Thursday, May 23, 2013

Time to get Anti-Social!

A couple weeks ago I started working on a blog post that I never finished (big surprise there from the Queen of Procrastination).
As usual it was a rambly mess but the broad strokes were about our current need to share everything.
Aw hell, I'm just gonna go ahead and post here what I had written and go from there because thanks to Microsoft and the Xbox One I have more to add to it.

When I go out for a smoke I get bored easily. I'm a slow smoker. Takes me like 15 minutes to smoke a cigarette. Those are my 15 minutes of quiet time in a house full of chaos. To fill those minutes I usually take one of the following:
A book, a DS, PSP, Vita or phone.
Lately my phone has been winning. What do I do while on my phone? Why play Candy Crush Saga of course.
If you don't know what Candy Crush Saga is, its a match three type game where you match little candies in increasingly shitty game boards with a limited number of moves. When you run out of moves and lives you have the option of buying more or asking your friends on Facebook for more moves.
I'm not going to go into the whole pay to play thing at the moment, what I wanna talk about is the whole "bug your Facebook friends for more moves" aspect, just not in the way you think.
No, I'm not gonna talk about how no one wants those stupid requests clogging up their feeds, lets talk about the whole "social" thing that those requests are a part of.

Let me back it up a bit more though...

Long Long ago, before the internet and during its infancy we played video games and as long as we've played games we've been competitive.
Whether you were leaving your initials next to your high score at the arcade or laughing at your friend sitting next to you on the couch because you got farther in Mario Bros. We've bragged, we've shared, we've tried to outdo each other.
Being competitive is part of our nature, being social is part of our nature but in this day and age we've gotten hooked on sharing and bragging about the completely unnecessary.

Don't think I'm saying this as someone above it all. I'm just as guilty as the rest. This isn't a condemnation, but more of an observation and i'll be sharing some of the moments where I have caught myself in the midst of that ridiculous need to show and tell. (not talking about the time I felt the need to share my Shamrock shake, moments even more ridiculous...if that's possible)

Today I got Thor God of Thunder in the mail (I have an unhealthy obsession with Loki) and what did I do after ripping into the packaging and removing my loot? I took a pic and posted it on Instagram and Facebook to share with the world.
So where I was going with that is that much like everyone else these days I'm a social media attention whore.  Thanks to all these sites and smartphones we share everything from new games to our fucking lunch and its getting ridiculous. When I turn my Xbox on it tells me how many friends are online and what they are playing.   When I log onto an MMO as I'm playing I get pop ups on my screen telling me "chubbo the lonely just created the gloves of greasy doom +5" even though I have no fucking idea who that is or why I should care.

There are a billion sites dedicated to sharing your business and specifically for gamers to share their business. I'm a member of a few...Raptr, Playfire, Metagamerscore, Trueachievements...probably more that I joined and never go to.That isn't counting the fact that consoles allow you to see your friends stats, send messages etc. Plus these sites link up to facebook and twitter and instagram and all sorts of other shit.

But, do we REALLY need all this?
Do you need to know that my kids and I watched 64 episodes of Invader Zim?
Do I need to know you unlocked an achievement for 100 headshots?
Do we need our entire lives chronicled and shared 24/7?

As I said, we are social creatures and we like sharing but...have we become obsessed with it? and is that healthy?

So, the new Xbox was revealed on the 21st.
I will start this by saying... DO NOT WANT.
I have a billion reasons for this but that's not an issue at the moment. Well, most of it isn't.
The one thing that IS relevant to this topic is...well most of the reveal.

Some things that stood out were the requirement for the kinect at all times, the requirement to be always on and before you jump down my throat about how it doesn't need to be ALWAYS on and only needs to connect once in a 24hour period..that's just splitting hairs. That is basically needing to be connected always, and the one that really gets me...Trending.

Trending...we already have this everywhere, including the current Xbox. A place we can see what's hot, what people are playing, watching, doing. Its spread out through the different areas of XBL but its there and I don't care for it.

I'm gonna say it right now, Most of the time, I don't give a tiny rat's ass what the fuck other people are doing and I don't think they care what I'm doing. Do we need an entire area of this consoles UI dedicated to shit others are doing? Do I need my console reporting to Microsoft and the world every little thing I do? Does the Kinect really need to be plugged in all the time? How do I know that shit isn't gonna watch me while I dance naked with a mop?

We share too goddamn much already. This blog itself is a study in attention whoring to the max. Its all about me, me, me and more fucking me.

I have friends that won't play certain PC games because they don't offer achievements on Steam for them to show off.
I have friends that won't play Ps2 or other older consoles anymore because they can't show people what they are playing or how many hours they've put into a game.
Since when did gaming become more about showing off than it did about playing games for entertainment and enjoyment?

This new Xbox is perpetuating and encouraging this kind of shallow attention whore behavior and we're all buying into it. We are cheerfully handing over our privacy and even compromising our own self and personalities (how many times have I heard people say "oh I won't watch/play that because I don't want it coming up on my feed where other people can see it" even if its something they want to watch/play) just for the hopes that someone will think we are cool because of what we play/watch/listen to.

Worst part is, we are ALL buying into this over-sharing society, even me, I don't count myself above it all or whatnot.
I'm not really sure where all this is going but its not going anywhere good. We are changing in subtle ways, seeking approval from others more than before, giving away our individuality and our privacy gladly and while it seems so trivial now, where will it go?

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go post a pic of my breakfast on instagram, I'm  sure others are DYING to see my cup of coffee and Nutragrain bar and can't find  meaning in their day til they have seen them.

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