Here are some emotions invented by videogames
Greetings, it’s me, or rather us; we are the Mammon-Machine, aiming to open your mind to new entertaining and dangerous Video Game Experiences. Video Games are sometimes “fun” and that emotion is okay or whatever but we believe that there are better emotions to be had in Video Games. We like emotions. You’ve probably already had emotions before, and those were probably pretty good, but perhaps you’ve grown bored of the old emotions, like happiness and sadness and horror. Lame, right? Are you eager for someone to save you from this tedium?
Well, do we have the emotions for you! The Mammon-Machine has invented brand new emotions straight out of video games, the likes of which we are sure you will have only heard of in forgotten whispers, or on the Internet. Our top experts have identified many new emotions, some of which we hope to release to you today. These emotions, though they are very dangerous, will provide you with entertainment enough to last through cold decades trapped in the Mammon-Machine. Perhaps you’ve experienced these emotions before, perhaps even in real life. If this is the case, we hope that through video games, you will fall in love with them all over again.
This just in: top scientists have discovered feelings of great relief that occur in video game players the instant their avatars are killed. Previously, death was thought to be nothing but frustration, yet we know now that the tension of hanging onto one’s life by a thread can be resolved by failure as well as victory. The other night, I had a dream in which I was being eaten alive by insects. “This really sucks,” I screamed in terror, but then they killed me, and it was a huge relief, because I didn’t have to be eaten by bugs anymore.
Imagine the pure relaxation of not playing a video game, a world in which moving a joystick is no longer a matter of life or death, and how sweet does that feel? Sweet as a high score screen. Did you know that the reward for being bad at a game is exactly the same as being good at one? The reward is not having to play the game anymore. Equally important to the fun of playing video games is the fun of not playing video games. Practice enjoying the moments without tension or thought immediately following your virtual death.
We recommend a meditative approach to death. We recommend getting really good at those brief in-between moments in video games in which you are not playing video games. Getting better at those moments may make you better at video games, or more likely, better at something better than video games.
We, or some of us, remember waking up from a nameless night terror. Night Terrors are: a dream that isn’t a dream at all, just a sudden spike of terror so absolute it wakes us up without enough control of our own bodies to even scream, but tragically, only 1-6% of children and 1% of adults will experience this emotion naturally. The sweet center of this emotion is the sensation of wanting and needing to move your own limbs when they will not respond. This technique lends itself naturally to horror of a slow and certain kind.
The first to use this technique effectively and intentionally in a game were the designers of Silent Hill, a video game series created under the premise that it is possible to scare people with things other than zombies jumping through windows.
When, in Silent Hill 3, the reflection of Heather in the mirror is slowly consumed by wriggling shadows that pour out of the bathtub and onto her and onto everything, and the door won’t open and there is nothing she can stop them with and no way out, we felt that it was the closest sensation possible to the feeling of being able to move our tongues and jaws and throats but not able to force a noise out of it, so we hope that those of us who have not had night terrors will benefit from access to this rare and precious emotion.
Benefits include gratefulness and understanding of helplessness and mobility. They also may include a deep and penetrating sense that one’s body is machine, a fragile machine specifically, that is prone to errors and short circuits just like the consoles we play Silent Hill 3 on. The body is supposed to work, until suddenly it doesn’t.
It’s not a pleasant thought, and it can get worse. At the end of Shadow of the Colossus, when Wander has become a monster, the only thing you the player can do is the only thing he can do, which is stumble blindly forward, swatting at the soldiers dutifully slaying him. A game can give you a choice, but a game can also give you no other choice. What video games give us they can also take away. Novels have no capacity to give us hands to feel and feet to walk and just as suddenly take them away. We understand this emotion is not pleasant. For that reason, we request you experience it.
Do you have a hideous pit in your stomach that consumes you every time you fail? We do, and it is because of video games. Our parents were worried video games would waste our time and make us violent, but they should have been more worried about they made us afraid. Jumper’s Crash is the consequence of repeated failure, in which the anticipation of the crash becomes reality.
Jumper’s Crash was invented by Super Mario Bros. at the moment at which everything is lost. It is the moment at which a series of impossible leaps, each made carefully, harrowingly, cautiously, will be undone by your next mistake. It is when you know all of these steps by heart, except for this, the last one. If you make this leap, you will be safe, if you do not, you will die.
You will not make this jump, you think, and then you don’t, and that’s Jumper’s Crash.
You don’t have to be jumping to experience Jumper’s Crash, but not just any sequence of precise motions will do: no Guitar Hero or Super Hexagon will do (this emotion is different). The key to jumper’s crash lies in the waiting, not the rhythm, the anticipation of the leap that psychs you out of making it. Jumper’s crash isn’t about flinching at the last second. Jumper’s crash is about getting to the same place in Super Mario 64 and missing it for the seventieth time.
We don’t feel this emotion so much nowadays, with the retreat of platformers from popularity, when the pits open in our stomachs as we miss the jump once more.
Some human beings occasionally wonder what has happened to the Japanese Role Playing Game. We have a little theory about that.
This is the most memorable scene in all of Final Fantasy, and if someone else was in the room at the time, it may have become one of the most memorable scenes of your life. The apologetic comments on this youtube video break our hearts. No matter how well written they are, they will never convince our mothers that it was a good idea to buy this game for Christmas.
There is the embarrassing sexual innuendo, the androgynous heroes and heroines, the campy bright colors and J-Pop flair that did not Quite Sit Right with your parents and teachers and middle school friends for reasons they were too embarrassed and afraid to explain.
Bad voice acting makes us laugh, but Final Fantasy X is not bad enough for us to pretend we are watching it ironically. We didn’t watch Final Fantasy X ironically—we really, really liked it. Even when Tidus bugged us, even though so much about the game was so silly, we really liked it, and it meant a lot to us. We spent many hours in that world and we came to love it very much and so we wrote long apologies for it on the forums we posted in. We knew it was dumb, though, and we didn’t tell our friends we played video games and we didn’t bring the strategy guides to school, because when we did, they laughed at us, HA HA HA HA HA HA.
Though some of us are older and know not to be embarrassed by bright colors and melodrama anymore, we are still a little grateful to not have to endure them so much any more.
There are not many games that allow us to walk for more than a few paces without being attacked by a dragon, or a space marine, or a racial caricature, but we cherish these few games. Though most games are single player, very few games allow us to be alone. The forests and plains between the fights in Shadow of the Colossus. Daytime in Minecraft. Riding the hills of Skyrim (until an army of fantasy idiot monsters descends upon you).
It is hard to take a lonely walk where I live. Here in the Mammon-Machine, we are connected by lovely electric wires to best friends who we know exclusively through the data they have created. It’s scary, but I like it. We should fear it, but we must love it.
Fortunately, there are little lonely places inside the Mammon-Machine where we can take our time to think. True idleness is a great gift, but most games want to direct our idleness to some higher purpose, like murdering polygons or putting polygons in the correct order. A game about wandering is a game about true play. A game about being yourself is a game without anyone else. Sometimes that is not good. Sometimes it is.