If you’re in college, you are most likely surrounded by attractive members of the opposite sex right now. If you’re reading this website, you are most likely a nerd and they want nothing to do with you. See, college is the time for attractive people to major in easy non-subjects – predominantly in the arts – that make them sound deep and unapproachable. So, how do you bed this seemingly impossible lay, using only subjects familiar to you, the internet frequenter? Well, start with video games. That’s right! Video games can appeal to the art crowd as well…you just have to know how to frame it.
The Three R’s Test
See, there’s an easy system for determining the viability of art crowd conversation material, and it’s called the “Three R’s Test:” You have to ask yourself, when broaching a new subject, is it about Rape, Retards, or Regret?
If it involves all three, it’s definitely art. Nothing encompasses Rape, Retards and Regrets simultaneously that is not art scene gold. If it’s only about one of the three, check carefully: It could be comedy. Comedy is never art, and laughter is irrelevant. If it involves two out of three, you probably have a suitable subject on your hands. Check to see if it’s in a foreign language – that’s a good first sign, and cause for further investigation. Watch for other indicators: Are there naked men crying? Can you hear flutes? Has anybody spoken backwards? Are there midgets? Are they sad? Is there excessive nudity? Is it intensely unappealing? Any of these aspects may indicate a safe topic of conversation.
That’s not just naked – that’s art naked.
If you stick within these guidelines, it’s perfectly acceptable – in some cases even preferable – to talk about video games at the trendiest of gallery openings. And now that you understand the process, all you need are a few examples to get you started. Lead off with these:
Bioshock is a solid first choice, although you should avoid mentioning its literary roots in Ayn Rand based Objectivism – that became too mainstream for the art crowd decades ago. Instead, focus on the Little Sisters and the morally ambiguous path you are forced to take. If this shifts you away from the Three R’s test too far for comfort, try to draw a direct comparison between the Big Brothers and mental retardation. Insist that there is a Frankenstein/Of Mice and Men dynamic, whereby the mentally impaired giant ‘monster’ is inextricably bonded to ‘the innocent.’ Eventually suggest that by being forced to kill the well-meaning, but dim-witted Big Brothers without a second thought, it is implied that our self-indulgent society and capitalist imperatives are “the real monsters.”
Bioshock: The story of noble, mentally challenged miners striving for respect…and the guy that murders them for fun (that’s you.)
Braid not only has the benefit of being new, but also quite controversial. I would leave out the fact that the controversy is about price – much less that the dispute is over five dollars – just mention the controversy and wave your hand at all further questions as though it is too much to delve into at the moment. Braid presents surrealistic landscapes, bizarre time mechanics and some seriously heavy-handed writing: In other words, it’s perfect for the pretentious art major. More importantly, it is entirely about regret – regret for past decisions, regret for missed opportunities, regret for love lost – and violent obsession. The rape segue is easy from here. A good approach angle is to compare and contrast Braid with its source material: Super Mario Bros. Argue that Braid is presenting Mario himself as a stalker/rapist character, hunting the ‘Princess Archetype’ relentlessly from castle to castle. If they’re not buying it, try pointing to his tendency to harm small animals as the standard warning sign of a sociopath.
Can you feel the ennui in this picture? If you can, you’re doing ennui wrong.
For art scene fodder, Ico is your best bet. Your character speaks mostly in yelps and grunts, (which is close enough to retarded,) and the themes of isolation and loneliness nicely evoke a sense of regret throughout. Plus, the only other dialogue is a fictional language of Icelandic basis – just like Sigur Ros! There are also signs of metaphorical rape present: The boy always leads the princess around by the hand, she is incapable of functioning without him, he commands her and dictates their path, and so on. It may be a little advanced to attempt this tack, but if you can pull it off, it’s like artfag Spanish Fly. This would be the prime opportunity to throw out your big guns – mention something about the “stifling patriarchy,” quickly simulate tears of frustration, and then excuse yourself outside to smoke – you’ll be ascot deep in Grad student poon before you can say “Dancer in the Dark.”
How much rape you see in this picture directly correlates to how useless your college degree is.
Feel free to experiment with your own examples, and remember: If at any point you’re called out on your bullshit, simply wave your hand dismissingly and scoff; the implication that somebody just doesn’t get it is like getting served in the art world.