Grumpy Gamer: Not Wild About WildStar
So everyone around the TenTonHammer office is psyched for the launch ofWildStar. I remember signing up for beta sometime last year, and I may have even written one article about it, but that was about enough to get my fill of that particular title. I'm not even a little bit tempted to play it.
Not that I'm saying it's a terrible title or anything - heck, for all I care, it's going to be gangbusters and may even revolutionize MMOs the way the rabid fanboys are saying it will. And I'll admit, the research I did for it last year turned up some interesting features. But... holy balls is it high-key. Calm the hell down, already. Some of us are trying to take a nap.
Every new piece of information that comes out about WildStar just makes me more and more tired. All the aliens in the game remind me of every current cartoon that makes me glad I grew up in a bygone, relatively calm age of He-Man, the Smurfs, Hanna Barbera and Warner Brothers cartoons before there was a "Space Jam." The bunny-eared aliens make me want to punch a guinea pig right in its adorable little snout. Even the humans look like they're straight out of a modern Disney/Pixar cartoon, with their over-sized heads, giant eyes and absurdly-expressive faces. The whole
Galactic Empire versus Rebel Alliance Dominion versus Exiles storyline has been done elsewhere by better writers (and much worse ones, and one writer in particular who is both better and worse).
Doubtless, there are many readers who will chalk this all up to my greatly advanced age. Okay, maybe that's part of it, sure. There are a lot of things you damn fool kids do these days that us older folk think is dumb. We don't get some of your jokes - maybe some of us will mention a "new" internet meme that's already a week old and is now boring old news to some of you, and you'll give us a "SMH" or some kind of eye-roll/facepalm emoticon that we'll have to go look up.
Whatever. You go read a book written a few decades before you were born - one that hasn't been made into a movie - and be able to understand it without first having to frame it in bullshit pop culture, and then I might give a damn what you think.
Really, though, I just hate cartoons. Especially modern cartoons. I have hated cartoons for many years. I liked them when I was little, and again when I got to college and found out about Anime, but then even that got really old really fast, and now I hate 'em all. I'm not even a big fan of Akira or Cowboy Bebop anymore. Too much damn shrieking. To my ears, everything on those all-cartoon channels just sounds like people screaming at one another in high-pitched voices. Characters seem incapable of making any kind of movement without using the exaggerated "stretch-and-squash" animation technique, as though every character is painfully self-aware of its own existential tooniness. Maybe not so much in the Japanese cartoons, but the Japanese cartoons have their own methods of assaulting the senses.
It's all trash for the brain. Even the cartoons that have "educational" elements deliver that education via the same shrieking, hyperactive characters making fart jokes and hitting their thumbs with hammers. Any educational content is screamed directly out of the audience's brain. It's the audio-visual equivalent of high-fructose corn syrup and Dexedrine. It's bad enough we cram this garbage into the minds of impressionable children whose brains are still developing; I honestly don't understand the appeal for adults who oughtta know better.
And I don't have rose-colored retro-glasses on, either. The cartoons from my youth were just as high-octane insane and promoted the same kind of mind-poison as the crap on TV today. The Smurfs, for example, were a bunch of tiny blue hippies tripping on funky berries and living inside psychedelic-looking mushrooms. They preached messages of sharing, co-operation and conformity, which is probably really important when you have a whole village full of dudes and only one female. Gargamel was always trying to eat them or kill them or turn them into gold, which is kind of horrifying, and had a cat named after an Abrahamic "angel of death," which is truly frightening. When you really think about the details, the Smurfs was a messed-up cartoon.
And don't even get me started on He-Man.
Annoying cartooniness is one of the reasons I never got into World of Warcraft. I adore the Orcs of the Warcraft universe - the warrior culture, the Klingon-style sense of honor - but everything else in that game makes me want to strangle a basketful of kittens. Especially the Gnomes and Goblins. WildStar, from everything I've seen of it so far, takes that whole WoW aesthetic and style and cranks it up to 11. Ugh.
Clearly, this is just a matter of personal taste. I won't deny that. There are millions of adults in the Western hemisphere who love their Anime and their Batman Beyond and their Clone Wars cartoons. There are hundreds of thousands who seem to be digging the whole WildStar vibe. And hey, more power to all of you. I hope you all have fun jumping around in zero-gravity zones and screaming at one another in high-pitched Chua-ese. I'll be off in some other game, where the decibel level is humane and the colors don't give me seizures.