I’m really starting to hate Hatred. It got booted from Steam. The controversey seemed a little trite, but to hell with it. I began reading discussions and writing ideas down. I was all set to launch on a lovely diatribe about free speech and the nihilistic way it’s defended by media creators and consumers at the extreme end of the spectrum. Then it was back on Steam, with a personal apology from some schmuck or other who runs Steam. (This article isn’t about him. I don’t care about his name.) Well hell, that’s gonna be a bunch of re-writing right? The central idea should still hold up though. Okay, I could get on with this, but then something happened…
Every idea, every fucking sentence, began to become its own negator, twisting back on itself to devour its own tail. There seemed to be no standards at all. Even the most even handed critique of the game on Reddit or Steam was met with a frustrating, but undeniably convincing, argument that this is just for fun. It’s just a game, so what’s the big deal? Media means nothing. Story means nothing. As long as it’s entertaining it doesn’t matter whether you get it. It doesn’t matter what you think makes a “good” game. All that matters is whether or not you get off the game.
And there it was, I was wrong. I was stupidly, terribly wrong. This wasn’t a videogame to be judged by the usual standards of story and character and technical achievement. I was judging it as art, trying to gather up the intellectual standards by which it wished to be judged and then judging how well it had achieved those standards. Was it provocative? Check. Were people entertained? Check.
The audience was clearly screaming that there were no other standards, at least not the standards I was looking for. Some of the technical bric a brac might matter to a few. A certain amount of tone is clearly important, but right down at the bone, there was just that, bone. There was feeling that reverberated through the whole body, turning the muscles to rigid spasms and the mind to jelly. This was jerk off material. It’s pornography! The only thing that matters is if it gets you off, baby. Does it get your motor running? Then it’s good.
Fuck Character Names
This is about goddamn bone deep physical pleasure. This is about visceral feeling. This is about spurts and spasms, and who cares whether the spurts are white or red? Whether the spasms are those of death or of orgasm? You know what the French call an orgasm? Le petite mort, the little death. What gets you off gets you off, and it’s goddamn difficult to argue with that. You know what turns you on man, and there’s no fucking arguing. It’s on you to figure out a socially responsible way to get off, no matter what you’re into, but there’s little you can do to change it.
If human history illustrates anything it is that we will stop at no lengths to get fucked up or to get off. There are no lines. We will drink piss, eat mushrooms, eat rotten fruit, drink fermented anything, hit each other, strangle each other, beat each other, bite each other, drink blood, drink semen, snort powders, chew roots, vomit, shit, cry, scream and absolutely anything else that will get us the fuck off.
There are no standards in pornography but you’re into, and a healthy appreciation for pornography doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate a fine movie. You can play Hatred and still care about story and character. You just don’t care about them with your dick/clit in your hand, even if it’s your metaphorical dick/clit (lets not leave the ladies out).
It looks like a crap videogame, but it’s clearly great pornography, and as long as nobody’s getting hurt making the porn, then I say let it roll. Pornography fits nicely within the confines of protected speech and is subject to basically no system of judgement beyond personal preference. There is no “bad” pornography (assuming it was ethically made). There is only what doesn’t get you off. I don’t want to watch people shit on each other, and I don’t want to play Hatred, but to each their own.