In a few days time, I make my way out to the Midwest with a unit of the team. On one hand, this is a much needed vacation for me... on the other, it's an opportunity to make a statement of solidarity on a large stage. However, as the KPB editor-in-chief, duty calls.
Last month, I spoke about a few of the "issues" holding back the local scene in NY. Long story short, I'm not of the mindset that the games themselves are at fault. From where I'm sitting, the players are just getting lazy & entitled. Unfortunately, that mentality is starting to imbrue the FGC at large. Instead of focusing all my available energy on getting ready for one of the best events on the calendar, I'm constantly being bombarded & inundated with information about people acting in secret, other people complaining & others still resisting for what appears to be nothing more than resistance's sake. Sure, I could tune all of this out & go about my usual routine, but that's not possible. I can't do that because I am Aphro Dynamek, editor-in-chief & "Voice of KPB". Turning either a deaf ear or blind eye to what's happening around me would be negligent of that very title. I can't speak for anyone else, but I don't shirk my obligations. So let's get into this month's Dynamek Perspective...
I've been sitting on my hands regarding this next topic, but it is high time I spoke my piece on it. (It's as this point that I feel the need to make it crystal clear that the views & opinions expressed in this column are solely mine alone and do not reflect Kick-Punch-Block as a whole.) I don't trust Avyd, simple as that. Nothing personal, mind you, just a matter of disagreeing with how they've chosen to introduce themselves. Promising money, backing out of a commitment (without it ever being clear they had permission to commit in the first place), only talking to a select few about their apparently grandiose plans, promising material gifts and then taking a moment to just barely clarify who you are is, if I'm to be blunt, an ass-backwards way of doing things. They're asking for an unheard of amount of good faith and I don't dole that out to just anyone. Honestly, the structure of this relationship they're trying to cultivate bares more resemblance to that of a sugar daddy than a working partnership. Sorry, but that just doesn't work for me in the long run.
Next up, we have the... *sigh* controversy surrounding Team YP. For the sake of anybody reading this who doesn't know, "YP" stands for "YouPorn". Capcom has lowered a ban on the team because of their sponsor. Naturally, people are crying foul because the ban doesn't apply to teams who receive sponsorship dollars from alcohol or tobacco related companies. Believe it or not, I actually somewhat agree. If restriction or leniency is what's called for in a situation where all things/parties are supposedly equal, then they should be applied across the board. We're all sitting at & eating from the same table, figuratively speaking, so all measures should affect us all equally. As much sense as that makes, however, that's not how the real world works. More to the point, that's not how business works. You can make all the claims you want about pornography not hurting anyone like alcohol or tobacco do -OR- call into question the hypocrisy of denying a porn-backed team from competing in various games while citing instances of sexism & exploitation within those very games and it wouldn't make a lick of difference. Understand something fundamental, the age old idiom "sex sells" applies to every major business. If there's a way to slip in some advertising/promotion while showcasing hardbodies, everyone jumps at the chance. However, while sex obviously sells, you cannot sell sex and expect businesses to flock to your product. I would think that'd been obvious, but what do I know?
Finally, we have the announcement of WESA, the World eSports Association. The FGC's involvement with this new entity will be determined later, but I find it very peculiar that there are already voices rallying against it. At this moment, I feel the need to quote Paul Bettany's Vision from "Captain America: Civil War": "Oversight is not an idea that can be dismissed out of hand." If you're in the mood to take a Steve Rogers-esque stance on the matter, I'd like to point out that we (the FGC) aren't saving the world or violating international law... we're pressing buttons. For the longest time, the FGC has been dismissed to the outer fringes when it comes of the competitive gaming landscape because holding on for dear life to our "grassroots" origins held us back. You could also make the counterargument that, by design, fighting games aren't as inclusive as other genres and, therefore, incapable of being as inclusive as other genres. In either case, operating on our own terms has gotten us as far as it's ever going to and the time has come where, if we want to bask in the same radiance that the other competitive genres enjoy, we're going to need to accept some changes in the future. It's simply unavoidable. The sooner we come to terms with that, the better off we'll be. Yes, it's going to be an uncomfortable transition, but that's how growing pains work. Change is only frightening when it doesn't happen.
So how do all these things relate to one another? Well, in order to explain that, I have to reference an old PC game from all the way back in 1995, "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream". It was based off the famous short story by Harlan Ellison from nearly thirty years prior. I'll spare you the details of both to focus on the final stage of the game. In it, you're tasked with approaching and subsequently deactivating the main antagonist's psyche, represented by the Freudian constructs of the Id, Ego & Superego. All my psychology majors and PC gamers will know what I'm talking about here. The Id -- as it's represented in the game -- is impulsive, carnal, hedonistic & selfish. The Ego is focused, but aloof... bordering on mechanical. The Superego is cold, but has keen foresight. As such, I see the current events paralleling these psychological manifestations. In the case of the FGC, the Id represents our desires & wants, which is why there are those among us who jump at the chance to work with anyone who promises to give us something while expecting little to nothing in return. Our outcry regarding Team YP's predicament is us focusing on a singular aspect of what we do without taking into account anything else, not unlike the Ego from the game. The Superego is unique, though. It represents the inevitability of change that is most assuredly coming with implementation of WESA & its far reaching ramifications. We see that inevitability the same way the characters view the Superego: being condescending, even though it may yet prove to ultimately be beneficial because they see the bigger picture.
Look, I want the FGC to ascend just as much as anyone else, but I'm critically aware enough to know that such prominence doesn't come without sacrifice. Sometimes, change comes in the form of external influences and they set rules in place that require varying levels of adherence. Am I advocating that we simply roll over & let them run roughshod over us? Of course not, that would be the height of absurdity, but we can't cling on to how/what we used to be if we want to become more than we are now. To be totally honest, we've already reached the extent of what can be done solely on our own proverbial steam. To circle back to another MCU movie, "Avengers: Age of Ultron", think about what Ultron himself said: "You want to protect the world, but you don't want it to change." Granted, none of this is that dire, but I trust that you get the point I'm trying to make here. We have to evolve before the general perception of what we do can change. The more we resist, the more opportunities will pass us by and the further that same proud resistance will set us back. This isn't rocket science, ladies & gentlemen... it's common sense.
Until next time... keep fighting the good fight, my friends. I'll see you at Combo Breaker!