Sunday, January 4, 2009

I've been reading that researchers in Scotland have discovered that romantic comedies -- particularly movies -- are not realistic representations of life.

No shit. And just in case anyone's handing out research grants, I call dibs on finding out that cartoons aren't real, "processed cheese products" aren't real, and political campaign promises aren't really going to be kept.

In fairness, I guess their conclusion was more along the lines of watching romantic comedies gives people unreasonable expectations about married life and/or couplehood. They suggested that people needed more factual guides about how to get along, how to compromise, how to hang in there for the long haul.

I would suggest that we have those. They are called documentaries. And no one watches them.

Romantic comedies -- movies and tv in general -- are watched for an escape from reality, not for guidance. You don't watch "Roseanne" to find out how to treat your children. You don't watch "Halloween" or other horror movies to find out how to escape from a deranged killer. Although you could pick up plenty of pointers on what not to do: don't wear high heels, don't try to run backwards, don't walk down the dark hallway by yourself when there is creepy music playing.

It's all just a little too much like saying violent movies and games cause kids to behave violently. I watched countless episodes of Roadrunner and have never felt the need to drop an anvil on anyone's head. Well, maybe once or twice, but I've never actually done it.

I don't think it's the violent games or movies themselves, I think it's a lack of context. Let's side with the Scottish researchers on this one, and make the games a little more like real life.

For every character you kill, you have to go to trial. All hunting, fighting, street roding, etc. stops while you lawyer up. Navigating the legal system could be a whole new gaming experience! I suppose you could take it a step further and include being tracked down by police investigators, hiding out, laying low, blah blah.

Now, let's say you're found guilty. The game changes to surviving prison. You have to serve your virtual sentence before you can get back to the blasting. Or, if you get off as innocent, you have to avoid being chased by the family and friends of the character you off-ed, and try to re-establish your life as a productive member of society.

But! What if you were the one who was shot by the space alien? Now you enter the virtual hospital, and play a second character working at a minimum wage job in order to pay the bills. If you recover, your character may have physical limitations, or may have to stop play every once and a while for check ups.

And if you don't recover? Well, sorry Charlie, your game would self-destruct and you would be out the $40 or whatever it cost you.

Oh yes. I can see this idea is going to be a big hit. Don't worry. I won't forget you all when I become a big-wig at Sega or Wii or PlayStation. Maybe I'll even create a game about blogging your way to stardom.

Or not.

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