The wind’s gone now! Hang on. (Cameraperson laughs, cape flaps as wind picks up) Man in distance: Nice cape!
Sterling: Hyah! [“Born Depressed” by Drill Queen] (Jim narrating) “The city. MY city.” “I always told myself” “when I returned to the city,” “I would stand on a rooftop,” “wearing a cape,” “so it could all flap about the place in the wind.” “At last!” “I’m living the dream. MY dream!” “In the city. MY city!” “…Very cold up here.” “And I should have worn some undergarments.” “Nipples poking out through, I can just feel ’em.” “I can feel ’em brushing up against the material.” “And uh.. I’m sure some kids down there are looking at me.” “They’re starting to yell things.” (Tongue clicks, chilly sigh) “It is uh.. is cold though.” “It’s cold, I’m-I’m… I’ve had enough of this, I’m going, it’s not even all that windy.” So Ninja is a thing. Not A ninja, a man who CALLS himself Ninja. He’s not a real ninja. If you do a Google search for “ninja” now, you only get pictures of his fucking face. Not real ninjas, who famously hide their faces under a mask for effective night sneaking. Imagine how real ninjas must feel, though. All of the ones searching for themselves on Google right now. Six centuries of Japanese history, art, and folklore, decades of world-wide influence in popular culture, and now when you look up “ninja” you get THIS little lad. The first instance of a non-Ninja picture of a ninja in the Google image search for “ninja” is this ninja Fortnite skin. Until you realize that the skin, too, is one of Ninja the not-ninja and the not-Ninja ninja you were looking for. I mean, I’m not saying Ninja should apologize to the entire country of Japan, and the world at large for effectively wrecking Google and burying the art of ninjutsu, but I think everyone would appreciate it. At least when you search for shinobi, you get the real results. Nothing but videogames, as it should be! Ahh yes, YouTube thumbnail of a For Honor gameplay trailer. Keep the legends alive! Keep the legends aliiiive. ANYWAY Ninja is a popular live streamer who people love because he plays Fortnite. I hate him, purely because he is younger and more attractive and more popular than me. Requirements for hatred that pertain to most people in the world, so I wouldn’t take it personally, Ninj. Anyway, Ninja tends to make headlines in the world of gaming whenever he says or does something, very much like that other streamer Doctor Disrespect, who by the way, is not a qualified fucking practitioner. Though by all accounts, the other part of the name checks out. Ninja famously snubbed Twitch.tv to sign a deal with Microsoft’s own streaming service, “Mix-ERR” which people really cared about. But it’s his more recent chicanery that I want to talk about today. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s really easy to research. Just type “ninja” into fucking Google and the lad pops right the fuck up. If you can’t be bothered to do your own research, and expect me to explain my video subject to you like you’re some sort of goddamn child, …recent comments made by the beloved streamer have caused a bit of an uproar. An argument specifically about how to play and enjoy videogames. Because those discussions are always FUN and never lead to toxicity in the LEAST. Anyway, Ninja took umbrage with the phrase “it’s just a game.” Deriding it for its frailty, and explaining that not being angry over losing at a videogame, and shrugging off one’s faltering, is a mindset marked by its deficiency and decrepitude. (mocking impression) “The phrase ‘it’s just a game’ is such a weak mindset,” said Ninja, I don’t know how he sounds. “You are okay with what happened,” “losing, imperfection of a craft.” “When you stop getting angry after losing, you’ve lost twice.” “There’s always something to learn,” “and always room for improvement.” “Never settle.” As one might expect, this comment led to a big ole fight punctuated by think pieces and hot takes aplenty. As the world asked “Are we taking videogames too importantly?” And “should we not get worked up about a loss?” OR, was David Bowie right all along when he sung It’s No Game? [static, upbeat chiptunes music starts] Hey little pickles it’s me! Popular Twitch streamer influencer, Cucumber Succulence!
[canned audience cheer] Now, some of you watching may be fans of Twitch streamer influencers like me! So we thought it would be good to give you a familiar face so that some of the references can be explained to you. In this, this video for grown ups! [disgusted chuckle-retching]
haha bleugh, ha bluegh [demonic chuckle-retch]
BLEEEEEUUUGGGHHH David Bowie was a popular singer-songwriter in the UK from the 60s, all the way through to the 2010s! He had such hits as Space Oddity, Changes, and the track that was referenced in this video, It’s No Game! His discography is available on LP vinyl, on cassette, and on CD-Rom for compact discs! And you’re a fan of Ninja, you’ve heard of or seen ANY of those things! ss..ss.. He was also a prolific film actor, having appeared in such movies as The Man Who Fell to Earth, and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth! Yes, they were making movies back then, and THEY didn’t even have Netflix! [silence] Now, to the actual tweet itself, taken how it was written, It’s wrong.
[negative buzzer] I mean that’s the debate ended, folks. I’ve done it. I’ve fixed the discord. Obviously, fucking obviously, it’s not WEAK to look at a videogame as just a videogame, because… ..well, it’s a fucking videogame. And I say this as the guy who is literally paid to get angry about videogames. Videogames are not climate change, or global warming, or the continued existence of Vince McMahon. Fortnite is just Fortnite. It’s a colorful little shooty game about cartoon people wearing pumpkins on their head, or whatever, and destroying entire buildings with candy cane pickaxes. The vast majority of people playing Fortnite. About 250 million of ’em, for God’s sake, should not get wound up and furious after losing. There’s a hundred of you playing a match at any given time. Only one can win, and statistically, the odds are against you. Unless you’re me, I’m really good at Fortnite. If you get mad at not being the one person out of a fucking hundred to get it, you’re placing an incredibly high amount of pressure on yourself, when, ultimately, games are predominately meant to be entertaining fun, not a strenuous, enraging drive to be the very best. I mean, come on, it’s videogames! It’s not Pokémon. A little under a year ago – (mutters) I’m not actually very good at Fortnite – a debate roared over Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. This often happens when FromSoftware releases a game, because their games have a reputation for difficulty, and that brings out more than a handful of rather arrogant people who hate the idea that some folks don’t play games to be challenged. And sorry, that is true, and it’s a valid idea. Some people don’t play games just for the challenge of it. Videogames are versatile, some aren’t even designed with lose conditions. Some of them you just pick up fruit to sell to a raccoon. It’s all good. But so help me GOD if you don’t say I’m the best Animal Crossing player in the world! I’ll cut your hair while you’re asleep. If you merely suggest that you’d be okay with Dark Souls having an easy mode, you’ll be pilloried by a contingent of hardcore “git gud” types, Who’ll waste little time in taking great offense. You don’t have to say Dark Souls NEEDS an easy mode, you don’t have to even say you WANT one. Merely express your lack of indignance at the vague concept of it, how its inclusion wouldn’t ruin your own personal enjoyment of the thing, and people will lose their shit. Similarly, the very existence of a PC mod for Sekiro that significantly eases up the challenge, Was treated like the return of fucking Sauron by some people. [static] Sauron was a villainous figure in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings! Which was a book! And back in them days, books were made out of paper! Not out of iPads! Lord of the Rings was also a popular trilogy of movies! Which you also haven’t seen! Because you’re YOUNG! [chiptunes music stops, silence] Never mind that mods easing up aspects of games have existed for decades. Never mind that anybody modding a single player game on their own time takes nothing away from anyone else. The mods were seen by a certain contingent as offensive. Now we all know the most famous response to follow this. (elitist reading) “You cheated not only the game, but yourself!” Cried out one hardcore gamer. “You didn’t grow, you didn’t improve,” “you took a shortcut and gained.. NOTHING.” “You experienced a HOLLOW victory, and-” blah blah blah blah, ..blah BLAH. Outside of a contingent of truly zealous “git gud”ers this melodramatic and remarkably elitist comment was mocked and parodied mercilessly. However, it’s tone isn’t all that different from Ninja saying, “You are okay with what happened, losing.” “Imperfection of a craft!” I mean… …yeah, most people when they lose at a videogame are okay with what happened because to them it’s.. ..well, it’s not a craft. A lot of the “git gud”ers and Ninja himself, seem very concerned with the idea of improvement. That if a player doesn’t learn to get better, either thanks to too much assistance, or lacking the drive to hone their talents, then something is amiss in the world. And at heart, their concern isn’t a bad thing. Self improvement at anything, be it work, or internal, or a hobby, is great! Getting better at a videogame is a positive feeling, and it can make a person feel good. But the fact is, to the vast majority of the people in the world, it is just a game. And if they’re going to hone a craft, they’re probably not gonna make that craft Fortnite. They might make a bench or something. It might be hard for those with a competitive mindset to appreciate, but some people do not play games to win. They play them to have a good time. There’s a reason why we call it “playing” it’s because we’re talking about GAMES. Just games at the end of the day. That’s not to say winning can’t be part of the fun. No, I’m not so prideless that I don’t like to do at least mildly respectable in a game myself. But I’m never gonna be anywhere near a top player and I’m still playing games. Because the medium is so vast, diverse, and versatile, that simply playing a game to win at it, to beat it, to dominate the competition, is not really all that important if you don’t want it to be. Enjoying a videogame in a way that works for you, on your terms, making sure that something you buy is something you’ll enjoy regardless of your performance, that’s important, I think. In a world where corporate fucklords are trying to make games cost more and entertain less, it’s pretty crucial to the medium. Now, there’s some further important context that colors the whole debate. One thing that needs to be pointed out, is that Ninja is a competitive Fortnite player. His job is to literally play games. And not just to play them, but to play them pretty damn well. His livelihood is tied up into being very, very good at Fortnite. And it’s clearly this mindset that informs the way HE looks at videogames. When he derides the “it’s just a game” mindset as weakness, that’s an attitude born purely from the fact that the entire point of what he does is play to win. The problem, of course, is that Ninja did not communicate this rather crucial bit of context. Something he actually does better in an excerpt of his book – He’s got a book! I don’t have a fucking book! – where he goes into far much more detail on the matter. (reads with voice impression) “Here’s the thing about a competitive mindset,” he writes… ..I don’t know what he sounds like. “You have it or you don’t.” “You don’t have to have one to enjoy playing games,” “but if you’re serious about being the best,” “your will to win is going to be the fire that keeps you fighting.” Ninja explains that whenever he’s been involved in a competitive endeavor, be it soccer or videogames, he’d always get angry whenever teammates told him it was just a game. And he’d wonder why they would even bother playing. (voice impression) “Would you ever say it’s just a game to Tom Brady” “when he’s playing in the Super Bowl?” “Of course not!” I mean, to be fair, I think I would. It is just football, and it’s American football at that. Which makes it worse than soccer which is already shit. I’ve watched your fucking Super Bowl, and as near as I can tell, American football is a game in which people stand around, waiting for their turn to fall over. And the fact that they’ve suckered in everyone else, by pushing it as a giant advertising opportunity, and we all get excited about commercials with storylines! And not even good ones like the the ad for Nectar in the 90s, I think it’s a ringing indictment on society, that we all gather around once a year – (yells aside) Is it every year, Justin? [silence] Once every year! He nods. Once every year, we gather around, and then talk about, and disseminate, and get angry and uproarious and joyful and triumphant about goddamn fucking adverts! ADVERTS! Soccer’s shit! (voice impression) “I’d be easier on myself if I didn’t have that mentality,” “but I dooooo,” he continues. “These days I’m better at understanding that not everyone” “shares that attitude, and that’s okay.” “But you really should ask yourself,” “Why do you really want to be the best?” “What keeps you going?” “How are you always going to challenge yourself to improve?” “You can practice as much as you want.” “but unless you’re hungry,” “you’re not really going to see the results you want,” “and your time would be better spent just playing games,” “not trying to master them.” B’ooOoah. Even with this context, however, Ninja’s comments are far too personally applicable for him to talk as if it’s a one-size-fits-all mindset. Even among professionals, attitudes towards losing are varied. Fellow streamer, Ohmwrecker, for example, expressed his view that losing does itself carry a positive element. Claiming that losing helps you get better, and that anyone doing anything competitive should find value in a loss. Calmly accepting loss as a learning process rather than getting mad and improving out of spite sounds like a lot healthier of an attitude to have. In fact, many people have already pointed out that lifting up anger as the only valid response to losing, even as a professional player, is not a mentally responsible thing to do. Take it from me, and my anger issues, and my controllers, raging at a videogame is not good for you and can wind up very expensive, as more than one trip to GameStop can attest. [static] Hi influencer fans it’s me again, Cucumber Succulence! Now, you may be too young to remember this, but GameStop was once a successful retail chain! Hyah hyah hyah now it’s not! Because time came for GameStop! And it’ll come for youuu tooo. [spins, pendant clatters to the floor] [silence] Time comes for us all, children! And one day YOU’LL be in your late 30s, wondering what the… FUCK is going on in the world… [silence] (manic laughing) Ha hah, he ha, heh ha, BYE GUYS! Anger is not valueless. I’m not against getting furious over important things, but it’s also one of the most dangerous and potentially poisonous emotions to have. And actions fueled by anger, historically, don’t have the best track record for turning out well. And if anger is fueling you to be the best in the world, that might actually work and get you there. But once you’re there, you’ve got to stay there. And anger won’t KEEP you there. Have you seen those Little Caesars ads about their new delivery service? Those ones with Rainn Wilson in them. If you haven’t seen them, basically it’s about the idea that Little Caesars’ delivery is the best idea since sliced bread. Causing the sliced bread factory to panic and implode in on itself because they’re no longer the best thing. Those adverts piss me the fuck off! While we’re on the topic of rage, because FUCK the sliced bread factory. If your entire business model is predicated on being the best thing in the entire fucking world, then you deserve to fail. You need a more stable business model than being a statistical fucking anomaly. Any other business, backed up by reliable sources of income, essentially have infinite attempts to beat the sliced bread factory. But the sliced bread factory only has to fuck up ONCE. And it’s all over. That is no way to live! That is no way for the sliced bread factory to live! Especially if its position is so frail that Little fucking Caesars can dethrone it. Little fucking Caesars! Which is, itself, mostly sliced bread when you look at it. Here’s the problem with being the best. It’s like Fortnite. You’re dropped into the world with the statistical advantage stacked against you. Not just a hundred, but MILLIONS of people vying for the title. And only ONE of you can be the best. Which you might end up being – for a time. Until someone snipes your position. Millions of people have millions of chances to take your crown, and you only need to fuck up once. If you’ve tied your identity to being the best, if your sense of satisfaction in what you do is found in being better than everyone else in the whole world, do you know who you become? You become Billy Mitchell. A man so defined by his skills as an arcade record breaker, he did his own legacy of genuine talent by cheating in the end to retain his position. In his drive to remain the King of Kong, Mitchell resorted to cheating, and disgraced himself. Now his records are wiped at Twin Galaxies, and he’ll go down in history as a shit. Because that’s what he was in the end. He was the best in the world, he was obsessed with being it, and now he’s a shit. I think the main problem is that, Twitch influencers don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. They’re ignorant. And their followings have given them this inflated sense of… ..purpose, and self-importance. So, do follow me at twitch.tv/jimquisition where we’re streaming such wonderful games as (chuckles) The Binding of Isaac, Saint’s Row 2, and of course, Nidhogg. …I’ve never played Nidhogg. [smacks lips, sighs] Thank God for me. [“The Snooker Song” by Mike Batt]