The Depths of Douchebaggery

Check this out folks:

The Bags Arcade Experience

The Bags Arcade Experience

Do you see what I see?  Look again; look three times!

I was in Ed Debevic’s a few weeks ago and stumbled upon this disgrace of humanity: A stand-up arcade machine simulating the game of bags.  I use the word “game” loosely.  In an age where classic arcades are dusting away into nothingness, I was shocked to find a new machine, then punched in the face with this new machine’s subject matter.

For those of you unfamiliar with “bags”, the game is a college-town phenomena whereby you throw bean bags into holes.  We’ve all played this game at family gatherings at one time or another, and it’s surely safer than lawn jarts, but the college fratties a few years ago side-armed this game for their own drunken devices.   In the college town I live in, you could not drive a block without seeing a great sea of bags boards and douchebags standing outside with beers, acting older than they were, girls nowhere in sight (except those fugly ones that can’t help but hang out with boys n’ beer), and trying very hard to be “the best” bags game on the block.  The game was sort of designed as a means to socialize – something to do when you are drinking with friends.  It sounds somewhat like a fine idea as some sort of activity instead of just standing around, but in practice (thank you anthropology), socialization rarely happens except with good friends.  Instead, you find that classic suburban subtle conspicuous consumption.  You can actually show off your friends to the neighbors and your social prowess, thus intrinsic sexuality, by simply grilling some burgers, drinking beers, and standing on either sides of the sidewalk throwing bags.

Of course, no phenomenon goes untouched in capitalist world right?  The next year, local folks’ yards were covered in locally constructed bags boards and bags as a means to make a few bucks from the incoming second-rungers who needed quick bags boards before anyone else.  I have no idea how economically beneficial this act was.  I can only assume it did not work out as planned as we rarely see any of these yard sales anymore.  But then again, these folks who tried to make and sell the boards were just hopping on a fad – a really poorly thought out and ultimately shallow fad.  Besides, they missed the point: you were supposed to make your own boards.  Making a bags board is an easy thing – any amateur idiot with a hammer and five-minutes to spend at lowes can build a set.

So we come now back to the arcade machine.

I scream this: What the shit?.  Seriously? No, no, SERIOUSLY?  What undergrad with a business degree and a friend in computer science came up with this disaster?  I can’t believe this thing actually makes any money at all except from really young kids who don’t know any better or by sheer novelty.  Is this one of those “it’s so bad, I just have to play it once…” sort of games?  Needless to say, I did not play it.  I actually couldn’t even stand in front of it for more than about 20 seconds.  I had to send a friend of mine back in with my cellphone to take a quick pic of it since I couldn’t even look at it again.  I should point out that the machine looks like a modified Golden Tee game, which it probably is.

But have we come to this?  Here is my analysis of what this machine means:

1. We have now decided to video-game every aspect of reality.  I just used “video-game” as a transitive verb and I don’t know if that is cool or not.

2. We have run out of so many ideas that now even the simplest games in the history of the world need to be created just to keep game designers in business, mostly from novelty games like this one.  It’s a downward spiral – we play games, want new ones, but are so distracted by our current games that we are not getting the life experience necessary to construct a reason to make new games, thus down we go making games based on this limited perspective to be even more limited, furthering the limitations set by the original anti-precedent…. and so on.

3.  Douchebags are flourishing.  This “nerds are cool” phase in contemporary US society must end soon.  I believe that when we legitimize nerd-dom, the folks who are usually maintaining the social power in social circles cannot maintain their hold without a slight ‘give’ of credibility in nerdiness.  Essentially, in order to be socially superior or even equal, I must confess to some sort of secret geek thing I do, thus again setting that anti-precedent to damage that status-quo.  The more it gets damaged, the more we’ll keep seeing douchebags appear.  Guys, girls, get on up!

4. People still take the easy way out.  This was the best idea for an arcade game you had? Seriously?  Why not tag? Jarts? Horseshoes? Yo Gabba Gabba scream-singing? Putting your clothes on in the morning? Standing? Channel-surfing?  Staring Contest? Even Facebook games have more of a challenge than Bags.

Well anyway, this post was a bit ranty.  But I had to share this with someone.

========= UPDATE!=========

Dateline 12/31/09

I have received numerous emails from folks – some I know, some I don’t – informing me of other sightings of these horrendous machines all across the United States!  Happiness overtakes me with a knowledge that my eyes and mind are not alone in worrying about the state of the contemporary world, be it in art or otherwise.  People have been sending me images of these “games” as well.  I thought I would share one…

Bags at Fattys

This photo is of a bags machine at a bar.  Thanks to Hepcat for sending me the pic.  I enjoy waking up to pain when I check my email.

-slug

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