Friday, June 06, 2008

Retrospective // ea_spouse

It’s quite fantastic how man can be so imaginative when it comes to rules.

Man creates so many of them. It is compulsory. There has to be a gene of rule creation somewhere.

I suppose that they are given birth to bring order within groups of different sizes and compositions. These rules concern economics, religion, politics, culture, life style, etc. I assume that they’re meant, in a way, to shape our pocket civilizations, to differentiate ourselves from animals and, as a whole, the wild and hostile nature that surrounds us.

Yet, some of these rules just become nuisances.
They serve no purpose and are all the more burdens man loves to afflict himself with.
Some of these rules even reach beyond those moments of sheer absurdity and grow in power, totally out of control, so much that man becomes terrorized by the rules he created.
Then we become slaves to our rules, vampirized by them. They turn out to be so counter productive, so illogical, that they empower the wolf inside some of thus to ensure survival of the fittest, to raise leaders among the puppets, and soon we prey upon other individuals in utmost cynical ways.
Even when groups realize something is wrong, they feel terribly powerless. Others will be more or less satisfied with those intangible oppressing mechanics, and serve these new gods to get the better out of the weak who coils in terror.

This leads us, video games wise, to ea_spouse.

You could appreciate the quake her famous letter generated then, as reported on this site.
Don’t forget, it was less than four years ago. Yes, only that.

Things did evolve since that time though. The real person behind that ea_spouse nickname, Erin Hoffman, came out of the woods, started Game Watch, and since then keeps coming up with periodic columns and updates about the industry’s state, like she recently did at The Escapist, and she’s rather active in that department. A labour I salute.

I doubt things change that fast. However, the internet acts as a small catalyst, for sure. It compensates for the totally unlikelyness of ever seeing developers protesting.

Even if ea_spouse had never existed, how many actually wanted to believe in her? - or him, considering how the internet is riff of guys taking female nickname! :)
Even if it was a total hoax, even if it was my cousin dressing up like Queen Elizabeth and using his two fingers to clumsily type down a letter the day following an orgy of alcohol, sex and BBQ, the point would remain the same.

There was a huge demand.

For a moment in life, ea_spouse was iconic. Like, err…

A beacon of light amid the overwhelming darkness.
Jeanne d’Arc leading the French army against the Britons!
Moses guiding the Jews away from Egypt!!
Master Chief kicking Covenant butts!!!

There is a most basic truth to look for here: the more people who want to believe in a formidable source of inspiration and hope, in general, the more it’s due to the fact that they are going through a mediocre moment of their life, in a way or another.
It’s not a coincidence that (extreme) faith is extremely noticeable in the poorest parts of the world.
Shit holes, as you may say.

Sixty years ago, conservative economists would tell you that you couldn’t get rid of child work otherwise the economy would collapse, the world would burn, the moon would fall and whatever nonsense wrapped in a good dose of economic babble.

Now, these days, they say that unionization will destroy companies. Well, it will surely block affairs from the moment unions would feel like the companies are not being fair. But they’re afraid of loosing power.

The sadest part of it is that many were so scared to talk openly about it, they never complained to the point where it mattered. The terror, coupled to isolation and total lack of communication between the oppressed ones about this topic, led to new forms of lockout under disguise (as it happens over the whole world, in any industry), and where open speech is as possible as it is in a banana republic.

You can’t help wondering how long this nonsense would have kept going on, had ea_spouse never spoke.

So… well, thank you!

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