Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Three-Hundred Sixty-Five Degrees

There –was- a youtube channel I watched regularly called Matt Chat.  It was a 30-something guy who was a huge computer role-playing games nerd, who interviewed actual important people who made genre-defining games like the original Fallout, The Bard’s Tale (the original), Wizardry, and many others.  It was an interesting show, because of the fact that it was only made to show these interviews, and talk about the games themselves.  There was no ego in it, no ridiculous showmanship.  Just interesting computer game history.  It was the kind of show I always learned something new from about a subject I am interested in.  I think he’s a college teacher or something like that, and his lecturing skills are obvious when you watch the show, because it’s concise and easy to follow.  It’s like he was born to make the show, to talk about the subject of classic computer games. 

But, it wasn’t all that popular in the grand scheme of things.  I don’t think he ever reached more than 100,000 members (and probably less than a million total views).  And, he was rejected for the Youtube partnership program, which lets people with popular shows earn ad revenue from their videos (among other things).  So, anyway, him being rejected hit him hard, I guess.  He decided to stop doing the show, which I can understand.  At least, he decided to stop doing more videos for his youtube channel.

So, Matt Chat was taken up by a friend of his (I’m assuming it’s someone he knows).  I watched the first video by this guy, and it made me think a lot.  The video by this guy, Don, was so disappointing that I can’t even fully describe it.  I am a fan of old-school gaming and the history of computer games, RPGs especially.

First, the guy talks about how wasted he got at his New Year’s party.  Then, he spends like 10 minutes talking about Twilight, and why it’s not “gay” to like the Twilight series.  He goes into how straight, mature men can like it, and that Football is kind of gay for all of the ass-slapping.

The entirety of this video is a microcosm of the kind of people I hate on the internet.  It’s all a self-justification for liking something that is made for teenage girls.  I hate people who think they can slap the brand of “If it’s good, then anyone can like it” on anything –they- happen to like, even if it’s the steaming pile of shit that Twilight is.

The game he talks about is… surprise!  “Scene It” Twilight.

So, Matt Chat has gone from being done by a guy who knows a lot about video game history, about video game history, interviewing amazing people who revolutionized the gaming industry, people that directly contributed to my own childhood and adolescence, and adulthood, that inspired me to start programming in the first place.  It goes from that, to some guy first talking about how shitfaced he got at a Twilight New Year’s party, then talking about how it’s not lame to like Twilight, to talking about Twilight itself.  He actually says, “EVERYONE should have a Twilight party once.”

I know enough about psychology to know that this guy is, on some level, ashamed that he likes something that is so stupid and mind-bogglingly lame as Twilight.  I know that he is the kind of ego-centric idiot that always finds time and some way to work in anything that will make himself seem cooler.  I feel like I was watching a lecture by Bertrand Russell, which suddenly changed to a vlog by just about any standard Youtube user.

Twilight and Harry Potter are successful –because- they are sub-par literature.  They appeal to people who are emotionally still teenagers, because the majority of America are stuck in this state.  They never learned enough to grow up properly into a mature psyche.  This is why these two franchises became so popular.  This is why Star Wars became so popular (back in the 70s and today).  This is why the Lord of the Rings movies did so well, regardless of the books.  It’s all about dumb movies that appeal to idiots who think that high romance is being thrust in the adolescent turmoil of a 17 year-old’s love life.  There is nothing sophisticated about any of these things.  And it’s really sad.

But, enough about the pedantic waste of these things.  I think that the part of Youtube that is reserved for people who actually are interested in things – who want to learn about stuff that is fascinating and not just pop-culture bullshit – that part will be diminished to some extent with the loss of channels like Matt Chat.  I wish that he had just closed the channel, instead of turning it over to some moron who is going to ruin it from here on out.  I think a lot of the channel’s fans feel the same way as me.  It has been completely turned around, from being a source of knowledge to a source of dreck.

The most depressing part of it all is that this happens with countless things that I find online.  They always end up devolving into the lowest common denominator.  I think that the people who make truly great things should be proud of that, and pull the plug when it’s time.  They should never feel the need to keep on going when the spirit isn’t there anymore.  And, if they decide to keep on going, even with 10 viewers and non-existent interest, I would think they could still forge on and be proud of what they’re making, even if it only ends up being for themselves.

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