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We are building something ever so strange…

Look, it’s me! I’m a naked acid-puking necromorph!

This is the multiplayer Dead Space 2, which is played on servers belonging to Electronic Arts. It’s a fairly long wait before enough people jump in to make up a game (it’s played in two teams, humans versus aliens; you need a good 6-8 people to start) so I listen in on the the chatter of players who’ve left their microphones open.

Now, I realize I’m in Britain, so the closest servers are probably in Europe somewhere, but I’m gob-smacked at the range of voices I hear. Not just European languages…there are quite a few from further afield. Russians and Chinese. Indians, I think. I’m not the best at identifying languages. The voices belong to older people than I would have guessed (or maybe it’s just older people who are dumb enough to leave their mics on). I often hear children and TV in the background.

Thing is, this mirrors my observations in art and music forums: thanks to the internet, we’re cobbling together a weird international monoculture. It’s heavily but not exclusively American. Anime and Manga are powerful influences in the visual arts, for example. Chinese martial arts in gaming.

In many countries, it can only be a tiny minority who have access to broadband and gaming-spec computers. But among those people, we are all sharing a single culture: music, movies, comics, animation…and especially video games. I have no idea what this means, but I’m sure it’s important. And weird. And completely unprecedented.

There are kids in Beijing and Bangalore playing rock and roll, and you would recognize the song.


Comment from Oldcat
Time: November 18, 2011, 12:19 am

Sounds like the modern equivalent of what was called a “Classical Education”

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 18, 2011, 12:33 am

That’s an excellent point, OldCat. When everyone who was anyone took a trip to the Continent to finish his or her education.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: November 18, 2011, 4:07 am

Actually, IMHO, this melding of cultures because of commerce is somewhat older than the internet. As far as I know it goes back to the mid-60’s at least.

I call it “Coca Cola culture” as it’s based on the universal marketing of products.

For example, I was startled to find out that my Japanese wife grew up watching the TV show “Lost in Space” as a kid, although they called it “Space Family Robinson” there.

Clothes, fashion, music, video games – they’re all marketed internationally using pretty much the same angles.

Of course there are SOME things, like Auntie’s Spotted Dick that just don’t travel well, but they’re the exception 🙂

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: November 18, 2011, 4:33 am

We live in a melting pot, and the same glop comes out no matter where you put the tap.


Comment from ermine
Time: November 18, 2011, 5:44 am

You still playing Oblivion Weas? I highly recommend the next in the series Skyrim. It’s more fun right now than eating or sleeping. On second thought, maybe I don’t recommend it.

Comment from MIke C.
Time: November 18, 2011, 9:40 am

I think the last video game I played was Tetris…

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 18, 2011, 2:49 pm

Ermine. Dude. I know how much you’ve been playing Skyrim. Steam rats on you. 😯

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: November 18, 2011, 3:35 pm

Xander Cage: “He also wants video games banned because he believes that they’re destroying education…come on Dick, it’s the only education we got!”

I see AuntieWeasel is logged on Steam 🙂

Comment from exit sandman, formerly enter sandman, waffling sandman…
Time: November 18, 2011, 5:22 pm

Lucky me…my video games involve firearms, the real type and shooting the crap out of stuff. No controller needed ‘cept your hands and brain.

Comment from exit sandman, formerly enter sandman, waffling sandman…
Time: November 18, 2011, 5:23 pm


Comment from exit sandman, formerly enter sandman, waffling sandman…
Time: November 18, 2011, 5:24 pm


Comment from Goober
Time: November 18, 2011, 5:41 pm

Waste of time. When you’re on your death bed, I know for sure that you aren’t going to regret not playing enough video games. I rode my 4-wheeler to the top of a mountain yesterday after work, in the pitch black. it was snowing. I almost ran over a moose. THe most incredible thing I’ve done since the 10th of November when I took my jetboat up into Hell’s Canyon and ran my first class III rapid in a powerboat. I also caught two steelhead and hooked a Chinook salmon, all of whom were swimming in saltwater over 500 miles away only a few months ago.

Kill your TV. Burn your Xbox. Go live. It is worth it. Flame suit on….

Comment from Mrs. Peel
Time: November 18, 2011, 6:10 pm

*regrets not having finished FFVII before baby was born, because now she will never finish it*

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 18, 2011, 7:10 pm

I regret not playing HalfLife2 from beginning to end in one big go.

Comment from BigBluBug
Time: November 18, 2011, 7:27 pm

Kill your TV. Burn your Xbox. Go live. It is worth it. Flame suit on….

No flame. Sometimes “Live” sucks or you just need a break from it.

For me, “Live” means trying to recreate scenes from Hardcastle and McCormick using my Corgis and a Big Wheels painted the same awesome red that H&M’s Coyote X is sporting.

But Ima kind of different and they won’t let me have guns.


Comment from ermine
Time: November 18, 2011, 8:08 pm

ummm about that… does Steam count afk time? cause I pause alot. Lil’ ermines always interrupting with their needs arrgh!

I “live” but my imagination needs fed. Also, I got no power boat or 4×4 but I do have a decent pc. Many games now days are heavily cinematic experiences with well written stories. And yeah, it’s escapism too. Better than drinking.

HalfLife 2 was a good one.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 18, 2011, 8:23 pm

If I go to the Friends screen it tells me what everyone is up to (or how long since they’ve logged into Steam if they’re not on), but I don’t usually go to that screen. But I get a little corner pop-up whenever anyone starts to play a game.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 18, 2011, 8:23 pm

Everyone says Skyrim is gorgeous, by the way.

Comment from Oldcat
Time: November 18, 2011, 8:34 pm

I used to commute in Chicago in the winter. Mountains and Meece don’t compare at all.

Comment from Mono The Elderish
Time: November 18, 2011, 8:35 pm

I might look into skyrim. Looks cool. But, Arma 2 before frivilities(XD) Gotta get my priorities right.

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