Friday, 8 January 2010

BTP 1: Saying "I Do" to a Small Blue Hedgehog.

Welcome one and all to the first edition of "Beside The Point", my own little slice of madness amongst what is all ready Stuff and Nonsense. Todays sermon (and it is a sermon) is a cautionary tale of love and prejudice in an increasingly digital world as told by one who knows what it is to love all to well. So sit back, shut up and enjoy the very first in a series of live damaging experiences.

Children often think of their parents as being a little conservative and boring but I'll never forget the look on my father's face the day I returned home from university and introduced my blue significant other. It was a look of barley contained anger and disappointment that I had returned home with a partner who we both knew would not meet with my his approval. I was a little ashamed when I realized how much of a barrier the fact my partner was male, blue and existed solely on a Mega Drive cart would prove to be to both myself and my family.

Sadly this barrier proved to be too much for Sonic and me and we have since parted ways, romantically speaking, but we still meet up occasionally in the Green Hill Zone and talk about old times.

Now you may think this the end of my tale but recent events have given new hope to "Char Lovers" everywhere with news of the first marriage between a person and a video game character. Sal9000 (No record of whether this is his given name) has apparently set a world first by wedding his girlfriend who he first met in the DS game Love Plus. Nene Anegasaki, the blushing bride, may raise a few less eyebrows on paper then a small blue hedgehog and by all accounts she's a very nice girl but there are still those die-hard conservatives out there who will be quick to point out she's a video game character!
Nene Anegasaki -Hot or Not?

Being serious for a moment here, the marriage itself is not legally binding and Sal claims to fully understand that he can not truly be wed to his bride. According to CNN Sal says: "I love this character, not a machine, I understand 100 percent that this is a game. I understand very well that I cannot marry her physically or legally." Yet this has still thrown up all sorts of questions of internet addiction, social backwardness and the changing nature of our culture. The whole episode reminds me of a documentary I caught during my studies about mechanical sex aids and the glorious term Bot F*cking. The question that was raised then as it is now was whether machines can replace our need for companionship and equally Should they?

Sure Sal is not doing harm to anyone, other then himself perhaps, but he has also said that with Nene he dose not feel the need for a real girl friend. And this is what I think is the crux of the problem here, Sal is missing out on the company of a real person with real feelings. I'm not a conservative man and I spend enormous amounts of my time defending video games as harmless fun but when the barrier between reality and fantasy breaks down there are some very real problems. I understand that Sal loves Nene's personality but it's akin to falling for a TV soap personality or Davina Mccall*, they aren't real, as soon as they are off stage or the power runs out they don't exist.

The point I think we all need to take from this is that Social Relationships are important. Games are supposed to entertain us and entertainment is essentially an escapism, it can be all too easy to become addicted to a fantasy world where we feel empowered by our ability to influence the world around us. The world may be a scary place at times but to become too detached from the people around is a tragedy most people don't see coming.

Now stop reading this and go hug someone.


*Davina Mccall is real and not a robot as has been implied.


About the Author

Drew was born in London in 1973 and later 1990. He was uneducated in Norwich and now works as a typist for right-wing magazines.

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