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About the Story
"OK Boomer: The Game" is a text-based, "choose your own adventure" style game. Play as an American Baby Boomer and...
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Number of Reviews: 4
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I played this game because of the apoplectic one-line reviews it was generating here. It's not exactly nuanced but it expresses its anger skilfully and humorously enough. If you took the trouble of creating a homophobically-named troll account just so you could rate it one star, it's probably about you.
OK Boomer: The Game is quite simply an expression of anger. Perhaps it could be called an expression of righteous anger if we're being generous. I have no doubt that there was a point to writing it - the author clearly sought, and hopefully got, some catharsis out of the deal. But is there a point to reading it? Well...
The game employs humor to comment on social issues, but the humor is relentlessly mean-spirited, and the message is handled flippantly enough that it mostly feels like it boils down to "I am angry at people who are like this." You're cast in the role of a straw man, the incarnation of every negative "boomer" stereotype you can think of, and then spend the entire game being a rich pig-headed jerk (because that's all the game allows you to be). Well, actually, that's all contingent upon you playing as a straight white cisman. You have the option to play very briefly as a gay black woman, in which case the game proceeds somewhere along these lines (to paraphrase only a little bit): "Your life sucks and then you die. Now I will punish you by making you play as a straight white cisman." See what I meant when I said the humor is mean-spirited?
The phrase "straw man" keeps popping back into my head because it not only describes the main protagonist - it feels like a concept that is at the very heart of the game's ethos. This is not a nuanced take; this is us-versus-them ad absurdum.
So, if you think it might be amusing to spend a few minutes hating on the rhetorical construct of an evil boomer, enemy of all young and progressive thinkers and aren't bothered by the possibility that it might alienate actual people who don't fit the stereotype, maybe you'll get something out of this. Personally, I did not find much value in playing OK Boomer. There's not a lot of depth and there's not a lot of levity either. It's just an expression of someone's anger, directed at a certain group of people, all the way through.
It's a shame that this game is getting low-rated by alt accounts, because it gets in the way of honest discussion of its merit, or lack thereof. OK Boomer is a hopelessly lopsided, righteously angry, and religiously blind polemic on the sociopolitical zeitgeist. My issue with the game is not necessarily its politics, but rather the way it's delivered.
The game is very short, so I'd recommend playing it before reading on.
There seem to be three points here. 1 - That capitalism and conservatism are fundamentally flawed philosophies supported by the uneducated, uninformed, and racist. 2. That people who support such philosophies need to be more open-minded and have open discourse with those who think differently. 3 - Echo chambers are dangerous places that only serve to reinforce the believer's will.
The irony that the author completely misses is that the narrow-mindedness of the Boomer strawman they have stuffed and erected here is something they are also guilty of. Never once in the game does the author consider that they might be wrong, that they are unwilling to have their beliefs challenged, that their sources of information may be just as guilty of party line rhetoric. They condemn the Boomer for rigidness of belief, of blind conviction, but they never turn those accusations inward. Indeed, the author is so convinced that they're right, that it almost comes across as satire, a biting criticism of the vitriolic op-eds, exposÚs, and hit pieces that have dominated both sides of the political divide as of late. Sadly, this game seems to be another straightforward contribution to that pile. It extols the virtues of open, honest dialogue, but that's not what it actually advocates. In the end, the positive outcome they portray is a one-sided conversation where the Boomer finally breaks down and admits that the Millennial is right after all. Confession, not conversation.
There is a lesson to be learned here, and it's not what the author intended. That lesson is that we must all strive to be more self-aware, learning to recognize and avoid dogma and ego. The author, much like their strawman, seems utterly convinced of the righteousness of their cause, never questioning their own beliefs, because, after all, they're right... right? It's the other side that has it all wrong! In fact, they, the author, are not just right, they're a good person; their ideas hold moral value. That means the other side is not just wrong, they're evil! So they can't coexist with the other side, or reconcile any difference of belief - the other side agrees with them, or else they're a part of the problem.
That description above is not specific to any one belief system or even politics. Tribalism, authoritarianism, zealotism: all can be tied to instating and enforcing any belief. The critical mistake most people make is assuming that they are the exception. "Well yeah, it is dangerous to be dogmatic, but this is different!" It's not. Fact is, we all share different points of view as human beings. We always have and always will. We're never going to exist in a world where we see the same problems or want to solve them the same way. The key is acknowledging that not all problems have just one solution. Instead of trying to steamroll the other side and enforce your beliefs through power of law, we should strive to actually understand each other, recognize the differences that exist, and learn to live with them. Until we do, moral crusades for the principles of the day will continue to rage, and war and death will always be the wages. The short history of humanity is filled to bursting with those who fight for what they think is right, only to see their empire crumble and their ideology rejected in the new society that emerges from the detritus.
Again, this is not about whether or not I agree with the author or not. In fact, that's the whole point. Even if I think they're correct about each and every point, in the big picture, that doesn't matter, because someone somewhere does disagree, and will not change their mind. Getting along with that person - that should be the goal. The person who sits in diametric opposition to yourself must be approached with kindness, a willingness to maybe be wrong, and the maturity and strength to continue sharing the same planet even when that other person staunchly continues living in their inverse worldview. Until we make this breakthrough, history will repeat itself. With both sides refusing to look for common ground and venomously attacking each other through screeds such as this, I can only hope that the inevitable crumbling isn't any time soon.
As stated in the title, this is more of what we don't need. I encourage the reader of this review and the author of this game to free themselves of echo chambers, to find and befriend people who think differently, to answer less and ask more. I have friends that run the gamut of the political compass, and being able to unite in the common humanity we share has made each of us a little less dogmatic, a little less judgemental, and a lot happier.
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