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Video Game Elitism and Kirby

Due its simple juvenile nature, the Kirby franchise shines light on the hypocrisy of elitism in video game design by being both neanderthalically stimulating and undeniably fun.

To speak as a game critic is to be elitist. It's in our blood. By considering oneself to be a game critic you have automatically decided internally that you are among the "better" people of the world. Nobody becomes a game critic if you don't have issues with narcissism. Some try to hide it by calling themselves "game enthusiasts" but they're really just like the rest of us. They're douchebags. I'm a douchebag for calling myself a game critic. We are all douchebags. As this soldiery of assholes we are collectively intelligent. We pursue that noble knowledge, because we are inherently better. We live to be smarter than others. So much so that if I say something smart like "analytic a posteriori is fundamentally contradictory due to the self-defining nature of analytic and the contingent nature of a posteriori," then a number of you will puff out your burly chest and swell with pride because you have read Immanuel Kant and you understand. However an even larger number of you will secretly research Immanuel Kant and act like you'd known all along because you don't want to feel like you were less knowledgable than me. This is our way. A scholar-gentry of assholes. But by setting the bottom line to "douchebag" we can ignore our undeniable assholishness and focus on the observations of smart people in one of the most engaging mediums of all time. So the conclusion is we are game critics; we are douchebags, and we are better.

So, as game critics we tend to pride ourselves on the ability to see through the gimmicks and visual trickery of a game and analyze its core. We can see through the mirrors and the smokescreens of a gigantic budget and notice the details that are true inspiration. We study the core mechanical logic and so we know that platformers move right, players need goals, controls have to be steady and tight, and the game has to convey itself properly. But moreso we study gaming success and see that games need to vary. They need to surprise us, and intrigue us. They need to motivate us and entertain us. Games can't be too simple and derivative. They can't be too easy. They can't treat the player like a baby, just giving it whatever it wants. They can't rely on the success of its predecessors. All these things we know to be true. We learn these things from playing smartly crafted games from great game designers. So because we are well versed in the machinery of game design and because we can name obscure games from the 80s to make articulated points about how Call of Duty sucks, the thing we value most in modern games now becomes a noetic mechanical experience that reinforces the durability of these constant gaming laws. So how come Kirby is a good game? 

It's difficult to see it otherwise because this statement has been engrained in us for over two decades, but the Kirby franchise doesn't offer much design-wise. The goals are dirivative, the game is very easy to beat, the mechanics are crude and indiscreet, and yet I enjoy myself. This enjoyment is so well understood that we, the elitist army of douchebags, can come to an agreement to say Kirby is great. Not only is he great, he is rarely ever bad. When you make that first decision to play a Kirby game you decide that you want to feel good. You want to feel stupid. You want to feel less. You want to get drunk. You want to get stoned. Kirby is the modern day equivalent of getting stoned without getting stoned. It transports you to a state where everything is fascinating and incredible. A state where you are no longer bothered by the weight of gaming laws; beyond the incredulity that a game might be fun despite its disregard for rules. A state where your mind is as impressionable as the lines of code that built this game. A kid. Kirby is a game that not only treats you like a child, it forces you to be one. Instantly gratifying your every wish, Kirby will reduce your gaming IQ, eliminate the voices that plague a ruminant, and place you in that pampered chair you love while your mom makes you grilled cheese sandwiches. Empiracally Kirby is bad. Kirby is not bad. Kirby is immature. Kirby is the reason you laugh at farts. And if you want to lie to yourself and say that farts aren't funny, then kirby will MAKE you laugh at farts. Metaphorically. 

The point of this post, however, is not to show you why kirby is good, but to understand its global acceptance. It seems, despite the facade of our exclusive aristocratic douchebag society, we have reached a subconcious plateau, where our collective supercillious minds have mutually agreed to ignore our gaming dogmas and appreciate being a kid. A beautiful statement about cooperation and peacemaking indeed, but what does it say for our legion of assholes? Its too simple and too boring to just call us all hypocrites. The truth lies somewhere deeper. A truth that we have tried to hide for as long as we've been in existence. We are human. Try as we might to form our own ostentatiously worded opinions, we are subjugated by our subjectives. As illustrious as our phrasing, as eloquent as our arguments, we still have feelings that dictate our thoughts. So to say that Kirby shines light on the hypocrisy of game critics really tells us nothing. It tells us what we've always known but been too embarassed to say. So the conclusion is, We are game critics, we are douchebags, and we are human.

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