Turns out I’m not the only one dressed appropriately for Call Of Duty. I heard the Call… My only mistake was not taking a picture with the zombies on the way out. What a gas! The future on 25-ft screens and all of the action was backstage. That looked like something from a science fiction movie– all of the gamers were sitting at long tables with headsets. “The meek shall inherit the Earth,” just like it says in the Bible… or is it Spiderman?
A lot of what’s happening on the screens is like boxing. It is perfectly age appropriate if you realize that the age of the traditional gamer at the moment is probably 20, exactly 4 months before Mike Tyson became heavyweight champion. There is a great degree of reflexive jabbing, stick and move, shoot and go, run to action in both events. These are military, boxing and jiu-jitsu terms and it’s perfect for the gender and age grouping that I saw in action at The Forum and there was a lot of action at the forum. The Forum holds 17,000 of your closest friends. I know. That was just the bathroom… (Stick with me. We talk about time travel in an upcoming blog and I’ll take you back to that bathroom in 1982 until then, it’s all allegations.) There’s a reflex in gaming similar to what you might have in a street fight. You learn to anticipate and almost levitate like a hovercraft. It’s different than grandparent games like chess, go or backgammon that pre-date what’s happening now digitally. I love what’s happening digitally particularly now that we’re at the corner of Screen and Street. That sounds like an actual place… and it actually is.
“There goes the gardener again chasing an *emoji.” (I intentionally got that wrong, that way you know I’m really in the know.) It’s only a matter of milliseconds before everything that you see on a screen will move down between the Baskin Robbins and the Ralphs. You’ll be chasing and be chased by the same soldiers, zombies and evil spirits through the alleyways between the Kroger and Duane Reade at all times of the day. The paradigm of how these games are played will shift immeasurably.
The idea that gamers are not athletes I think is argued as, “Representing Sweden Men’s 70m long rifle distance shooting, Dave Roth. It’s a very convincing competition this year in Rio. Crowd is silent. Keep an eye on that index finger. It’s going to move 1/8th of an inch. Silence. 1/8th of an inch.” “SWEDEN TAKES THE GOLD. SWEDEN TAKES THE GOLD.” …And they have a race riot that lasts three days and burned down the ancient bridge. Police have to move in but the police are celebrating too– they’re all related to the rioters. Distance shooting is all based on moving the index finger 1/8th of an inch, IF that much. The average gamer is thumbing and mousing his way through the competition more physically akin to what fighter pilots are dealing with. Their heart rates are up to about 400 BPM and they’re full of something that’s keeping them awake. In the case of gaming, it’s Mountain Dew. For professional pilots, it’s Adderall or something in between. The actual physical components aren’t really that much different than operating a combat helicopter. Their movements are both tiny, measured and studied. In this regard, most current gamers look like bass players. They’re employed ones, but musicians nonetheless.
I think about the idea that we struggle and die for our art in equal parts. One of my chess teachers wrote a book, Art and Struggle. You want that to register. Sunken cheekbones come from the turn of the century. If you couldn’t get yourself to the Left Bank of Paris like a real artist you could starve yourself and give the appearance of Tuberculosis. It’s much like the way that Louboutin sells women’s shoes and how I struggle to maintain sideburns. It brings us somewhat closer to the dream. It walks us right up to it. I get that but once we start moving off the screen and into the streets, those gamers are going to be called upon to operate on a level closer to Stormin Norman Schwarzkopf, “Black Jack” Pershing, Napoleon or Hannibal. Perhaps we will revert to an umbrella view of the gaming platform more similar to chess. Once you go boots on the ground, all those alpha apex football players who are beating up the nerds are going to take over again because they’re bigger and faster. The brains will come from the exact same place we walked past, the exact same headset and screen. The meek shall inherit the Earth. Isn’t it interesting that those two very opposites: the skinny gamer in a pair of Vans and the defensive 300 lb tackle on his way to pro ball shall finally join forces together in pursuit of total zombie annihilation. It’s almost Biblical… or is it Spiderman?