I feel weird about the imminent dawn of a new console generation. Of course, deep down, I feel the excitement that a lot of people feel. New technology is cool. But I also feel incredibly anxious. The rhetoric around the start of a new generation (sparked by marketing rhetoric but wilfully picked up and perpetuated by journalists, critics, academics, and players) always takes on that tone of having finally reached a promised land. Now, at last, we have the technology to make good games. This progressivist tone astro-turfs everything that has gone before, dismissing all our exceptional art created before this point as lacking something that only the next generation can offer.
It bothers me because if we take it at face value, every five years we risk going back to Year Zero, wiping the canon clean. It’s probably not as dire as it feels, but it still feels pretty dire.
So I love this op-ed by John Teti, dripping as it is with snark, for cutting through that progressivist rhetoric deployed by Sony at the recent Playstation 4 announcement. Sure, everybody expected this kind of thing from Sony, but I still think cutting it down and reacting against it is a crucial move.
All that’s lacking is an observation that the event started in this surreal, Orwellian kind of way with hyperreal images being forced down the audience’s eyeballs from every direction while meaningless propaganda flashed on the screen and the word “WAR” was whispered over and over by the music. There’s a military-entertainment complex analogy to be made about how fitting that was.