Introverted Nerd Seeks Justice

Culturally, here in the UK, a man has to have a specific set of attributes, hobbies and opinions in order to be classed as a “man’s man”. These tend to include:

  • watching football or rugby and actively supporting a team
  • drinking alcohol (usually while participating in the above)
  • if single, a man must “go on the pull” (a romantic expression of finding a female partner for the evening, mostly achieved while participating in the above)

I don’t do any of these things.

I hate football, and the culture associated with it, particularly in the UK. I consider it loutish, not to mention pointless. It’s a bunch of grown men kicking a ball around a field. Seriously, I don’t get it. Playing it, yes, I can see why that might be a bit of fun. I have been known to kick a ball to another person at one point or another in my life. But watching it? It’s about as exciting to me as watching someone else play Pac Man.

Alcohol does strange things to me. It makes me un-coordinated and a little bit mouthy. I don’t really like how I am after a few beers. Now, at special occasions, I will drink a few just to get my confidence up a tad as in real life, I’m not very good at talking to people I don’t know. But I will not drink at home under any circumstances. I can’t read when I’ve been drinking, I can’t write and I can’t watch a movie or be a particularly attentive lover. I have my reasons for not drinking, I’m not pushy about it. But I get jeered at on odd occasions because I don’t want to piss £70 up a wall, or throw it up the next day. Yes, it might well have been a good night, but I can’t remember any of it and all I want to do is throw up and sleep. It’s a bit of a waste of free time, in my opinion. It’s a shame that people can’t take it as that – an opinion – as opposed to a criticism of their own lifestyles.

I’ve been single quite a bit throughout my life (I’m I’m ever grateful to my girlie of five years who, so far, still seems to like me a bit), and I have never “chatted up” a woman in a bar, or gone out to actively find myself a girlfriend. I’ve got together with girls that I’ve known as friends, coincidences and internet dating. I’m not saying that going out and chatting with a few girls is a bad thing, but it’s just not my thing. And I also remember being asked quite firmly why I didn’t go out and “chat up some birds”, which I took exception to.

I’ll tell you what I do enjoy doing, so I can paint a picture here of what seems to be the opposite of the average man in the UK.

I enjoy:

  • Watching movies. A lot. Movies are a great way to spend a Friday night. Whether that’s because I need some escapism from the daily grind, I don’t know. My Dad is into movies, and so am I. Just not feelgood movies. I feel cheated if I can predict that everything will turn out fine in the end, and that the guy will get the girl and also overcome his own insecurities.
  • Playing video games. Whether this is a remainder of my childhood that didn’t get phased out along with playing with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures, I don’t know. I just know that I seem to enjoy shooting bad guys in the face.
  • Reading. Whether it be books, or – my newly found hobby – blogs, I have always loved the written word. I’ve never been a massive fan of fiction, but I do own nearly all of Stephen King’s titles. I just like the way he writes, it’s simple and he creates pictures in my head without looking for convoluted synonyms in the thesaurus to pad out his work.
  • Making movies. I’ve been training myself in the arts of photography and special effects editing. Not for any other reason than for fun, really. I’m not overly ambitious, but I do love making short effects that make people say “wow”. See here if you’re interested at all.

There, I feel somewhat refreshed after that. Maybe I’m just odd, and my girlfriend just likes quite weird men that look quite a bit like Moby or Boris Karloff.

Fear in Video Games

Scared

There’s something about sitting in a darkened room, guiding your character through an eerie forest at night just waiting – hoping – for something to jump out and scare the hell out of you. There’s something very attractive about scenarios that make you feel like you could die at any moment. It’s a stark contrast to what a lot of top selling video games promote. Where many FPS games will cast you as a rugged, heroic, killing machine, horror games usually make you feel very vulnerable indeed. They touch you on a very primitive level.

I figure the horror genre is so popular because it manages to consistently provoke emotional responses from the audience, whereas  action genres seem to have a tougher time to get us to sympathise or empathise with the protagonists, especially after so many years of desensitisation from explosions, bullet wounds and instances of heroically saving the man that was left behind.

The past decade has seen some excellent horror video games, the stand out ones for me were Alan Wake, Dead Space, Condemned and F.E.A.R 2. All of these managed to completely immerse me in the ongoing story, with great characterisation and original mechanics.

I just wish that other genres of games were as interesting.