"the first time i saw Mario 3, when i was 3, it seemed so real and tangible. yet there was something unreachable about it - and videogames in general. it was a luxury object for the richer kids. my parents would never buy me current generation systems, so i had to desire them from afar. and that felt really shitty. i felt like i was missing out. they felt like this real culture i wasn’t experiencing in the isolated place i grew up in. full of fun and colorful worlds constantly played up by advertising on all the cartoons i’d watch. desires were, more and more, being implanted into me as a vulnerable child by the world around me. and they were desires defined by genuine creative impulses, but they were being exploited.
i felt owed videogames - because they felt so real, because they felt like they’d compensate for other bad things in my life. they were taking part in that shared culture i never got to experience otherwise. years later i’d tried to collect old games, and download a bunch of romsets and enjoy what i wasn’t able to in the past, but the feeling was never the same. the idealized image i had of them was gone.
at a certain point down the pipeline, the desire that was created in me by the culture around me became way more about preying on my emotional insecurities than about any inherent, genuine creative spark or passion. i felt entitled to more, but after awhile everything seemed boring - not immediate enough. not cool enough. the desires created a deep, untenable sense of entitlement. an entitlement that we see manifesting itself all over videogame culture in many different forms. it’s one that the companies that helped tremendously to foster it into existence are having an increasingly difficult time maintaining with any degree of stability.
the fact is, videogame companies - and Nintendo in particular, took advantage of the fact that they were using an exciting new technology, the genuine creative impulse that exists people have to explore outside their world (in a culture that can be pretty oppressive as far as creative outlets are concerned), and the youngness and impressionability of its target demographic, to create this sense of entitlement.
and then, when you try to challenge them. when you try to interrogate them, you find out that they don’t actually give you a way into them. a game like Mario 3 may let you look at it from 100 different angles, when most games will only let you look at them from a few, but it will still never let you inside. it will never let you look into the machine and break apart the game into its component parts. it’s tremendously enjoyable. it’s an alluring and complex object, much moreso than other games, but it’s still a closed one. and that’s no secret. it’s how it’s designed - it’s a product. it’s a toy.
companies like Nintendo and Apple are very good at marketing towards the technical anxieties of their users. they make closed boxes, and they make those closed boxes tremendously sexy. they make them into a larger idea, a lifestyle. they make it fun, and they make it a toy, or a fashion accessory - but you have to actively subvert the will of the company to actually get inside it.”