Tom Nook is not a crook. He’s an entrepreneur.

I was thinking about the regret I felt after buying Animal Crossing and not enjoying it. Perhaps because I never played any of the previous console versions of the game, only the mobile version, I had a misunderstanding of what I was getting into. What I found, what I got into was a whole lot of nothing. It was cute, but boring. Utterly, terribly dull.

Perhaps it was the real-time clock, the one that mimicked the endless March that we still find ourselves in, pumpkin spice not withstanding. The short times I played the days seemed interminable and I wondered if part of the draw was just checking in on a daily basis and seeing how much oranges were going for that day. After a few days it felt like one more thing on my to-do list, one more thing I don’t get credit for.

Next, the crass capitalism of the thing confused me. Was it supposed to be ironic, satire, educational, dystopian? When I finally paid off my initial loan to inhabit the little island, I felt no relief, no satisfaction. The debt never weighed over my head, but perhaps by that time I’d realized I was never going to love this game. The magic, if it had ever been there, was gone.

I always forget Rule 34 when I do image searches. Never forget Rule 34.

What I did feel was jealousy when my two island mates got better starting houses than I. Why was mine so narrow? Why wasn’t that yellow roof brighter? I got frustrated trying to manage my inventory when I needed to collect “all the things” in order to get paid. I wasn’t buying accessories, or building furniture, or tricking out my too-narrow house — a problem Ian Bogost’s son appeared to have earlier this year — I was just trying to get a long and finding myself leaving the game earlier and earlier each time.

I didn’t like those feelings and I didn’t like the me that had them. I didn’t like how managing stuff soon took over my gameplay. I didn’t like how I was encouraged to check into the store for points. It felt too much like real life and real like was what I wanted to escape. I wondered when they were going to start offering Starbucks stars for shells. There’s a tie-in waiting to happen. The game quickly became drudgery.

It’s been at least a week since I’ve played and it’s only crossed my mind because I left a note to myself to write a post about Animal Crossing and capitalism, but Ian’s article is better. There’s no sense doing duplicate work, not when there are oranges to pick, trees to shake, and the grind of perpetual debt.

Keep your Woodstock.

Warning: contains Zizek.

I would like to offer this screenshot as a visual representation of how GenX was raised in the most disillusioned cultural environment, while continually doused with the marketing of Baby-Boomer nostalgia. (That nostalgia leaned markedly white and middle class.)

My argument is GenX was disallowed its own cultural validation while standing in the shadow of the perceived greatness of its parents’ generation. While the argument of eternal generational comparison may be made, I offer that this was right after the birth of marketing and the onslaught of nostalgia-based culturalization found its birthplace in the 1980s. From music to film to literature, our desires, interests, and ideals were continually compared to the 1960s and fell short, just as those idealists voted for Ronald Reagan and began purchasing McMansions in droves.

And this is why, when we speak to Millennials, we speak to them as equals, as leaders, not followers. I will correct people when they have historical or cultural things wrong from my era – we are all subject to the marketing machine – but I hope I do not deny them their voice, or their process, or render them invalid because my generation was “more important.” I’m GenX. I never learned that generational self-importance.

The vast majority of Baby Boomers took no part in any revolution, but damn if they don’t want you to buy into that.

Algorithms are not editors

A friend shared this Huff Post article about a photographer using Disney princesses to highlight some of humanity’s ills. What the article fails to do is think about the automatic “related story” link that comes after:

 

Disney Princesses: the epitome of femininity and so easily molded into anything. Purchase yours today!