God, this probably says too much about my priorties. When one of the biggest and more credible sites get gutted in a dumb corporate buy-out, it gets mentioned in The Sunday Papers. When a virtually-unknown outside-of-UK internet videogame TV show calls it a day in their final episode though? Front page post. Like, obviously. I dunno. The slow machinations of advance capitalism leaving human tragedy behind it is just life. Consolevania were unique, and their passing just as unique as their coming. And my short eulogy continues herein…
I also like how I know THE TEAM would be rolling their eyes at the last two sentences. Which was part of their charm.
The last episode is one of the strangest, most human pieces of games writing/performance/programming I’ve ever seen. You can get it here, though we’re going to bring the server down if everyone tries to download it at 250Mb a pop. It’s a little bit nervous breakdown. Or more like post nervous breakdown. The long monlogue talking about their love of videogames and their fear that they’ve sacrificed their love of games to become nothing but snark-merchants sounds like the result of soul-searching. It sounds like a confession.
And while they didn’t say this, their fear could be neatly paraphrased as “We didn’t want to be Yahtzee”. The ritual disembowelment of an artistic failing for the baying crowd, with you as some kind of Gladatorial Lion tearing apart Christians whose only real sin was to believe in something… well, eventually, all that congealed and ageing flesh leaves a rotten taste in the mouth. And the longer Consolevania did it, the less well it sat.
Anger’s a young man’s game.
(Its older-uncle-emotion – which when observed in action can appear very similar – is bitterness. Anger is born by a failure of something to live up to your ideals. Bitterness is born of a realisation that your ideals will never be true again, and maybe never were.)
Anger fundamentally is puritanical. It only exists as a primary force when you lack a desire to understand or empathise. In such a state, it becomes easy to do this kind of stuff for jollies. It’s the reviewer who’ll lob a “I hope the developers get cancer” into a piece, knowing that readers will appreciate it. Eventually, you start to realise while there’s an audience for that, it’s not an audience you want to encourage. That kind of response to art is emotionally stunting. That kind of response to anything is emotionally stunting. It doesn’t go anywhere. And eventually, it turns you from an angry young man into a bitter old one.
(When I was about 21, I loved the Sneaker Pimp’s sneer of a lyric “Just because I understand, don’t think I care”. I still love it, but only in the same way as I love vile emotions expressed in songs, from Nick Cave to the Waitresses.)
Consolevania said fuck it. Their motivation was always about trying to express their love for games, not their disappointment. They never wanted to be reviewers or critics, but had found themselves accidentally in that position. They didn’t like it. They decided to stop.
You can always stop. Being forced to stop is sad. Choosing to stop is beautiful.
Consolevania were beautiful and while I’ll miss them, I wouldn’t want to change their mind.
They went out on this:
Which isn’t a bad way to go.