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Trump, Jokers, games.

by Sam Kite on 11/14/16 09:27:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Batman is the worst elements of Iron Man and Spiderman in a single character. Rich, he can't develop economies. Creative, he can't invent the cure to any disease or affliction of the human condition. A ninja, he cannot kill. A police officer, he cannot operate in the daylight. He is the best case scenario for a completely ineffectual person.

He has many rivals. They're all strange charactures. But, among those rivals, what is the character who keeps coming back?

The Joker.

Why? Because Batman is a single parent, and the Joker is his child.

Anyone whose had a child has lived through those nights where your spouse is on the verge of a nervous breakdown because your shitty kid won't just eat some goddamned food (mother fucker). You need this food, asshole. You need it. What do you mean 'no'? Eat! EAT. 

But, what you cannot do is hit them. They're just kids. They are apparently actively working against the fabric of society; you've spawned a temper tantrum that you gave a name. This is what the guys in charge of naming hurricanes experience. You've trudged home after a full time job. Maybe this is part-time custody, and you're working hard to make the most of it! Then that motherfucker breaks a dish. 

They're hungry. Like a land based barracude with a spongebob toy.Would you give a spongebob toy to a barracuda and expect it to calm the fuck down and be less barracuda like? No! You would put ground pork and sleeping medicine in that spongebob toy and hope that the barracude bit it in the midst of one of its tantrums.

Batman would love to disown the Joker. But the joker is upside down batman. And batman spread his strange seed into the world to produce the joker. The alchemy of relationships spreads out from this central point. Harley Quinn? Catwoman in Joker form. Penguin? Joker who decided to become batman. 

The refusal to escalate when confronted with human evil is the quintessence of parenthood.

Batman mirrors the life of someone who entered AA when they were young. Trauma puts him in a frame of mind where he refuses to negotiate. Ok, fine, he isn't going to kill anybody, but he never fixes anything. What's a bat, really? A rat that flies. Terror that has no real consequences. Just like a rat. You might think rats are upsetting, but they're not going to actually hurt you. Put out some poison and clean up your dishes.

Trump is a new kind of politician. He came to power in a society that understands games and the lessons they teach. The arguments against his professionalism and character have game-like qualities. His moves were valid. He did what was expected. His net effect is above some certain arbitrary threashold.

In the current climate of social change, it has become difficult to discuss some of the fundamental roles that we respect in society. Certainly, some of those roles should be filled by no one; for instance the slave. But when motherhood is invoked, we all have a strong positive response. Each of our mothers is a harrowed veteran who listened to 1000s of hours of shrieking and yet, somehow, didn't put us to death. Their accomplishment deserves praise. 

Batman and Donald Trump exist in a world devoid of this tolerance. Though, realistically, they're very differnent people. Their mechanics are the same.

What are the mechanics of a terrorist? Where are terrorists sympathetic?

At this point, we're generally programmed to think that people who threaten without providing a tax to the system are evil. When, one week, someone produces No Man's Sky, and the next week (or, technically, previous weeks), other groups make a procedural exploration game, we think that's an advance. But whenever a studio or a person makes an example of a product that trickles in to the triple-A space, without a triple-A budget, the gumless jaws of an industry salivate. 

If there's a Blair Witch of games, it's Minecraft. Microsoft, working through one of its latent catch-up periods has bought this megalith. But what is it? A game which robs your time to make a lego-like construct? Legos are a fixture in the life of every kid I know. They've grown, and evolved, and always come out as expensive privileged toys. Minecraft's 'bricks' are free. The toy is infinite. To a creature of the economy, it is an improvement. Physical pieces are a shortcoming.

At the end, you've done nothing. If you are invested in a world, then you've changed the data on the server. When we finally bridge the gap on virtual worlds to the imagination, the moment you conceived of the final product will be the same as the moment you lay the last brick.

What are Trump's qualifications to be president? The discussion revolved around his inexperience compared to secretary Clinton's experience. She was a new member of the unelected elite. When we were griping about the ability of Cheney, as a phantom president, the discussion contained the implication of indicting our government. People who aren't elected, who have no term limits, establish the strategic goals of this country.

We're all in this position in real life.

Each of us grow into our positions as a product of our desires, but our desires are sharply constrained by the limitations of our lives. The newest intractable argument of our times is the tension between quote privileged unquote and what should probably be labeled serfedom. But anyone who has met a kid with a big house or 'rich parents' knows that none of that really matters. The separation of rich and poor has made all our conniving irrelevant. 

Batman has a mansion. Trump has a line of hotels. Does that contribute to defeatint the Joker? What is the Joker?

Maybe if you watched the movies and decided on your favorite character you already know where this is going. We're the Joker. We're the children of a democractic elite. We don't have a system where our voice is direct, like our bodies. Maybe the founding fathers were trying to protect us from the awkward moments in our development. Thank goodness, but that means wer're stuck. We're looking to actualize our terror as new organisms. 

American political discourse talks about our limitations like we're a typical country with typical problems. Nobody talks about the terror of the new prodigy. The brilliant kid who aces every test and is bored in elementary school. And what does a parent look like to that child.

A nonsense nightmare who makes arbitrary decisions and upends the applecart.

We've been producing games in a Trump presidency for years. We just didn't have the external context for it.


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