Maybe Uwe Boll Is Right
Thanks to wickedly wonderful white magic of Netflix on demand movies and my Roku box, I finally had a chance this weekend to watch Uwe Boll’s satirical masterpiece, Postal.
I’ll propobably have my game cred plucked forever from my wallet by angry entertainment cops, but I liked the movie. Yes it was dumb. Yes it was offensive. And yes, sometimes it just kind of meandered. But this is par for the course for most gonzo flicks. They try so hard that it’s almost impossible for them to work on all levels all the time.
So, while the movie won’t likely go down on my list of all time favorites, I thought it was a lot better than I expected it to be and at times was truly funny and biting.
Why did I think I would hate it?
Like most game players, I only know about the controversy surrounding Boll rather than have taken the time to actually experience Boll for myself. I know that he makes bad movies about videogames. I know this because I read about it on the Internet. And since I love videogames I am supposed to hate Boll.
What struck me the most after chuckling through his oddball satire and below-the-belt laff factory was that maybe gamers hate Boll not because he screws up videogames but because Boll understands videogames all too well.
Whenever the game community decides to mash up the art discussion with the game discussion, we end up talking about the Citizen Kane of games, we point to obscure and moving moments in JRPGs that most people have never heard of and keep talking about Katamari Damacy and No More Heroes as if these games share a tenth of percent of mainstream of game DNA. And then we have our indies, our precious garage-game builders who apparently have been given the role of aesthetic guardians of the entire industry.
But for most of the world and, frankly, most game players outside the hardcore, videogames are testosterone-driven joy fests hinged on shooting straight and driving fast. Maybe Postal was absurd, violent and unintentionally surreal, then again, so was Gears of War.
Really, Boll’s Postal is a mirror that reflects what games are rather than what they could be.
I’m not high-minded about this. I like blowing stuff up as much as the next guy. Games can wallow gloriously in the dumb fun that Boll sees in them as much as they want. I liked Postal for the same reasons that I actually had fun playing Onechanbara. But if we let bikini-clad zombie-slayers have the final word on fun, then maybe we don’t deserve a vision of the medium any less twisted than the one Boll has immortalized.