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Saturday, October 31, 2009

ZEN AND THE ART OF GAMING: HOW GUNS, BLOOD AND ACTION CLEAR MY CREATIVE CHANNELS

 


I love video games.  I started PC gaming ten years ago.  I was a broke-ass writer and couldn't afford to buy them, so I would download free demos and play them over and over again.  My first title was an obscure 3rd-person alien game called Evolva.  I soon worked my way up to Unreal Tournament and I was hooked.  It was the biggest rush I had experienced since I gave up drugs years before. 

I still game on my PC.  I'm a purist.  My kid has an X-box 360 and a Wii, but they're not the same for me.  Something much more intimate and interactive about a PC.  Keyboard and mouse movement is so second nature to me and having the images inches from my face with surround sound -- it's just fucking awesome.  I go there.  I AM the warrior, I AM the killer, I AM the hero.  Kurt disappears.  It's an escape like no other.  TV, movies, music -- great distractions, but passive.  Gaming is active.  You don't watch the story, you ARE the story.  Those are the games I love.  Strategic action.  Games that make you think -- actively.  I don't like straight up strategy games or straight up shooters.  Too passive and too arcade like -- I become completely aware that I am playing a game and I get bored.  I need good story, good character and good action. Max Payne, Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six, XIII, Fear, these games are incredible.  Interesting and complex storylines, three-dimensional characters, and kick-ass action.  They demand that you think on your feet-- life and death.  And of course, you kill a lot of shit with big guns.  I do not own guns, nor am I an active gun-enthusiast, but inside a great game, I'm a strapping, gun-toting, blow-your-motherfucking-head-off bad-ass.  I love it.  It allows me to be everything I am not. 

I'm not into RPG’s or MMORPG’s.  It's not a good fit for my personality.  I'm a bit obsessive and the all-inclusive nature of those games scare me.  And I fucking hate wizards and fairies and knights and all that Dungeons and Dragons bullshit (sorry WOW lovers).  Plus online gaming is counter-intuitive for me.  It’s not about reaching out and connecting.  I don’t like “real” people, why would I want “virtual” friends.  Which brings me to the Zen part of the essay -- for me, gaming is not a hobby; it’s a writing meditation tool.  An imagination enema.  A good game will blow out the creative cobwebs and unclog my same-old-shit valves.  It wakes me the fuck up and centers me, delivering me to my bloody, dark, chewy center.  It’s another reason why I game on a PC.  I’ll write till I’m burned out, game for twenty or thirty minutes, get completely adrenalized and refreshed, then jump back into the script.  It’s better than coffee and a blowjob (mainly because the latter usually makes me sleepy and hurts my neck).

I've recently tweeted about how I think most of the really creative young talent is ending up in the gaming world and I'll post a separate blog about how and why I think that is true.  Wanna do a bit of research before I shoot my mouth off about that.  D-girls I can handle, gaming chicks would kick my fucking ass. 

45 comments:

WI_Debi said...

What's with the smoking bunnies?
You're kind of a sick fu@k ain't ya? ;)~

I'm glad you have something that helps you clear the cobwebs, benefits us all doesn't it?

I feel sorry for Otto, first his 'good' eye and now LeeAnn. Hope he gets some payback, he deserves to get in a couple shots.

Hope you all had a great Halloween.

ant159 said...

ur neck hurts cause of the blowjob..lmao.that is hilarious..

Mooona said...

hmmm...it's strange how much I look forward to reading your blog. It must me the insight you give me about how men think.

Reading you and your thoughts gives me new fuel for MY male characters.

Inspiration...found in the funnest places!

Keep on keeping on!

Mr. Moderate said...

Want to try something totally different? Play the Lego games with your kid. Lego Indiana Jones, Lego Batman, Lego star Wars. Great fun, decent stories, and the kids love them. Heck, I found them more fun than Fallout 3 and Far Cry 2 on teh PC.

Bonnie said...

Kurt's guilty pleasure = PC Gaming, Blood, Guts & Guns

Bonnie's guilty pleasure = Riding my Harley & Cruisin in my Stang

It's all about the RUSH, the Escape and the Release..

Game on!

aliensexist4 said...

Have you tried BioShock on the PC? It has the single best storyline I've ever experienced through any medium. Check it out if you get the chance. Great game stories were hard to come by until the past couple of years. Oh and SAMCRO rocks! Thanks for making the show your own, man. Cable always better than network (except Chuck, LOST, & Supernatural)

CaptnKhaos said...

Kurt, its nice to hear of a TV industry that can recognize storytelling and creativity in the video game industry. If you are on Steam, I can introduce you to a few developers I play with.

chris_g said...

You've got No One Lives Forever! Good man! I couldn't see Deus Ex or Mafia on your shelf. If you don't have them you gotta play them, best game storylines ever.

holymotherofgod said...

I played my first FPS playing Counterstrike a few yrs ago. I fucking loved it. Suck at it, I confess. But I do like the online games, because being a girl in MMORPGs can be an edge - you get ALL sorts of help when you pop into team speak or vent and have an alto voice =) Not to get too nerdy here, but I did try out a few other MMORPGs and kind of dug the whole "online society" that occurs. I like that you can be whoever you wish with other people. Your daytime identity is a non issue; it's inconsequential- which is cool. I didn't play but WATCHED someone play and beat Hitman (not online, just the PC version) The game itself totally amazed me. The whole concept of being a killer, slaying people with piano wire and assuming their identity completely thrilled me LOL (hello mr. therapist? Yeah it's me again...!!) Nice to hear that other people dig that stuff too

WI_Debi said...

Blowing off Sunday watching movies and began to wonder...Have you ever considered writing a movie and if so, what would the subject matter be?

Would ya mind opening your head for a few minutes? I wanna see how it works :)

john marzan said...

i hate playing action games on a PC. if you want to truly enjoy hack and slash games button mashing games, you can only find em on the ps3 or XBOX.

Kimmy said...

We are one step away from the Matrix. Our virtual self allows us to be someone else, and to me that's better than focusing on the fuck ups of this world!

GB, RN said...

I played Still Life a long time ago and enjoyed it up until the end when the killer was never revealed, and a satisfying sequel never materialized. Fuckers.

I'm currently one of those WoW chicks, but I doubt I could kick your ass. Maybe.

I like that it is as far removed from what I do IRL. Many of my colleagues play for the same reasons I do. It's fun, it's a good release. Besides, I go at it at my pace, my control. Anything else just makes me jumpy and defeats the purpose of gaming (to me).

Pointman said...

Games are a great alternate universe to give the active mind a rest from reality.
My favorite game was a very basic one called, "Full Throttle"
Enjoy the ride, and thanks for the thoughts and perspective.

SP in PHX said...

It was insisted I post my blogID. Sorry I hadn't

Infektid said...

What FPS games are you playing currently Kurt?

Anonymous said...

Kurt -
Love your writing! SOA is my FAVORITE, Must-watch or I-will- kill-somebody show!!
When is it getting renewed? Why haven't it been announced yet?
I'm dying!!

Hope the Emmy do not ignore the show again. This season has been superb! Writing, acting - it's a complete package.

Anonymous said...

Czech fanweb about Sons of Anarchy:
http://soa.ura.cz/

Even in the Czech Republic has a SoA viewers and fans.

Denise said...

Vote for SoA!!

http://television.aol.com/feature/fall_tv/primetime-favorites-poll

nicolep1027 said...

Just wanted to let everyone know....E news online will be featuring a story on SOA this morning. Keep your eyes peeled for it!

Anonymous said...

hey kurt,

try bioshock, dead space, fallout 3...

and i will watch SAMCRO ;)

@volalupi said...

Totally unrelated to gaming but I wanted to make sure everyone saw this...

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jPiiLuRcsjkctvQUoh6QTkk_hRigD9BO5PG80

great interview with Adam Arkin :)

Brian B said...

Hey Kurt,
Im not sure if Assasin's Creed is on PC or not, but thats a game to be played. It a platformer with excellent story, and it lets you fucking shank people. Im not sure if its just the nature of the beast or excellent gameplay, but theres nothing more gratifing to me then planning, then executing the assasination in that game. But the story is excellent in that game I highly recommend it. The sequel comes out on the 17th. Thanks for keeping it real man, i love hearing your insight.

Brandons Blog said...

Any chance you could tell us where you got those badass bunny type things? those things look amazing

therealzenobia said...

Thanks, volalupi. You know, I was really appreciating Zoebelle's being played by a Jewish actor, till I realized I didn't know why I thought Arkin was Jewish. Still don't know why I thought that; but the story just reinforces my appreciation for Sutter's casting choices. Two brown-eyed, black-haired Aryans (in philosophy if not in name). Now: Is Zoebelle truly pro-white, or is it a posture like all of his other professed beliefs?

Lisa said...

Mr. SUTTER,
IM A SINGLE MOM RAISING 2BOYS THE DAILY ROUTINE IS TALKING ON THEIR LEVEL ALONG WITH HOMEWORK.I LOOK FORWARD TO TUESDAY NIGHT WHEN I CAN WATCH A SHOW THAT IT CANT FIGURE OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.LET YOU FRIEND YOU MET AT STARBUCKS THE OTHER DAY KNOW THAT WE CAN FIGURE OUT WHAT HAPPENS ON THOSE SO CALLED POPULAR SHOWS. MAYBE SHE CAN BECOME A INTERN FOR FX OR YOU.PLEASE STAY THE BEST WRITER AND CREATOR YOU ARE AND MAYBE TIME WILL CHANGE IN YOUR INDUSTRY.

Jeff said...

For anybody who cares about reviews, The Onion, Noel Murray, has a great review on Fa Guan. Pretty much sums up things. It's starting to sound cliche but last night's episode was brilliant.

Mungrel said...

I've been thinking for a while that SOA would make a great video game. Maybe base the story around a different charter, add guns, bikes and a few appearances from the guys in Charming and that would be a game I would never get bored of :D. Loving season two, Fa Guan blew me away cant wait for next week.

cheryl said...

darby better rise from the ashes is all i can say!!!! shame no smilies here cos i would be steamin

Julie said...

I cannot possibly love your show more. I'm hooked. I have an odd fascination with Kim Coates though...he scares me in a "I need a cigarette afterwards" kind of way. LOL If he's single, send him to my blog, will ya? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

So, I live on the west coast but work for an NYC based firm so my day starts at 4:00. I cant stay up and watch SOA at 10 on Tue. Much too late.

Ergo, Im a HULU guy catching up 8 days later. I watched Potlatch today. The opening credits come at ~9:00 minutes in? Very cool, like a movie from 1968....

Bo Sun said...

WOW, that is quite the collection. Although, from what I can make out, there are a few stinkers, namely Darkest of Days, TimeShift, Bet on Soldier, CatWoman, and The Matrix. However I suppose since I also see Rogue Spear, Ghost Recon: Gold Edition (hell yes), C&C: Renegade, and System Shock 2 (but no Deus Ex?), all is to be forgiven.

It's interesting how you mention a lot of creativity is being poured and shown from games biz, at least compared with the rest of the entertainment industry. Being a long-standing PC Gamer purist as well, I feel the trend has actually been going the opposite direction in the last 5 years or so, except for innovations (mostly every so often here and there. What happened to avant-garde milestones such as R6/Rogue Spear, Ghost Recon, Half Life, Quakes, Wolfenstein/RTCW, Deus Ex, and the ilk for the PC?

Nowadays, if you're even lucky to see the game released on PC, a lot of the times it feels like the gameplay has either a "been there, done that" feeling or, worse yet, been dumbed-down so much your cat could probably beat it. R63, GRAW, Deus Ex 2, Medal of Honor, and yes even Call of Duty, all these franchises have been crippled by appealing to the lowest common denominator, console-itis, whatever you want to call it, with each passing release. I think my most recent disappointment was Wolfenstein, which even if it tried to hide it really well, felt way too much like a COD rehash. I suppose my point is while graphics has grown by leaps and bounds, innovative gameplay (especially in AAA titles) has actually been on the downswing.

However, if what you mean by creativity in games is the story, the characterization, and the narrative, then on that note I do agree with you that they have become much more mature and complex than in the past (just look at GTA1->GTA4). Altho I reckon it could be the interactive nature of gaming itself that has managed to attract such innovative writing and story-telling, as opposed to the creative black-hole (with a few exceptions, such as yourself of course) that is the TV/Movie industry.

Apologies for the long-winded post, but just thought I'd throw in my comments on this shared passion.

My gaming recommendation:

Batman: Arkham Asylum (really a labor of love by and for not just Batman fanatics but anyone who loves a mature, surprisingly twisted plot. It makes you FEEL like Batman.)

Brujah said...

oddly enough your game collection looks alot like mine:/

Shelly said...

Finally! A series with a powerful cast & great creator. My entire office staff views weekly and the baby of the group is mad/love for Hunnam, where could we get her a signed photo of him?

Can you tell us what happened to the EX of character Jax? last season she threatened Tara & she vanished this season.

fairwitness said...

I'm a greybeard who has seen the best and worst that TV has had to offer over the last 50 years, and I thought that television for grownups had been relegated to "pay" cable, then along comes SOA. Thank you Mr Sutter for giving me a reason to stay up on Tuesday nights.

tonilost said...

Is the Titus that you mentioned on twatter Christopher Titus? I hope so, that show he had on Fox was so good, under rated, under promoted as all of their shows are, and cut too soon.

M said...

So does this mean there's a SAMCRO game down the road? Because I would play the fuck out of that.

The Topiary Cow said...

Hah, still laughing about the 130-pounder and you!

(making a mental note that "did we used to date?" is the BEST comeback ever)

mikonos said...

Doom killed our company productivity for 2 month back in 94. Also a game called "Fulled Throttle" where you were a biker working through a series of challenges, riding around, finding clues in wierd places (e.g. junkyards, dealing with strange characters)...awesome. How about an SOA Game?

Joker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ricardo Vieira said...

Mr. Sutter, I am a brazilian fan of your work since The Shield, and i am fucking lovin SOA, the show kicks some serious ass (I own the first season, and I am waiting for the release of second... God, cannot wait!).
Anyway, I couldn't help myself but writing your ass a comment, 'cause your blog is awesome. The Twitter is quite cool also; but this blog is the Big Enchillada of rantings!
Dude, all the best for you and your family, hope someday we could bump into each other in this big world; come to Brazil anytime, ok? I am having a beer on your honor, sir.
See you!

susanshearer said...

Hi Kurt,
Now I understand the connection with The Unforgettable. I look forward to all of your projects getting to the big screen. I can trust your writing and directing is going to take me on a journey that won’t let me down.
p.s. Bet my son can whip your ass on video games!

セフレ said...

セフレ掲示板で大人の恋愛をしてみませんか?割り切ったセフレと快楽のみを求めた恋愛をしてくださいませ

Captain said...

Kurt, most excellent labbit collection! Lets tell get Paul Bunditz to make a SAMCRO one. Have any other kidrobot toys?

Anonymous said...

Yeah where's Deus Ex best video game storyline ever.