Thursday, April 3, 2008

Dream x2

Everywhere I turn it seems my friends, my coworkers and even my family are involved with this addiction. They wake up and need to do it. They need to do it after they eat, even while they eat. There is no end. Video gaming has taken over life as I know it. From Mario Galaxy and Wii to Zelda, it all seems somewhat distanced from my understanding. I am used to the original Nintendo, not Super Nintendo, N64, I mean Duck Hunt or Super Mario Brothers, the first one. These new systems, new controllers, crazy games, take the fun to a new level. It is the evolution of gaming, and society itself. Duncombe expands on this idea through Grand Theft Auto – San Andreas. With the avatar, CJ, being a young, poor, black, male, he clearly does not represent the entire population and target market for this game. However, CJ does in fact appeal to these same flaws. The game displays very explicitly violence, crime and sex through the eyes of CJ. For Duncombe, this is an outlet for people who struggle with allowing themselves to go against the norms and values of a society. A quote from Empire Records (1995) “damn the man” said by a young man who is determined to not be sucked into the capitalist society and save his friends. This same idea applies to the mentality behind gaming, and specifically games which allow players to be someone else. Duncombe speaks of the idea of taboo, being something that is prohibited socially or formally. For Freud, these are pretty much all of our basic instincts, which happens to be the same idea behind politics. Grand Theft Auto – San Andreas is the outlet for the instinctual desires. Even things so simple as driving an SUV or wearing a tank top can be seen from certain people’s points of view. This sense of rebellion is one way for culture followers to feel as though they are at least sticking it to the man once.

Duncombe takes this a step further and introduces rebellion to politics. Maybe not bringing the two things together, but forces the reader to acknowledge that revolution only comes from rebellion. Take Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks, both cases, only by acting out of the norm, was anything done to correct it. I highly doubt that all video gamers will end up changing the world, riding it of all evils, but maybe CJ will inspire at least a small change, or ignite a passion to “rebel” even more resulting in a bigger impact on the existing society.

Whether a young, black, male named CJ, or a dream inspires change, at least it is happening. I guess I could get used to the new Nintendo lingo and star collecting Star Bits or playing with the Wii remotes.

Duncombe, Stephen. Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an age of fantasy. New York: The New Press, 2007.

1 comment:

I. Reilly said...

this is one of your best posts.