Games reflect their era: true. Eighties games reflected the 80s: well, yes. Is there anything we can learn about how games reflect an era's attitudes towards masculinity? Given that the most recent Aliens game features not a Colonial Marine but Ripley's daughter, sure.
This article, however, is . . . what's the word? Problematic. The Reagan-era game protagonist, says the author, "are distinguishable predominantly by their physical appearance and by what actions the player can make them do. These characters are muscled, weapon-toting men on the side of justice who defeat countless swarms of clearly delineated bad guys. The game demands that the player beat all these bad guys, or else lose all their health and receive a game over. The necessarily simplistic action allows for a clear binary between good and bad, much the same way that the simple thrills of their film inspirations do." So . . . we're stating the obvious as an insight now? That's okay; been guilty myself. He adds that the side-scrollers feature "exterior threats, mercenaries, special government military units, and the catastrophic potential of powerful weaponry—all common trends in '80s action films."
And it's different now? Apparently. The Reagan-era ways of Manhood had curdled by the 90s, he suggests, and this is the result:
Doom has been hailed so consistently since its release in 1993 that it has been accepted into the Library of Congress for preservation as an important cultural artifact. Doom places the player into the shoes of an unnamed space marine, affectionately referred to by fans as “Doomguy,” and has you face off against hordes of hellspawn. This is, essentially, the plot. Doom manifests the '90s masculine frustration by way of its nihilism. It is kill or be killed in the Doom universe—no moral high ground, no identity to speak of (aside from the player's), no agenda to push. The demons are at the wrong end of the gun, delineated as evil by the fact that they want you dead. Their inhumanity absolves them of the sort of politics one sees in a Rambo film, in which humans kill humans. Doom sheds the already nuance-light '80s masculine ethics and replaces it with an even simpler outlook—just shoot and keep moving. It is a demonstration of the frustrated '90s man.
I think they're delineated as evil by the fact that they are from hell. You have a goal: stop them from coming through the portal and kill everything to appease the dark gods. What made it different from the run-and-gun games of the 80s was the perspective of the player, not the amount of carnage or the nature of the enemy.
Elsewhere in modern manhood: This is priceless.
It’s hard to believe a 30-year-old bartender who lives alone and is addicted to Netflix and Playstation smokes pot but hey, it’s the life that chose me. So, when my editor asked if I’d like to “test” a batch of Pot-O-Coffee (we see what you did there), I decided to replace my regular intake of K-Cups with their weed-infused version.
What follows is a prime example of an under-employed and intellectually inert pothead wandering through the day with an attitude that's either happy or dopey, depending on your interpretation. He found a dog!!! Oh it was someone else's. Hey, time for another K-cup - eh, never mind, still pretty high. And so on.