The Game Overthinker thread over on the BBS has been dead for nearly a year and a half now, but I just feel like I need to say something about this one, especially since my last news post was over a year before the last post in the Overthinker thread. Now, I read Moviebob's Twitter on a semi-regular basis ( http://twitter.com/the_moviebob ), so I do get a few of his thoughts for the Game Overthinker ahead of time, same with Escape to the Movies, same with The Big Picture, but I don't necessarily know if a given tweet is going on any show at all. So I'd seen how he'd reacted to news contained in this episode ahead of time. Also, since I read his feed, I also had a general idea how he'd respond to the topic at hand even without specific references.
This episode was hosted by Police Commissioner John Buonifacio, nicknamed "Bunnyface". Having the show hosted by an adorable rabbit is a rather fun thing, though as is common the non-villainous supporting characters, he, too, is largely a mouthpiece for Moviebob's opinions, with occasional jokes related to the character. In this case, the voice is gruffer, befitting a stereotypical police chief, and the jokes relate to the fact that the guest host is, well, an adorable little bunny. The characters being mouthpieces for the creator's opinion in this case isn't a problem for me, since the show began as, or if we're counting the retool and channel hops as different series it at least continues from, an entirely opinion-based "rant show" of sorts with no ongoing storyline. I gotta say, part of me really wanted to pet the bunny throughout much of the episode. It helps that my brother had a pet rabbit for a few years when I was in high school, and I really did like to pet Peekaboo. Not as much as I liked the dog Riley that my family had when my age was in the single-digits, but still. I know that the Commissioner is supposed to be a serious police chief, but come on, that's the joke: cute little bunny is a battle-hardened police officer.
As for why Commissioner Buonifacio is hosting the show this time? Because on April 6 of AD 2014, a rather shocking moment happened at Wrestlemania XXX. The Undertaker, whose Wrestlemania record had previously been 21 wins and 0 losses, lost his match to Brock Lesnar. I mean, we've all heard about it by this point, but it had the Game Overthinker character (as well as the Retrothinker) in a shocked state for a month. See, this is what I wanted to comment on first, the moment I knew that I couldn't go without getting these thoughts out. It had to end eventually, Undertaker was getting up there in age, and I haven't watched that much wrestling in years... But back when I watched Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown every single week, 2005, 2006, into 2007, the Undertaker was my all-time favorite wrestler. Even my Newgrounds account name shows a hint of that influence on me: Soulmaster was originally a character that I made up, so named because I just thought Undertaker and his kayfabe "half-brother" Kane were the awesomest things ever, and their gimmicks were about death and demons and zombies and Hell and stuff so that was totally awesome to me. What's more, my introduction to the wonders of World Wrestling Entertainment came in a magazine that my uncle, may he rest in peace, dropped on my lap while parts of the extended family were on vacation together. A magazine detailing Wrestlemania XX, the Wrestlemania where Undertaker came back from an absence of some kind (and brought back the supernaturally-influenced "Deadman" version of his character to replace the more realistic biker gimmick he'd used for a time before that) to defeat Kane, and where Brock Lesnar battled Goldberg in both of their final match with the company at the time, a match that's been described as less Lesnar vs. Goldberg and more like Lesnar and Golberg vs. special guest referee Stone Cold Steve Austin and the fans. To me, that's my vision of Lesnar: a legitimate athletic talent who cared less about WWE and more about trying to get into the NFL. I understand that he's a legit athletic talent, NCAA champion, UFC champion, and that Undertaker could have chosen his own path from there (to lose to anyone else, to win and wait another year and put his aging body on the line again, or to just go out on top and always have the fans begging him for one more match) and he chose to give Lesnar the ultimate push, but it still came as a shock to me when I heard about it from my brother who has WWE Network on his laptop. Again, I haven't watched wrestling anything near regularly in years. I looked back in October 2013 to find that TV-PG had eliminated the vast majority of the stuff I liked (granted, I was having some psychological troubles at the time), I think I've looked back a few times before then and always drifted away, but I'll always have the fond memories of the Undertaker poster that I had on my bedroom wall for about half of high school, and of tuning in every Monday and every Friday to watch men in tights groping one another and somehow still having straight male fans. If it had happened at the time, if someone I neither knew nor really cared about as a performer had pinned Undertaker clean at Wrestlemania, I'll be honest, I might very well have cried. I might have gone to my room crying, or if I heard about it at school I might have ran crying to the men's room and locked myself in a stall, and I might not have come out for a long, long while. And it would be even worse for people a decade or so older than me. Moviebob, the Game Overthinker, wrote on his Twitter that he was in a bar when it happened and grown men around him were putting tears in their beers. The name was censored to avoid spoiling the event, but it was obvious he was talking about Undertaker. Because he was in elementary school when Undertaker started, and he'd been watching then. For me, I'd never been conscious in a world where Undertaker wasn't in the WWE (or WWF, once upon a time before animal rights activists fucked it over and it had to get the F out), and I only started watching wrestling at the ass end of middle school. Anyway, it's an understandable reason for a character to be upset, especially in a show like the Adventures of the Game Overthinker where the storyline bits are largely comedic.
Now that I'm done reminiscing about my WWE fanboy days before I discovered Newgrounds, let's talk about the actual meat of this episode! This episode is about the recent news that women comprise roughly half of all gamers. See, this is the other reason I wanted to cover this episode specifically and not any others. See, I know I've been an asshole about the idea that a "female creature" (to copy a phrase from a short film from the early 1990s, the title of which I'm not allowed to say, but which can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ncwCETyQlk ) could ever play anything like what I view as a proper video game. Even now, as I sort of get back into video games again, I highly doubt that what I consider normal women, or even normal people in general, could ever find themselves as absorbed in the sorts of games I enjoy as I do. Yes, falling out of love with gaming for some reason and then returning when that reason is solved IS the story of my life. Anyway, I've been an ass about women, about the types of games that women stereotypically enjoy (which I will still say are NOT the kinds of games I like), about the sorts of devices that women stereotypically play them on, and just about anyone that's not an adolescent-minded heterosexual cisgender male being considered a "gamer" in the sense that I consider myself a gamer. But, well, Moviebob's work is a major influence on my own cultural outlook and has been since roughly 2009, whether or not I personally agree with everything he may say (and if you examined his Twitter, his small handful of American Bob political videos, and other things he's written and said, you'd find a number of things I disagree with), and over time he's convinced me of a number of things. Including things like LGBT rights and feminism, but especially the need for us to diversify in gaming. Consoles aren't dead or obsolete yet, but they're certainly aging, and like Undertaker they'll eventually need to take a dive and let someone else steal the show. If the existing "hardcore" community, the ones that I'd have called "gamers" back in 2009 and 2010, moves to smartphones or tablets or whatever, the games we like will survive in some form, though they may be a little different than we know them. If we don't move forward, our games and our genres and our playstyles will no longer be profitable. But to move forward to a new experience, we have to move forward socially: yelling homophobic slurs, racism, and sexual threats from your mancave is bad, and it's not punished so it can persist, but try doing that during a game if you're playing on an iPad at a restaurant and the waiter will spit in your food and you deserve it. Extra Credits did an episode once about the need to accept smartphone and tablet gaming, and everyone who talks about game culture, including Moviebob, has mentioned the need to get away from the misbehavior that allows so much of the popular culture to dismiss us all as that asshole yelling gay slurs. I've seen the light, and I feel it's time for me to apologize for being a douchebag about diversity of all sorts. I still don't like social games, because I'm not a very social person and I hate my real identity enough that I'd rather be SoulMaster71, the idiot who crusaded against spammers on Newgrounds back when there were still spammers on Newgrounds and now regrets it, or LordPentium, the weirdo who does loli tentacle hentai in a roleplay on IRC somewhere, than the despicable creature that I am in the material world which the Facebook-connected world of social games would force me to be even in the activity I use to escape that utterly abhorrent individual. I still prefer a long RPG that I can get lost in for the next 100 hours to the kinds of games generally played on cell phones, but that's a matter of personal preferences and distase, not about sexism anymore. I'm not sure if the move forward will be better for me as a heterosexual cisgender white male with no obvious physical disabilities, but it'll be better or me as a gamer, and maybe that's the better of the two: the community I chose to be part of, instead of just what I was born as. Maybe not the more important identity in a material sense, but in a better world it would be. In a better world it WILL be. Everyone just needs to fight against our worst impulses, born to our more primitive ancestors when child mortality imposed much stricter limits on population and so every fertile female of childbearing age was needed at their most reproductive just to break even and every man was needed to hunt for animals, and when the racial "other" was truly more likely to be an enemy to be feared than just another person walking the streets.
I know this sounds like hypocritical horseshit coming from someone who used to be racist, sexist, heterosexist, cissexist, and all the other little -ists of bigotry, and who by some definitions of those terms still has those impulses. Maybe it is. I've always been a bit of an asshole, I'll admit. But what kind of asshole has changed over time. Asking me not to be an asshole is unlikely, I am only human after all and every human has "asshole" in the back of our mind because that was necessary to survive and reproduce under premodern conditions, but at least I can attempt to minimize total asshole-ness and spread my behavior as a jerk around evenly. The great thing about being human is that, unlike a cat or a bear or a snake, I can at least have a potential chance for a rational override for my worst instincts. And perhaps the infamous misogynistic segments of gamer culture need to do just that, because we're overrun now, and survival requires us to adapt culturally, in a rational, open-minded way, to the new circumstance. It ain't gonna be long before women are getting big-budget games of some kind too, and we need to have changed by then.
Also, my sincerest condolences to Commissioner Buonifacio for his discovery of the Hell that is 4chan. It really says something about the Commissioner that the Streak breaking could keep Overthinker and Retrothinker in a trance for a month but the Commissioner was able to come back into work after looking at the cesspit.