By Kieron Gillen on November 27th, 2009 at 6:24 pm.
A great thinker, when first confronted with the teenage delirium of Doom, made one of the most astute, piercing and brilliant observations ever to be applied to a videogame. Yes, this is pretty good…. but imagine if you could talk to the monsters. Now that would be something. And it would. It would be a glorious thing, a dream only yet partially achieved, that hundreds chase. But I come not to talk of the future – I come to talk of a present. A present where hundreds chase you.
Now: Not talking to the monsters. That’s the thing. And imagine not talking to the monsters with a grand intellectual vision behind the muteness. Imagine using not talking to the monsters to illustrate the dark emptiness in the heart of the human condition. Imagine – if you will – the towering majesty of the game they call Serious Sam.
I could start anywhere. I’ll start with the clearest nihilistic j’accuse aimed at everyone – that is, with Serious Sam’s most iconic antagonist: the human-bombs. They speed across sands towards you. They scream, explode and die in their hundreds. Their blood makes the desert run red. They die and die and die and die and then die some more. Why can we not talk to the monsters?
We cannot talk to the monsters because they have no heads.
That’s Croteam’s portrait of humanity. We may wish to talk, but we can’t. Man is the beast with no head. There is no chance communication across the infinite chasm between two souls. And so, we are trapped in a cycle of violence. What other choice do we have?
This vision of life without succour grows ever darker. There is no mothers embrace in Sam’s world. We cannot hold these poor souls… because they have bombs for hands. Is there any truer analysis of the patheic squalor of human existence? That wasn’t written by a Frenchman? I say nay.
It turns darker. Yet even without a head, they scream. Even decapitation cannot remove that primal urge to vent in inchoate fury against the unfairness of existence. They scream until their final pyrokinetic death takes them from the world and gives them the blessed piece of the void. For them, hell is other people – the other person being you. And you have a shotgun.
Let us feel further into the abyss, our dumb, blind fingers finding the blackest of truths in the co-operative mode. Sixteen people can examine Croteam’s work together. And what does this grand co-operative venture bring? Only further violence. The more humans together, the greater the chaos wrought. The inevitable product of humanity’s leaning to sociability is the holocaust. Two hands shaking is the harbinger of Auschwitz. Serious Sam states that the least harm can cause from a lonely life – but even then, you are knee deep in the gore of your sins.
Think on Sam as the despairing choir rises up in their familiar mournful refrain: Where is videogames’ Citizen Kane? Where is our Michael Caine? Even where is our sugar cane? We must ignore them. Foolish, ignorant and intellectually-incontinent buffoons. They overlook the genius in our midst. Serious Sam is the logical collision between the Brother Karamazov and a Kalishnikov. It is undeniable.
Serious Sam is a major text and we all should consider with the deepness with which it was wrought. The clue is in the name. “Serious Sam”. It is very serious. I cannot say for sure why he’s called is called Sam, but I’m planning to explore the most tenable theories my forthcoming doctoral thesis. Ah – this reminds me of something incredibly insightful which Derrida once wrote – but I won’t repeat it, as it’s very deep, and you wouldn’t understand it. Much like you don’t understand Serious Sam. I pity you, in many ways.