Before every major sporting event, you can read articles in which lonely computer science graduates, using statistics based upon complex algorithms, attempt to legitimize the use of video games as a tool to predict the winner. While the sane take all this video game prognosticating as seriously as I take Donald Trump’s hair stylist, there are others, suspected of having chromosomal disorders, who place bets based upon this sort of nonsense. This garbage is an insult to the intellect and sensibilities of multitudes of sports fans who are sick of being slapped across the face with this ubiquitous drivel. This has to stop.
Real men know a man’s worth and the outcome of any event worth watching can’t be determined in a pixilated world designed by soft, pale video game programmers who’ve never even worn a jock-strap. The game must be played. Any man who wastes time proselytizing the “videogamification” of sports deserves ridicule and should be forced to watch and listen to a thousand hours of Tony Kornheiser doing color commentary on America’s Next Top Model . If you find yourself concerned that the last sentence is some sort of racially derogatory attack on Tyra Banks, you are part of the problem and should continue to read. I’ll attempt to pull your sissified ass out of Pato’s dark cave and into the light of day. I’ll do this by exercising the power of imagination bestowed upon me by LeVar Burton-who played Kunta Kinta in Roots and who gave millions of Americans an imagination while hosting our favorite PBS children's program, Reading Rainbow. LeVar thinks he is to your imagination what Al Gore is to the internet. If it weren’t for LeVar, we’d all “work” for General Motors designing cars.
Thanks to LeVar, as real as Terry Bradshaw’s big, shiny, bald dome, I’m conjuring up images of you, the young men who will read this article. I imagine some of you need your asthma inhalers because of the stress caused by the great indignity you choose to feel as a result of the misleading title of this article.
While I find it ridiculous, I understand how with the limited life experience you have because of your video game habit; you get all out of sorts about things that don’t really matter. I can see you moaning like a zombie as you raise your arm and extend your index finger searching for a reset button.
If you are reading this and find yourself even just slightly peeved, I’d like to encourage you to calm down by humming some of the video game music now permanently imprinted in your brain from listening to it over and over again. Humming this crap will make you feel better because the music now works as a mnemonic device that triggers the release of a bunch of hormones that lead to the same sense of calm you felt breastfeeding. This happens because all those hours consuming junk food and playing video games have resulted in your brain being wired in an abnormal manner. This has probably resulted in a prescription for medication subsequent to a diagnosis of whatever nonsense psychiatric disorder is in the public eye because some pharmaceutical company paid Oprah to do a show about it.
I know you exist because I’ve seen you lined up outside of Game Stop, waiting to get your chubby hands on some new video game. In my head, you freak out and start wheezing. I imagine you get all jiggly because you are fatter than John Daly on December 3rd. I’d like you to stop the truffle-shuffle before you fall over and kill the ridiculously tiny, inbred Chihuahua I just imagined your shallow sister abandoned when she went up north to that state college. She gave you her copy of The Secret and asked you to take care of “Princess” just months after she convinced your maggot parents she had to have a dog like the one she “fell in love” with while watching the first season of that reality show I don’t want to know the name of. I imagine your parents let your sister blow a substantial chunk of her college savings, inherited from your hardworking grandparents, on that stupid dog, designer purses, and her one redeeming choice in the eyes of some of our readers, breast implants for her 18th birthday. For the sake of decency I will stop imagining what your sister is up to at that state school she was forced to attend after blowing all her college money.
At this point you might feel like my intent is to make you feel like the Eagles’ secondary during that flea-flicker in the NFC championship game. You’re looking back, trying to figure out what is going on. I want you to know it is perfectly okay to feel scared, angry and stupid…just like the Eagles. If you are angry and think I owe you an apology, you should keep reading until you find something better; an explanation.
I’m certain you are as sick of hearing about change as I am seeing red numbers when I log in to my brokerage account, but change is pretty much what this article is about. We need to change some of the ridiculous habits we’ve developed and start participating in the world in a tangible and meaningful manner. We are losing our best and brightest as they waste thousands of hours playing video games to no real discernible productive end instead of risking a little melanoma outside on the sandlot. Who knows...one of them could be the next John Kruk.
While one might reasonably argue that we aren’t losing future star athletes to video games, without sounding like a PSA, I think it is obvious video games are a factor in the loss of incredibly valuable life lessons that result when people actually participate in events that require interaction that has nothing to do with staring at pixels on a screen
I plead with you to stop working at three in the morning on perfecting the face and body of a new Madden QB, jersey #69, that with the helmet on and when you squint, looks just like the girl you have a crush on but can’t bring yourself to talk to. You know...the cute girl you were hoping you’d finally get the chance to sleep with after you sent all the money you had in your Paypal account to that idiot in the stupid hat who runs that seduction website that guaranteed you could sleep with any girl you wanted to when they delivered a PDF file full of advice and a magical combination of words. You were hoping you could just cut and paste the words into a seductive email, which you could send to a girl from home in your underwear.
I know you hoped that you were mitigating risk by eliminating the need for any actual physical interaction and possible rejection before getting down to the nitty-gritty. I know you vividly imagined ripping open the clear wrapper of that expired glow-in-the-dark condom you hide in the skull of your Lebron James bobble-head because, for a few minutes before you sleep each night, the painted jersey is illuminated in the dark, making James look like the superhero you believe him to be.
You thought you were investing in a “Cheat Code” that would result in her pants immediately ending up on the floor next to your anime porn and gamer magazines. I know you were hoping she’d get a little naughty and you could reenact something similar to that infamous scene from Grand Theft Auto that now haunts you as the shameful silhouette of the scene is permanently burned on the screen to remind you of your odd fetish. Without sounding like McCain, my friend, brush the Spicy Hot Cheetos off the gaming chair your parents bought you at the now defunct Circuit City. Don’t worry about picking them up, you lazy turd. The dog will eat them.
Realize, after day three of waiting for that broad to respond to your pathetic MySpace pick-up attempt, that money you spent would have been better spent on that fancy new vibrating Xbox 360 controller you were eyeballing on eBay. You could have strategically set the vibrating controller on your lap while you sacked #69 repeatedly with the other player you designed to look just like you...minus the potbelly and acne. Accept that if something drastic doesn’t change, this will be the rest of your life.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve obviously played Madden and I think it’s far more entertaining than watching Nancy Grace talk about whether or not there was semen found on some dead white broads underwear. What else are you going to do after you’re fired from your sign-twirler job for using that “Going Out of Business-All must go” sign to playfully mimic “obscene acts” outside the supposed bastion of retail efficiency that went bankrupt after reporting their miserable 4th quarter earnings due to their failure to sell any, jockstraps, footballs or other sports equipment to the video game-obsessed, mouth-breathing, Ritalin-popping masses?
That in mind, video game culture is contributing to the demasculinization of an entire generation that doesn’t realize there are consequences for trash talking or that there are people who while watching a game in a bar will get so drunk they think you are their girlfriend and a kick to the gut and some conveniently located stairs are “an acceptable form of birth control.” I learned all about this one in 2002 after the surprise I got from a drunken Raiders fan who kept calling me Maria.
I think we should remind kids today that there was a time when flashing red and blue lights outside of sports bars caused far more seizures than the six or so a year caused by the touchdown celebration cut scenes in Madden. Those were good times and I think we should let the epileptics act as our canaries in the proverbial coal mine. We’ve become a pale reflection of the men who once supported their families in real coal mines, who ate meat and who played football without helmets.
I’d like to pay some respect to those men by not confusing them with garbage like the Madden Simulated Superbowl story. However it may be too late. I’m fearful those men, like Sean Alexander’s career, will die and fade away. Dentist suicides will reach even more ridiculous levels as many realize they can’t pay for the last stage of their hair transplant because they’ve lost so much income as the next generation loses 60% less teeth in sports bar brawls.
If we don’t stop this, we’ll see a future in which Sportscenter undergoes serious retooling, so the design principles correspond more closely to those in the Madden football games. Football shows will have an interface that can be manipulated with a wireless XBox 360 controller. I believe that some day the talking heads won’t talk about match-ups without serious analysis of their Madden ratings. They will end debates with, “Pittsburgh is obviously going to win, their defense is rated 97 and they have an 89 rating overall”
If this "videogamification" continues, football fans won’t need giant foam hands. They will just paint their team colors on their giant mutant thumbs. Theses thumbs will be similar to those Uma Thurman had in the worst movie of all time, Even Cowgirl’s Get The Blues. These frightening mutant thumbs will be a result of playing too many video games and a diet rich in candy from China. For the love of Madden’s triple chin, look at your thumbs! Are they turning into calloused, mutant clubs from wasting hours of your life playing video games?
I barely hit thirty and I can’t help but find myself muttering, “kids today.” I can’t help myself when I see kids geeking out on games like Dance, Dance Revolution. What the hell is up with Dance, Dance Revolution? I just don’t get it. I don’t think anybody in his or her right mind understands the appeal of “DDR.” Why couldn’t they have called it just “Dance Revolution” and done away with the superfluous “Dance.” They really should have called the game “Now I Don’t Have to Tell My Parent’s I’m Gay...They Just Know.”
I know it’s horrible, but I dream about taking my commemorative 911 box cutter to the DDR dance pad and waiting for the kid who takes it so seriously he goes barefoot to get "jiggy with it." I would just stand back waiting for my opportunity with a SuperSoaker.
I can see myself jumping from behind a couch and screaming “There can be only one” as I unload the SuperSoaker on the exposed wires. I’d like to believe the spastic Michael Flatley would turn into a flamboyant tesla coil. I could then make a stupid comment about crossing the streams...based upon another 1980s movie the kid had never heard of. Of course, the kid could end up fried like Ted Bundy, and I’d end up a topic on Nancy Grace.
(A caller from West Virginia calls in to Nancy Grace. The topic is the Electric Bugaloo Murder.)
Nancy: We have Maylene on the line. Go ahead, Maylene.
Caller: Nancy, congratulations on your beautiful daughters. They are just precious and bless you for doing God’s good work.
Nancy: Thank you, Maylene. What’s your question?
Caller: Did they test that pad...the one the boy was dancing on…for semen? I’m not familiar with that game, but if that pad is anything like the pads my brother and I used to play twister on…
The whussification of America is well underway and it must stop here. Contributing to this problem is that we have an entire generation of people that just don’t do anything. As bizarre as it seems, when I was a kid, we did things that didn't need any electricity. We played football, dodgeball and other games.
My childhood was shaped by games like “Smear the Queer.“ Today I can’t even mention this game without being stared at or reprimanded like some sort of relic from a bygone era best forgotten. For simplicity more than to keep from offending some of the more “sensitive” readers, from this point forward I’ll refer to the game by the acronym, STQ. I’ll use the acronym despite the fact that even the thought that somebody thinks I should consider using it for PC reasons is enough to make me want to write it as SMEAR THE QUEER and it gets me seriously thinking about starting a non-profit to teach kids in elementary school how to play the game.
The little Dick Butkus that lives in my ear, tells me it is important that I communicate to those who don’t know, or forgot, why STQ is so important.
The game would always start with somebody yelling “smear the queer” and tackling/smearing a kid who was carrying something. The smearer would then take whatever the smeared was carrying and run away with it. Most of the time the thing he took was a ball. It didn’t have to be. Sometimes it was a stuffed animal we swiped from a girl we liked, some kids shoe, or even some snaggletooth's retainer.
Whoever had the object or ball got ruthlessly gang-tackled by the mass of kids who didn’t have the ball. The kid with the ball was known as “the queer.” This was well before we even really new what that meant. The "queer" had some simple choices that had consequences. The choices the kid made, spoke volumes about who he was. The kid with the ball would run like hell, toss the ball into the air to avoid punishment or, rarely, turn around toward the group and meet them head-on to dole out some of his own punishment.
The majority of the time a kid with the object would choose to run. If he was fast enough, he’d avoid being smeared for awhile. Eventually we would catch him and "smear" him. if he didn’t end up with a broken arm or some other severe injury, the ball would end up in the hands of somebody strong enough to take it or lucky/unlucky enough to have it squirt into their hands. Then the whole pursue and smear scenario would start again.
Sometimes a kid that didn’t really want the ball would still end up with it through some cruel twist of fate or because we stuffed it in his shirt. He would try to throw it away before being smeared or pretend to drop it to avoid punishment. Ironically, despite the fact that without the ball he was no longer technically the queer, because he was a whuss, we would always punish this kid the worst by smearing him anyway and doing it in more wickedly vicious ways.
We all knew that the true warriors were the kids who took the ball and turned around to run at those who wanted to smear him. While it is true that the vast majority of the kids that chose to turn around and face the bloodthirsty mob were just big sadists with hormone disorders, sometimes they weren't. Sometimes it was a kid who, because had enough of his horrible home life, needed to stand up and give it back. Sometimes it was a kid that just wanted to test himself because he was wearing his Superman Underoos and taking his Flintstone vitamins. It always meant something and we all kind of new what that something was.
I’d be willing to bet that there are many others who shared similar moments on their playgrounds. I’m convinced there are moments in games like STQ that contribute to boys becoming good men and to men becoming good fathers. The lessons learned and the moments shared, during games like STQ, taught us things about the world and ourselves that can’t be found staring at pixels on a screen.
We owe it to America to preserve STQ and prevent an entire generation from turning into spineless, pale, mutant thumbed video game playing pansies that resemble a cross between ESPN’s John Clayton and the Morlocks from The Time Machine by H.G. Wells.
Get off your ass and reclaim our place as the most productive, innovative, no B.S. country history has ever known. Next time you run into somebody you haven’t seen for awhile, shake his hand, check his thumbs, and ask yourself what he'd do with the ball or if he’s ever played the game. If you can’t figure it out, smear at will. Save America by smearing the ones you love and if you happen to visit a friend’s home and he’s in a video game induced trance, do him a favor, yell “Smear The Queer.” Then rip the Xbox out of the wall before sticking it under your arm and running like hell out the door and down the street.
I'll tell you what, after writing this article, I would like to start a non-profit to promote STQ. The first thing I'm going to do is start a list of people that I believe never played the game. I'd love your help.
Never Played STQ
1) Bernie Madoff
2) John Ashcroft