The Whole Of The Moon: Consolevania Ends

By Kieron Gillen on January 15th, 2009 at 12:31 pm.

I'll get my revenge for NSJ though.
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.

.

82 Comments »

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  1. Nick says:

    “2007 and 2008 have been amazing years for games, but gamers have gotten so much worse.”

    Yeah. Wait, What?

    Damnit CV, I had only just got into it and it ended. It’s my fault somehow.

  2. Nick says:

    “Whatever hurts consoles makes me happy.”

    You don’t know anything at all about consolevania do you? Other than it had the word console in the title.

  3. Rich_P says:

    Now I’ll have to go back and watch some of those episodes. DAMN YOU, RPS, DAMN YOU FOR EXPOSING ME TO VIDEOGAME “WEB VIDEOS” AND “PODCASTS”!

  4. Gassalasca says:

    @MetalCircus Well…. I love video games. Also, I enjoy Yahtzee, Brooker, cynicism, love Universe and everything.

    Frankly, I find it odd that some people find something incongruous about that.

  5. dracko says:

    Yahtzee is the sort of unfunny asshole gamers deserve.

  6. MetalCircus says:

    Yahtzee doesn’t come across as funny or cynical like Charlie does, though; instead to me he just seems like an unlikeable, unfunny, and mean spirited prick who seems to have gotten off the ground solely on his half-arsed Brooker rip-offs.

    I’m not saying DOWN WITH CYNICISM! or DOWN WITH CRITICISM! (as I like both, in order to provide me with an even balance and all) but I just think that a lot of people have come to expect a sort of mini-miracle with the release of each game and people like Yahtzee have gotten away with this really insulting sense of hero worship among certain corners of the internet. I just don’t get it. At all.

    one thing consolevania was, was unique, and when they did do a positive review, it genuinley came across as positive, and more of a celebration of our faveourite hobby WHICH IS GOOD! How often do you get that (apart from those dry, best game of xxxx year type affairs) The guys could have just gone “yeah, this this and this was good, go and buy it” but that wouldn’t have been the same. You could tell from their enthusiasm about their faveourite games that they loved video games, and that it was a pure pleasure to be involved in.

    Anyway, what was I trying to say? Yeah, gamers are awefully fickle. Sometimes I just want to slap them upside the head and say “look, they’re just games, not miracles.”

  7. qrter says:

    Well, I got what I asked for – a confirmation from Rab that it is indeed all over, on the Consolevania forums:

    Thanks for all the kind words, folks. It means a lot to all of us. Genuinely.

    I just wanted to confirm that it IS all over, and for the reasons spoken about in the last episode.

    Nothing to do with the Fluff Piece or anything like that. We don’t need donations or anything or anything. Just a promise that you might stay around and talk about games on these forums for as long as the fancy takes ye.

    Again, from the bottom of all our hearts – THANKS.

    Rab

    Now I’m sad.

  8. dracko says:

    Gutted. :(

  9. Muzman says:

    Yahtzee usually does point out when he sincerely likes some mechanic or whole game, whilst trashing all around it. It tends to stick out like a sore thumb amongst the rest. Plus his stuff makes me chuckle, so there’s that.
    Really, skirting the problems of low budget production and making something fairly unique (if its elements are heavily inspired by other sources) is a good thing. The zeropuctuation format is perfect for that. You can see the limitations in Yahzee-ness in the Gamedamage pitch though, where living up to the one note job of snark dispenser starts to look desperate.
    I find Penny Arcade fandom more inexplicable. Yahtzee comes up a with a couple of minutes of jokes a week. They can’t manage anything funny in six whole panels. I know it’s probably been all cocaine and hookers for them for some time now, but yeesh

  10. Robin says:

    “You can always stop. Being forced to stop is sad. Choosing to stop is beautiful.”

    Well, circumstances *did* force their hand a bit in one way or another, but that doesn’t alter the sentiment.

    Consolevania was, in it’s own fat, bin-bag-clad way, as important as Your Sinclair and Mean Machines and Amiga Power were in their day. A bunch of gamers wanting to share their love for the hobby. To celebrate how ridiculous it is.

    It seemed with Videogaiden series 3 that they’d taken that approach as far as it could go, so it’s not entirely surprising to see Consolevania wrap up too – but it’s still sad to see it go.

    Thanks again, TEAM.

    The Yahtzee/Brooker comparisons are apt. Presumably Yahtzee will soon be inexplicably bought by a giant corporation, mellow out and start poking fun at his old persona in a string of heavy-handed and only mildly amusing television projects.

  11. Noc says:

    It’s probably worth mentioning that if you’re replying to a statement of “Trashing things instead of celebrating what’s good about them really isn’t something to be proud of” by . . . trashing things, you may be missing the point.

  12. dracko says:

    It’s probably worth mentioning that that’s a pathetically idiotic position.

  13. Helm says:

    Yahtzee really does mention the good he finds in the games he reviews.

  14. Noc says:

    Dracko: Which, the “Trashing things isn’t something to be proud of” one, or the “you’re missing the point” one?

  15. Gassalasca says:

    U just watched the CCC. I’d nevere watched the shoe before and it still touched me.
    Now if you’ll excuse me while I go and download all the episodes and spend a wonderful weekend on my own.

  16. Mr.President says:

    I find Yahtzee’s criticism of games well-founded for the most part. His complaints are exaggerated for comic effect, but it is by no means blind hatred. He mentions the good parts and is only really mean to those who deserve it, imo. I don’t remember him wishing someone got cancer, that’d be a shitty thing to say.

    Thanks for the link, Andrew, I’ve always wanted to check those guys out, but never got around to it.

  17. Mr Wonderstuff says:

    Just had a watch of Game Damage. God it’s awful. I like Zero Punctuation but Yahtzee really needs to downplay the crap acting.

  18. Pod says:

    No one cares about 1UP. I’m glad it didn’t have a front page post. Consolevania, however: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  19. El Zomba says:

    I love Consolevania (as the eagle-eyed would note from my handle), and loved it for the reason Kieron stated above. The writing was on the wall for TEAM! when series 3 collapsed and I think everyone knew it, but it doesn’t stop me feeling sad knowing that it’s ended. It sounds like the worst sort of hyperbole, but I can’t help but think that the gaming community just lost something really special, and no amount of Yahtzee or 1Up or even Mega64 will replace it.

  20. Mentazm says:

    As much as I love CV (I think I’ve been one of the top posters on their forums over the past 4 years) I fully reserve the right to be a moaning cunt of a gamer.

    I also highly doubt this is the end, listen to the sponsors message after the credit roll. I’m pretty sure they’ll be back with a sketch show referncing gaming and geek culture.

  21. MetalCircus says:

    They should come back in some form or another, i’d like that.

    Maybe i’m biased against yahtzee. I can see why people like his stuff, but it’s just never sat well with me, as I could never quite get past the obvious likeness to Brooker in his writing/reviewing style. Meh. Maybe it’s just myself then.

    (Mind you though, the gamedamage thing really was aweful)

  22. El Zomba says:

    At least we’ve still got One Life Left.

  23. qrter says:

    No, MetalCircus, you’re not alone, I’m not a fan of ZP/Yahtzee either.

    He has a shtick that, in part, dictates how he talks about games. He also has that thing where he approaches a game from a genre he doesn’t know or like, finds it doesn’t approach gameplay in the way he is used to and then faults the game for doing that.

    That said, I don’t see his work as real reviews anyway, just as (sometimes) funny internet things.

    Fun fact: Rab had asked Yahtzee to do a regular segment on the third series of Videogaiden, he declined, saying he wouldn’t be good on TV. He was right!

  24. Bobsy says:

    I always preferred CV for sketches over reviews actually.

  25. eyemessiah says:

    ZP is a one trick pony, no doubt, but I have always found his reviews to be pretty fair & fairly amusing. IMO he’s right in terms of his basic premise: games & gaming mostly suck. I like being able to laugh about this.

    @Dhex: Maybe I misunderstood, which is certainly something KG has accused me of in the past. It seemed to me from the article, and from watching CCC – that it kind of was about elevating enthusiasm over mean spirited satire, at least a bit. I was just worried that everyone, CV included, was getting a bit too excited and about to implode into some kind of hippy lovefest and start handing out pardons to Hellboy and Illbleed. Then where would we be?

    Pop. Hahaha.

  26. Andrew says:

    Why are you leaving out Overblood, eyemessiah?

  27. smorgasbord says:

    CV/VG will be sorely missed. There was nothing else quite like it. They were gamers with an obvious passion for games. If they were losing sight of that, its only fitting it comes to an end.

    Watching the monologue actually made me think and without trying to sound too ‘after school special’ we could probably learn something from it. Maybe some of us gamers have lost sight of why we love this wonderful hobby of ours. The past few years have seen some truly amazing games, yet we’ve also seen the rise of the angry internet man. Games were made to be loved, not hated.

    So how about we all give each other a hug, think about why we love gaming and have our own internal montage of best moments. Sorry im kinda drunk and sentimental. oh ad thanks to Andrew for the links

  28. malkav11 says:

    The thing about Penny Arcade is that hit or miss with the strip (and I agree that they miss pretty often), the posts are invariably informative, entertaining, and not infrequently point me to neat things I would not otherwise have encountered. I can’t say the same for Zero Punctuation, though it’s more consistently amusing.

  29. Akirasfriend says:

    Just dropping by to let the uninformed gaming populous in on another class review. Sorry if it’s already been posted, but damn that’s a lot of comments; I may have missed it.


    Batman? Shatman, more like!

  30. Muzman says:

    I liked their take on Little Big Planet particularly for the sly way they point out the problem with user generated content (at least I think that’s what’s going on). While they love it and it’s great he’s all “And here’s a level I made! Oh wait ets craap. Oh here’s another! Oh, ets craap asweul”

  31. Muzman says:

    Doh, it ate my link. (I really should just log in shouldn’t I) *sigh*
    http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=6AscdO6iJiA

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