One Gamer God’s Case for Turning to Comics

    I had originally planned on boring you with an epic deconstruction of Scott Pilgrim — arguably one of our generation’s best comics — and its interpretation of subcultures and modern relationships.

    However, I realized just in time that since “Critical Hit!” Has long served as a (video) gamer’s pedestal, hastily shifting to comics might be too rough a transition for my established readership (hi, Mom) and me. So, instead of picking apart Pilgrim limb by limb, I’m going to briefly explain how I feel about geek-oriented media — and reveal the dark turn everyone’s favorite Hiatus column is about to take.

    Recently, I’ve found myself gravitating less and less toward video games. Instead, I started contemplating the meaning of games (yeah, I was worried, too). I started considering them as forms of art, and the more I thought about them this way, the more I became interested in how they’re made, rather than how they’re played.

    Falling into this mind set about video games and other media is entering tricky territory. I began to see past the veil of the creator and learn the logic behind the magic; I started to place greater emphasis on creating, rather than on creation; and ultimately, I realized how much power I had over my own art. Quite literally, I learned how to become a god. However small-scale, it’s addicting to have complete control over all minutiae of a given circumstance. Soon, I became obsessed with making my own shit.

    But it wasn’t this newfound fascination alone that deterred me from gaming. In fact, among the plethora of video games that have been made this past decade, there have been many that grant their users a grander sense of control. Just off the top of my head: Starcraft, Warcraft, The Sims, Spore.

    The problem with these games is that they only grant you as much control as the gamemaker allows. Or, you’re only as much a god as Consumer God allows you to be. Control is still just an illusion.

    Considering my overabundant ego, I remained continually dissatisfied with the limits on my capabilities, and could never truly enjoy these games. Why should I fall under the imposed limitations of someone like Will Wright, who is nothing but a man? So I figured, if I were to make my own shit, then I would do so under the stipulations of God Himself.

    It was then that I decided to become the Creator. Like anyone else, though, I had lots of ideas without much execution. All of my games required huge chunks of time and effort that no normal college student could ever get ahold of. After several failed attempts, I found I had neither the drive nor discipline to see one through to the end. Plus, I realized that programming sucks a new kind of anus. So I shifted my attention to my very first geektacular love: comics.

    Since I’d been a comics aficionado for most of my life, dedicating my time to drawing wasn’t too difficult. But it wasn’t so much the comics that I latched onto, but the stories. Around this time, I’d been dealing with some personal issues (all of which are pathetically dramatized in lengthy blog soliloquies, for your perusing pleasure) and had turned to stories for solace. I locked myself in my room and absorbed pure music, movies, books and comics — pouring over every metaphor and symbol I could find for my medium. In the end, I was left with a fascinating revelation: Every story is a perversion of reality.

    Whether fantasy or science-fiction, everything is based on some pre-existing concept of life. What’s the difference between the dragon guarding Sleeping Beauty and an obstacle preventing some clueless guy from being with an insecure chick? Once I looked past the characters and situations, I realized that I wasn’t experiencing spurts of imagination so much as extensions of the same human psyche.

    This epiphany changed the way I approach media — I couldn’t dive into anything remotely artsy without considering its motives. I started asking headier questions about the philosophical implications of video games, comics, books and music. What are the creators trying to do to the audience? What are they trying to say? How much control do creators have over their audience? To what extent can they dictate the world?

    For anyone obsessed with control: Telling stories is the closest you will ever get to being a god. Ultimately, you are interpreting life. Fear and love, our most primal emotions, are the storyteller’s most effective weapons; pull the right punches, and people become putty in your hands. How on Earth do you think the Bible managed to hold up for so long?

    Point being, the mediums through which we absorb these stories are arbitrary to the stories themselves. I want to make shit, but I only want to make shit that matters. What matters is a well-told story. As someone who is overtly romantic, angsty and constantly vying for attention, wouldn’t it be best to make as many people as possible relate to my stories and feel what I fucking feel? To put out as many comics as possible so that more people can read them? Really, if I can’t do this properly, then I probably suck at life.

    So, the new “Critical Hit!” won’t be satirizing subcultural memes anymore. Well, at least not over something blatantly retarded. Sure, I may obsess over how impossibly detailed the life-size model of the Gundam in Japan is, but I’ll try to stop analogizing the Guitar Hero controller to an acorn and a cock (though that shit’s still hilarious). In my sudden state of total creative maturity, I’ll more likely deconstruct the metaphor of Superman to humanity or reveal Batman as a villain himself. Or, if you’re lucky, I might detail what it’s like to craft a comic book. So, if these types of things don’t tickle your fancy, I’d recommend you go grab your acorn cock or climb a tree and pretend you’re being useful.

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