RUSSELL HICKS

Street Fighter II

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In defense of my previous rant on Ludditism, let me now praise several technological advancements. On the whole these are better, but notice they all come with an equal downside. 

Google Maps – as said previously, fantastic. I was lost for all of the 90’s. Literally, I just wandered around, an orphan, like Moses in the desert. Downside: we have lost the capacity for spacial awareness. Do you even know what street your on now? A fun activity to realize how useless you are is to use tangible maps whenever possible. If you are really bold, leave your phone at home. It’s fun. You start to learn where thigns are. You get to be one of those guys that can tell someone, ‘Yeah, hang a left on Wabash, then over to Main…’ though I have never understood people who talk in terms of East and West, ‘head East on Sycamore Rd…’ Like, how do you know which way is East? These people in my opinion are serial killers. 

Netflix – No company deserved it more than Block Buster Video. Man, if ever a gap in the market was created, that was it. Block Buster owned video selection as we knew it. They abused that power regularly and paid the price. Late fees, membership charges, they were the worst. Netflix side stepped all of that. Hooray for them. Now can I please have my own show? (you green light everything, surely you can throw a bone my way???)

Downside to Netflix: We don’t take a chance on things any longer. There was something about buying a video, based on the cover, then being stuck with it. Sometimes it sucked ass. Sometimes that experience is valuable. For more info on that see any club comic over thirty, they certainly have a bit about it I’m sure. 

Amazon: Love em or hate em, I feel the same way about Amazon as I do Starbucks: if capitalism enables corporation to be literally everywhere, owning nearly every piece of real estate in our lives, then they damn well better let me do what I want, when I want with their services. 

Starbucks lets you piss in the toilet without buying anything (at least they SHOULD – I know there was a controversey on this a few years back but as far as I know it is still the law of the land. At least it is to me. Listen Starbucks, if you insist on owning the globe than the least you can do is be my personal outhouse). 

Amazon deliver something to you just because you thought you might want to have it. 

Downside to Amazon: well, they are a monopoly. Also, Jeff Bezos has literally become Lex Luther. Look at him. Not to mention, he is desperate to go to space. Why you ask? My belief is because he wants to make sure Krypton truly was destroyed. So on that note, shop somewhere else. Balance it out. I know it’s hard. I ordered something from a local shop a month ago that still hasn’t arrived. When I got home I had a text message from Amazon saying, ‘hey we just saw that you went to a shop and ordered something?’ I was naturally horrified at the privacy invasion until it arrived at my doorstep in five minutes flat. 

Phones: believe it or not, if used correctly, these are a boon. I still have an iphone 5, because it peaked at the 5. there is no reason to go beyond it. Anything after the iphone 5 is based on one feature; the camera. That is the only reason anyone has given me for upgrading. The camera. I don’t take pictures of myself. I don’t take pictures. I experience things.  I don’t share photos with people. The experiences I’ve had are absorbed within my being because I experienced them so intensely that when people meet me they can feel all of my experience without needing to have it shoved in their face. It makes me happier in the moment, happeir over all to experience the event rather than attempt to capture it for posterity, which is not living now, it’s living in the future, which in the future I will not be alive then either because  I will be looking at the photo, reminiscing for the past. Duh. 

Phones can be used well, because they can be put on Airplane mode. It’s easier than unplugging the phone line or leaving it off the hook. The phone is a weapon. Learn to use it properly. If you just take pictures with it all day, it’s like being on the Starship Enterprise and using the ‘stun’ setting on yourself to capture a perfect pose. Those things have long term effects you know….

Downside to phones: attention span. The end of intellectual culture as we know it. The death of cinema. The invention of Quibby. Insomnia. Vanity. That look where people wear tight pants, but you can see the square in their front pocket like they have a pace maker in their leg. 

Video games: truly the greatest advancement of all. Video games can only get better. They are good for problem solving. Their increasing realism will only help people prepare for the coming zombie and/or ecological apocalypse. 

Downside/ Two word: Virtual. Porn. 

So there you go, a little food for thought. With every great advancement there is an equal downside, with every gain there is a loss. Is it progress? In some ways yes, in some ways no. Give and take. 

However take comfort as I do, that things are always changing. If this generation doesn’t suit you, hold tight, because there’s another one just around the corner. Like the Byrds said, ‘Turn Turn Turn…’ Dylan also said, ‘The Times They are a Changin’ so take your pick, but the Byrds is more on the nose I think. 

When I was a kid we used to go down to the local video store (unlike Block buster, I mourn the passing of the local video store, daily). There was an Arcade game there called Street Fighter 2. No one ever played Street Fighter One. It doesn’t exist (I know it does, shut up). 

It was the greatest thing that ever happened. No device has ever unified more teenage boys (hmm…not true, two words: VHS. Porn). 

A kid with no name was the champion. He was a maestro. He had acne, dirty jeans, and a chain wallet. His hair was greasy. He had a extra large Big Gulp in his hand from 7-11 he would slurp between combos. No one knew his name or where he came from. We would cone from miles around to watch him play? The Who sang about boys like him. 

He was the pinnacle. 

Then one day, the home entertainment system got an upgrade: the Super Nintendo. It had all the capabilities of the arcade version of Street Fighter II. Slowly, we stopped going to the video store to play the arcade. 

Eventually they removed it from the shop. 

We never saw the boy with no name again. He based his whole indentity on a MACHINE. His entire WORTH was wrapped up in a piece of technology. Without it he would simply VANISH. 

When that piece of technology became obsolete as all technologies eventually do, so in turn, did he…

And that my friends, is the story of the worlds first Influencer.