From the Arcade to the Girlfriend Experience

If the months between high school and college represent a budding sunrise of emerging freedom, the summer between graduate school and real life becomes your last chance at tasting it; time to get sick on Halloween candy because tomorrow is the start of winter.  I spent these months on a friend’s couch playing “Mario Baseball” (2005)- I regret nothing.

Video games are meant to be played socially. The long extinct shopping mall arcades of the 1980s were social hotspots buzzing with life as teenagers would crowd around machines watching the cool kids do their thing amongst the flashing lights and buzzing sounds of games like Q*Bert and Centipede, telling their own kind big fish tales of forgotten high scores; “…if only they’d left the Frogger machine plugged in, then you’d see…”

Consoles were originally packaged with two controllers for this very reason- video games were meant to be played together. In fact, a two-player mode was so important to the programmer who ported “Pac-Man” (1982) to the Atari 2600 that he mistakenly sacrificed game quality and playability to accommodate the game’s social aspect, producing an atrocious home-version and ultimately killing the market until the rise of the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985- a console which also came packed with two controllers.

It wasn’t until the Nintendo 64 (1996) that packing a new console with two controllers became a needless expense. The rise of the single-player gaming adventure wasn’t necessarily a bad move- longer, more intricate stories were able to be told and players were rewarded with franchise games like “The Legend of Zelda” and “Final Fantasy,” which took the genre to places unfathomable to those shopping mall arcade heroes. Experiencing the kind of dread and solitude a game like “Metroid” offers wouldn’t be as effective with a second player- some quests are meant to be taken alone.

None of this would matter if the larger story wasn’t so fucking sad. We aren’t just playing video games alone- we’re doing practically everything alone. To the point where normies are even red pilled on the topic. In September of 2015, “Scholastic Scope”- a leftist propaganda rag published for middle school kids- ran a story titled “Is Technology Killing our Friendships,” citing the uniquely modern paradox of being more connected than ever through smart phones and social media all while feeling horrifically lonely.

You know it’s a thing if normies are picking up on it; the rarely seen “woke af normie,” who’d love nothing more than to sit you down over a root beer and tell you a thing or two about a thing or two. Fucking kill me.

While the larger story of the N64 became its beloved multiplayer games like “Mario Kart”- anyone who had the system surely has tales of all-night, code red fueled “Goldeneye” sessions (no OddJob!)- but this became the last gasp of true social gaming. The rise of the monstrous PlayStation 2 and X-Box consoles in the early twenty-first century placed the in-person multi-player game as a lower-priority in favor of the solitary experience.  And when high-speed internet became affordable, the idea of social gaming was relegated to playing online- which is every bit as satisfying as using Facebook.

Along with gloriously dingy mall arcades, and all-night multiplayer gaming marathons, the gritty slasher movie had its heyday in the 1980s and was all but dead by the mid-1990s.  As much as they’ll try to revise the formula, go back to the drawing board, put a group of teenagers in the woods and have them hunted down by a madman, it doesn’t work. The audience is too smart for a straight slasher movie, and the characters behave like they know they’re in a movie; the modern slasher can’t help but be tinged with an awful irony. You won’t have that “what the hell are these things?” moment in a modern zombie movie because it’s assumed that the characters have actually seen zombie movies.

Something like “Friday the 13th: Part 2” (1981) works because you don’t get the sense that the movie is embarrassed to be Friday the 13th: Part 2; the characters aren’t acting like they’re too hip to be in Friday the 13th: Part 2. The movie isn’t self-aware, and that’s part of its charm- there was an earnest kind of innocence to it.

But even if I won’t get another classic slasher movie in cinematic form, it’s still possible as a video game. Given the mechanics of a video game, and how what we take for granted in a movie can suddenly become a selling point, like a spooky atmosphere, you can present the basics of what made the classic slasher great without seeming dated. The non-ironic, straight up slasher movie can live on as a video game- and it does exactly that with the newly released Friday the 13th game.

While I haven’t touched a video game in years, I was super excited for the Friday the 13th game! It looked like everything I’d ever want in a Friday the 13th game; you are a counselor in the woods at Camp Crystal Lake, Jason is on the loose hunting you down, what the fuck do you do? It couldn’t get more straight to the point.

And I was so excited for the game that I wanted to see some real gameplay footage in the days leading to its release, so I jumped on YouTube and found people playing it live! “Video game streamers,” apparently that’s a thing, where you kick back and have all the fun of watching other people play video games.

I clicked on a stream of a rather cute girl, doing her cute girl thing, while trying to evade Jason- and when he’d get too close, she’d squeal “don’t do it! I’m a good girl!” and isn’t that adorable? Admittedly this was entertaining, and I certainly got a look at the game… when something kind of funny happened. Someone tipped her $10- for what, I wasn’t quite sure- and she enthusiastically squealed “ten dolla holla,” and then reminded viewers that for $20 she’d write their name on a post-it note and put it on her wall. If you subscribe to her channel, your name even pops up on the screen! And would you believe, in the same stream, someone tipped her $100?

Tits. I was certain it had something to do with tits, but as time ticked by and more money came in, there wasn’t a single mention of tits nor ass. Not one. I had to investigate.

So why are people throwing money at a girl for playing video games on the internet? If you go to her website, she says:

YouTube allows me to combine all of my passions: people, gaming, and making videos. But I believe I’m different from most YouTubers out there. I have been given a platform and I want to use that platform to change people’s lives for the better. I want people to know that whenever they click on one of my videos, that they’ll laugh, they’ll feel encouraged, and they’ll feel like part of a family. I want to inspire people.

And suddenly we take the giant leap from “video game streamer” to cult leader.

Lets closely examine the language she uses. She starts by stating that this is a passion, which is a stab at claiming authenticity. To further drive this to the point of absurdity, she says she’s “different from most YouTubers out there,” despite being pretty much exactly the same. This type of claim is not unlike the cool girl who has “esoteric qualities that made her special and unique, while those other girls are basic and shallow.”

But not only will One_Shot_Gurl let you watch her play video games, she’ll also change your life for the better! By watching her play video games! You’ll laugh, and feel encouraged, and feel like you’re part of a family.

Feel like you’re part of a fucking family.

What she doesn’t need to mention- it’s as self-evident as a vagina- is that she’s really selling lonely men the girlfriend experience.

The girlfriend experience is a uniquely male desire; there is no female equivalent, or boyfriend experience, as most women are able to garner beta-male orbiters to effectively serve that purpose (or gay men for the fat ones). Think of the girlfriend experience as the x-factor that separates a good stripper from a bad stripper- it isn’t her body, or her dancing skill- it’s if she can make you believe the fantasy is real.  That her flirtation with you is genuine, her desire matches your own, and the fleeting moments you spend with her are different and special.

It’s a lot easier to sell sex than it is to sell a fantasy, and while One_Shot_Gurl is keeping her clothes on she’s selling you the fantasy of friendship, family, and the idea of having an adorable gamer girlfriend who makes you feel special for $10 $20 (you want your name on a post-it note stuck to her wall, right?).

When asked during her show why she likes being a streamer, she said it’s because she can “set her own hours.” After all, this is her job. And while she isn’t a stripper or a prostitute, she’s selling the same fundamentals, only dishonestly.

For the record, One_Shot_Gurl does seem quite genuine and really very nice, and I felt a slight tinge of guilt writing this post being critical of her… that maybe I’m wrong, and maybe her streaming really does come from a place of sincerity and passion and maybe, just maybe, that stripper really did want a piece of old “Bad” Billy.

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  1. Jim · June 2, 2017

    Multiplayer didn’t stop being the focus on the 360, it was actually the primary focus. You may want to edit the article to say couch co op wasn’t the focus because since Halo 2 online multiplayer was the entire focus of the FPS genre. It’s very hard to find a game that isn’t focused primarily on multiplayer at this point.

    I think you could have done a better article than this one if you had done better research. While yes the cam girls are offering virtual girlfriend experiences (it pays more than stripping does and less competition), the men streaming are ultimately offering virtual friend experiences. As television dies and Youtube drives off all it’s content creators we come to the online streaming world where your entertainment and your company become the same commodity. Rather than just playing a game now you can play a game while your “friend” offers another line of entertainment. We’ve become such entertainment junkies that 1 stream is no longer enough, now we need 2 or more streams. Play Mario kart 8 while you watch Tittybouncer420blaze it speedrun Resident evil and between races talk to your friends on Snapchat!

  2. hcm · June 2, 2017

    This may simply be an age thing, but you seriously sell online multiplayer short. Real, face to face contact is always superior to virtual experiences, but there is real value to online multiplayer.

    I maintain friendships with Navy buddies that live thousands of miles away. My sister’s husband and I have gone from awkward family to close friends.

    They key is that it can only really grow or maintain existing relationships and using voice chat is essential.

  3. Wilson · June 7, 2017

    wouldn’t say gamer girls are more dishonest than hookers, the customer wants to be deceived, and johns even tend to believe they have relationships with hookers; of course cognitive dissonance isn’t very healthy, but it can be preferable to reality for some guys

  4. Alf · June 10, 2017

    Much truth.

    In defence of modern gaming: the social aspect is really still alive, many good co-op or even 4-player games out there. Just got to use games in the right way. Which, admittedly, a lot of guys sitting alone in a room till 4 AM don’t do.

  5. thomasso75 · June 16, 2017

    I totally get where you are comming from here.
    And as someone else here writes it can actually be helpful in maintaining or bulding long distance relationships, but generally, the way people use the Internet (as a whole) is seperating people more than it units them. It’s just superficial and a quick dopamine fix for most people.

  6. Pingback: Looks Blue, Tastes Red: Marilyn Manson and “Antichrist Superstar” (1996) | Kill to Party

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