: it actively pisses me off
, and worse, it makes me think badly not only of gamers in general but of Japanese culture, in wide, bigoted swaths.
The game is beautifully animated, and the eponymous monsters of the title are magnificently designed. Every trailer looks like a wonderful Discovery Channel nature documentary of a world that never was, full of dinosaurs and dragons and even more exotic creatures -- right up until you get to the gameplay, which involves killing things and dismembering them for their body parts to make
cheesy, tawdry consumer goods
kewl weapons and armor and magic items.
The generation that grew up on Cute And Fuzzy Cockfighting Seizure Monsters
has graduated to Heroic Head-Bashing Harp Seal Hunters
. Look at these marvelous creatures! The loving detail that went into their creation! The magnificent, balletic fluidity of their motion! LET'S HIT THEM WITH CLUBS!
This is a game that comes from one of the last whaling nations on Earth. I'm sorry -- this is that "wide, bigoted swath" I mentioned -- but I can't help but see a connection.
This doesn't piss me off as a guy who pretends to be a dragon online. This pisses me off as an Environmental Scientist
, and a human being
raised with some semblance of decency and empathy toward the natural world.
I don't put much credence into combat games as "murder simulators", but I do think the prevalent attitude these games have that animals serve no purpose other than to exploit, enslave or slaughter provides a bad example.
I wish I could believe that this was meant ironically, or as a commentary on the exploitation of the natural world. The unambitious modeling and jerky animation of the player avatars certainly suggests that; they're raw, brutish intrusions on the elegantly savage ballet of the "monsters". A decade of Happy Cartoony Cockfighting Games For Little Children makes that hard, though.
And after all that self-righteous ranting to my homies about how terrible it is to brainwash kiddies into seeing the slaughter and exploitation of magnificent animals as something fun and exciting, I announced that I was gonna go grab a burger before work.
And then, at work, I was chatting with two of my regular customers, and one of them said, "you really need to get a PSP. Do you have any consoles at all? There's this game..."
"Funny thing, that", said I...