Disclaimer: This is going to get weird. And I’m not going to really use hard facts or research because this isn’t a thesis. It’ll be fun…maybe?
So it’s 2049, the world is gonna die, and it’s because we screwed up. We allowed the world to have leaders that were so insecure and easily threatened that they started nuclear war. Who pressed the button you might ask? A person who was a “nice guy” for all of his young adulthood. In his desperate attempt to be achieve his expectations and live to his standard of manhood, he pressed the button that ended us all. (Is 2049 too early a prediction? Or is it to late of one?)
So how can we avoid death by the hands of an inept decision maker we somehow voted into power? One would answer that we should have treated him better or that his targets of desire (likely women in this unfortunate situation) should have paid him more attention and given him a few tugs downstairs, but that’s wrong. That answer is also how we go down the wrong path. That answer leads us to our inept decision maker believing he is great, and swallowed up with all of that power he ends up pushing the button once he feels threatened.
Another answer is to kill the “nice guy” before it happens, but that won’t work. Another will replace him. It just keeps going. The force gets stronger with a larger stupid hat and more insecurity. So what’s the alternative?
Well on September 30th 2016, a game comes out. A game that will hopefully change a few things for us in the world. It’s called Final Fantasy XV. I like to call it, “Jeez! It’s finally being released! I’ve been waiting since I was thirteen!” (That is also what I call Kingdom Hearts III.) Now you might be wondering why a video game, that you probably don’t care about, is such an crucial instrument for avoiding our demise. I can actually explain this. Will it make all that much sense? Maybe.
So before I get to how this game will save us all, let me first give a summary about “Nice Guys” and video game culture (yes. This is what this article is going to be about). So we all know what a “nice guy” is, right? It’s one of those guys who believes in the motto, “Nice guys finish last” and then tries to live it to a tee. He believes that any desirable person that isn’t trying to get in his pants is friend-zoning him. This guy acts nice to curry favor for people he wants to have sex with and when that doesn’t work, because simply being nice is a just something you should do and not a fucking advanced flirting technique, he calls that person a bitch or says, “Why don’t they want a nice guy?” And by says…I mean cries to himself in a dimly lit room. So there are many “nice guys” that roam both the internet and unfortunately the real world. “Nice guys” usually have more than romance problems. Due to the way that media portrays most lady killers or dudes that are popular socially etc. there’s a bit of insecurity that “nice guys” hold too. Many live their lives trying to measure up to the conventional guys.
Now the problem that I have with “nice guys”, besides what I already mentioned, is the way that they are portrayed. A good number of them are shown as weird and nerdy and into video games. It’s very unfortunate. Though they’re sometimes portrayed playing shooting games, usually nice guys and placed with RPGs, fantasy games, and sci-fi games. As a person who plays, almost exclusively, JRPGs and RPGs, this would mean that I’m a level seventy six fedora wearing neckbeard with over forty different hat tipping techniques (and in case you didn’t know, I’m not one).
Now the problem with many video games in relation to “nice guys” is the portrayal of many male characters in games. They’re shown as dominant, strong, buff guys that hold ginormous guns or swords. Games such as “Mass Effect” or “Gears of War” show their main characters as quite strong dudes. Then paired with RPGs where you can go after sexual conquests, and after a few clicks, quests, and essentially being nice you can achieve said conquests (see: Nerd wish fulfillment), you have a bunch of guys who believe that they need to be a certain way and can also attain sexual relations quite easily. I don’t want to blame video games (Alternative line: My babies did nothing wrong!). I’m trying not to, but unfortunately media in general plays a role in this.
On the other side of the spectrum you get your stereotypical shooter game bros that shout slurs during online competition and claim that they’ve had sex with your mother (why can’t anyone claim they’ve fucked my father instead? Why can’t he be wanted?). So we’ve got a problem regardless either due to the insecurity or the actuality of male portrayal. So once more we must ask how a game by Square Enix is going to help with this problem.
Well for starters this game is probably going to be flames (‘flames’ definition: quite awesome and a force to be reckoned with i.e. 1)That show was flames 2)That house was burned to the cinders by those flames), but beyond the epic-ness that this game shall present to us, and underneath the possibility for the game to force my hermitic behaviors to creep back up (which will alienate me from my friends and family. See: summer), there’s a potential for emotional depth in this game.
There was a lot of fuss when this game had announced that the main cast would be four dudes, and I quite understood that criticism. All Final Fantasy games had a cast of diverse characters in terms of gender and race (see: Fantasy Race i.e. Fran in FFXII), so this was a break from the norm. And by having a main cast containing mainly men, for a media that doesn’t really give the best of treatment to the female demographic, I can understand the flak that this game was taking, but the creators of this game had a different vision. This wasn’t a game that left out females for the sake of emitting machismo or being a manly game for men. It’s a game about four guys on a road trip. They’re friends. They bond. They have emotional points. Yes there’s action packed in there, but from the demos and trailers, there’s a large about of emotional bonding in store for this game. It’s showing guys outside of the regular video game portrayal.
And before I start this weird argument one could say, “But aren’t movies and TV shows doing that already?” And to that I say, yeah…they are. But there’s something to say about video games reaching that level too. There’s something to say about a game that has action, but also wants to dedicate a good amount of it’s time showing emotional bonds between dudes. And maybe it’ll be helpful for an audience that tends to place themselves upon their digital characters to see emotional moments between guys and see them be insecure and bond and not be what we define as manly. Here’s an episode from the anime made for the game.
Though this is the side anime for a game (there’s also a side movie for it. Yes, that is ridiculous), I believe that this is the sort of spirit the game wants to have. And quite frankly I love it. And hopefully the people who feel insecure about their manhood and try to compensate or feel threatened in their own shells love it, and in turn learn to love themselves. And maybe more games will be like this. Maybe more shooters and RPGs will be like this. Maybe it’ll be harder to go for romantic conquests (see: Dragon’s Age Inquisition–kind of). Maybe all of the games will have more focus on day to day interactions and platonic bonding and audiences will grow. And then a Mr. Rogers game will be made, and that guy won’t press the button and start a nuclear war (don’t worry. I almost forgot my original premise too), but until then Final Fantasy XV will be a good start for mainstream game bonding.
So what I’m saying is: Go out and buy Square Enix’s game, Final Fantasy XV. It comes out September 30th.