It’s Not an Inside Joke if Everyone is in on It

Frankly, the game has been an utter pain in the ass for the last week. I was encouraged to make a little video, showing how it works thus far, but when I went to do it, I found that client players no longer spawn their characters when they load into a level. I think I’ve narrowed it down to the same sort of problem that causes their preferred characters not to be acknowledged, but I still don’t know how to to fix that problem. So harrumph.

So I’m gonna indulge in a bit of fantasizing about the glorious future where this is not the problem I’m dealing with.

One thing I’m really looking forward to is referencing things. But not the same old shit everyone else references.

I was thinking about this when Simon and I went to see Ready Player One. It has been my opinion for years – and that movie only reinforced my conviction in this – that game developers tend to have very homogeneous interests. Even without publishers demanding very safe, tried and true products from developers, most of them would still probably be producing very similar products anyway, just because they tend to be very similar sorts of people who are into the same shit and have been for the last thirty years.

Like, the indie game scene has definitely broken up the monotony of GTA clones and Madden’s, but there’s still plenty of SSDD.

The reason why Ready Player One works at all is because it builds on a history of certain IP’s being significant to nerds. Which is all fine and well, but honestly when I see Star Wars references and Dragon Ball Z jokes in games, I roll my eyes ’cause that’s such an easy allusion to make, you know? Like, it’s not really a wink-wink-nudge-nudge if everyone in the fkn room gets it, you know? I’ve never even seen Star Wars (yes, really) or DBZ (aside from the abridged version) and I get those references. That kind of reference is no fun to get.

I mean, seriously. I’ve never even touched an Atari, only ever emulated one to play some shitty porno games, and I still recognized the trick to the last key before the people in the movie do. Come the fuck on.

But the thing about Ready Player One is that the people actually in the movie, who live in that world? Those people aren’t necessarily into all that nerdy 80’s shit because it’s their shared experience. They’re into it because the guy who made the game put that stuff in it, thereby exposing them to it. When you see a reference to something you don’t recognize, and someone enlightens you to its origin… well, I don’t know about you, but I tend to at least bring up the Wikipedia article on it.

So I’m really looking forward to referencing some subject matter that doesn’t get a lot of airtime in videogames. I hope you’re boned up on Frasier for one thing.

Just FYI, the exclamation point in The Take! – and it’s proper inclusion in the stylization of the title – is an allusion to a game that is personally significant to me. You are welcome to dig through my online history to figure out which one.

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