Is it just me, or is it weird that I expected Michael Jackson to survive into at least my 60s, or Leslie Neilsen to be an immortal? All signs point to the reality that for the new set of young people coming along, as I approach my 21st birthday - my lawn is no longer an acceptable venue - to put it politely.
My youth really began in pop culture originality when Jurassic Park was released in 1993, which was marketing genius because you could put dinosaurs in anything back then and it would have been sold as a good idea if you had a decent script. Clerks was before my time - I didn't even know it existed until 2007, so that didn't influence my young-person-ness with pop culture until later.
Now I know a lot of you are going to roll your eyes at me for saying this, but Pokemon was possibly popular as it was not just because the only entertainment that came beforehand that was aired on Australian children's shows like Agro's Cartoon Connection and Cheez TV was those leftover remnants of 1980s reruns left over from what the 80s kids watched until a new fad came along. Pokemon was everywhere, but rather than saying it was merely a marketing gimmick, let me ask you this: would Pokemon have sold poorly if instead of relying on a "I wanna be, the very best, like no-one ever was..." mentality COMBINED with the collectable consumerism angle, while instead being a generic "buy all our playsets and toys" show like the 1980s cartoons (Transformers, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe). Whole reason why Pokemon made buckets of money wasn't just that it used mindless consumerism to sell products, but there was a sense of imagination there and adventure combined with that. He-Man toys I don't think combine the idea of technology + adventure and imagination. There's no quest to buy He-Man toys, once you have a He-Man toy you play with it and move on. However with Pokemon it's much more interactive, because there's not just a cartoon but a video game where you can go on your own quest to catch Pokemon and battle with your friends.
Thus I think as a whole Pokemon nails the whole "social networking" marketing angle years before Zuckerberg and Co. invented (or stole) Facebook. The main character of your Pokemon journey is no longer a singular hero like Optimus Prime and a set of other copyrighted characters - it is actually a story where YOU become potentially the greatest Pokemon Master that ever lived.
And I think that need for interactivity explains why young people play video games instead of with toys all the time - it all stems back from how in Pokemon you became the hero of the story instead of some generic cartoon character you didn't give two shits about.
This probably doesn't have much to do with board games you might think, and most of this rant doesn't, but what I'm leading up to is why in the early 2000s a whole generation of young nerds, me included - tried to play Warhammer 40,000. The modelling and painting aspect made it a much more grown up hobby activity than playing with regular toys - which I think is the key reason why my generation of strapping young lads flocked to it when we were twelve.
Twelve is an odd age where you think you're more grown up than you are and put your toys away in defiance of your parents who think you're too young to watch, say, the latest violent shoot-em-up blockbuster that's at the cinema at the moment. At twelve you begin to deny your kiddiness and this explains the grey, gritty designs of not just the Dark Age of Comics in the 1990s that ruined comics for about eight years before serious comic book movies came out and revived interest in the characters, but video games where all the colourful sprites and characters with inventive designs were rejected by my generation's youth, merely because an enjoyment of sometimes adorable, often clever, and cheerful game design elements called into question your sexuality which was allegedly dubious if you liked listening to Kylie Minogue's early 2000s stuff as well. This is part of the reason why I like comics better than video games, because comics learned from its mistake and returned zany superheroes to the fore, as well as introducing indie comics that were able to facilitate the crowd who were into either manga and anime or just cuteness and quirkiness in general.
If I could blame anything for the misogyny and latent homophobia in twelve to seventeen year old men, I couldn't exactly put my finger on a precise target but I'd probably say online gamer culture and internet culture outside moderated forums is what caused nerds of the 2000s to forsake colourful, nice character designs for grim and gritty, "MANLY" ones. Especially since I'm now nearly an actual adult by international law, and suddenly Warhammer 40,000 seems too grim and horrible for me to get back into. Then I realised I hated it all along, because while I loved the Advance Wars games for GBA and Nintendo DS where a tactical battle was held with colourful sprites in an optimistic and fun landscape, Warhammer 40,000 possibly contributed to why I suffered from depression later in life, because some part of my brain tells me there are elements of humanity who actually take the THERE IS ONLY WAR tagline at face value.
It probably also explains why I'm a fan of more imaginative concepts and colourful character designs in anime and manga and comics/animation, rather than the grim horrible futures video games has thrown at us every other week.
Not only that, but I got into music very, very late in the game, only discovering my musical taste round about 2008. Most of the time before that I just listened to stuff my brother liked and what was playing on the radio. Then I discovered how intimidating it is to catch up on all that music I missed in the 2000s that the cool kids liked but don't anymore because allegedly their new albums erase any dignity the old stuff from these bands did. I also sucked at playing stringed instruments, and while I exhibited some degree of writing, reading and visual aptitude, I don't think I'll ever make it as a rock star in today's music industry. I don't think I'm a very TV, or even Youtube friendly personality either.
In a generation obsessed with fame and fortune, and the exploits of celebrities, I got left behind in about 2005 and buried my nose in books and graphic novels ever since. This probably explains why in 2008 one of the few albums I owned personally was one by LEONARD BLOODY COHEN. The first concert I ever went to was a Rolling Stones concert, I saw U2 and of course, LEONARD BLOODY COHEN, but I ended up going to more book talks and book signings than actual rock concerts. I just didn't seem to cope with the live music crowd very well at all, especially if my hypersensitivity to loud noise acted up at the wrong moment.
However I did talk to John Safran on national public radio, an achievement I will take to my grave as well as with me every time I see that bloke on TV doing something outrageous. Sure you can meet a celebrity in an organised press event, but talking to your hero on bloody national radio is a whole 'nother matter.
Maybe I'm just getting older, and more senile. Send me some flowers on my birthday or something, or at least an internet greeting card. Oh God, I've gotten to the point where I've acknowledged internet birthday cards have officially become acceptable as a communication tool. Sigh.