Untainted by Paint

In the MMOFPS game I recently started playing, I regularly and purposefully select to be brutally murdered by a horde of unrepentant killers — and I enjoy it. I don’t enjoy brutality per se, I just like the tag-you’re-it, defend-the-base style of gameplay. Yet I do find the violent way in which it’s depicted a bit amusing, there’s a dark humor to it.

So it makes me think about this world, you know? If this world is just a simulation, then why wouldn’t the gameplay be similar? Some people are just gonna tear sh*t up, blastin’ with guns blazin’ — right? But the neat part of this world, I’m guessing, is that players are segregated into different themes of play. Some do relationship-drama, some peacefully farm, some strive for objectives, some holler an’ fight, and some spectate, watching it all go down (what good is a trick if no one sees you do it, right?).

There’s probably a bunch of categories that people are assigned to. And sometimes we worry we might cross into other categories, but I’m thinking we can’t. So if you’re on the peaceful track, then you’re good, no need to worry about violence. But since this world is virtual, I bet a lot more people than you’d think have the brutality option checked. After-all, it’s fun to experiment with video-game characters we control, pushing them to their limits, testing their mettle.

If people cared, the world would be a safer, less-savage place — yet we don’t care. We regularly ignore the ceaseless violence, recklessness, and abuse that goes on around us in order to focus on our mundane daily lives. Why is that? It must be that we’re not meant to care or interfere — we’re each having our own little dream, but our roommates just happen to be freaks (no judgement, they’re just into some really freaky stuff — macabre themes, sadomasochism, restraints, choking — all of it).

Some might see this viewpoint as a form of existential victim-blaming, which it is. It’s implying that individuals are experiencing the world exactly as they themselves intended, brutality and all. It’s as if at some point prior to existence, we each browsed a dossier of details and selected our character’s traits and the approximate path he’d take. But to keep it interesting, we signed-off on the introduction of unknown challenges and other surprises.

In the MMOFPS game I’ve been playing, I’ll often charge into a group of opponents, blasting away, not caring a whit whether I’ll survive because it just doesn’t matter. We’re all just pretending to be painted pixels. The underlying player remains untainted by the splattering paint of the virtual world. And that might be true of this world as well. Perhaps there’s an underlying player that remains untainted by the splatter, unrepentantly enjoying the spectacle of existence.

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