The Chance to Fall in Love [Extended]
There was a time I was in Australia for a vacation. Yes, it was before, well…motions broadly.
Yes, I was small. I asked my Aunt for a pokemon cup I still cherish to this day for being cute and adorkable. I’m still very much that same kid.
But she loved buying me games. And between the choice of not having a game or the alternative, I did what any sane mature self-respecting child would.
But I didn’t decide which game. I left that to my brother. I nonchalantly told him to pick out something he’d think I’d like. At that point, games inspired a stranglehold of monotony. I’d dread to start a new one because it wouldn’t feel new. He could have picked something truly awful and I’d have played it from start to finish, none the wiser.
That game would be DOOM (2016), one of my most cherished gaming experiences bar none. One that reinvigorated my love for games.
And here I am, years later. Clacking away on a keyboard. Wondering what else I could have missed while I let the game-review industry win? To churn onto my eager hands what to consume next? What did we lose in the transition to mass, algorithmic content aggregation? Why does it matter? Is this hook too self-pretentious or jarring?
I’ll define what curated and mass content is. A curated piece of media has a strict start, finish and end. To appreciate it in full, you’ll have to trek the entirety, through every egregious mistake befitting that only a human could err.
Or perhaps it’s the perfect piece. Shy of divine, even. You’ll have to stick it through to find out. You get pulled in with a promise that if you do, the artist will make it worth the wait.
Ah, the hook. A tale tool old as time. As you get reeled towards the sinister old man who reeks a little too much (Adam), you don’t flee because that bait was so yummy, what if there’s more? So you play along.
And he might eat you, sure. But he might put you in a nice aquarium with a rather dashing manfish or womanfish (or theyfish) where you’ll have lots of gender-ambiguous children (or not if you’re childfree). Basically, it’ll be great. Unless you’re into being single, then-
Mass content aims to achieve a feeling. It learns what you’d like, and tries to give you more. You don’t know what comes next, and neither does anyone else. It’s a mystery, a fuzzy hand in the jar where no one knows what’s next, but can very likely guess how it’d make them feel. It’s non-curated and an experience subjective to what your system has learned.
Mass content isn’t short. It’s consumed in greasy upsized portions, lathered in sleazy clickbait and attractive faces to drive clicks.
(Or irresistible cats, guilty as charged, uwu)
They amass and throttle down your throat before you can digest.
And when they do throw you an unfamiliar bone in the sea of what you like, you’d glaze over it. It’s new. It’s not in our nature to embrace new. We are creatures of habit, hostage to preference. Change is hard. So the recommendations flop. You might have been shockingly engaged by that video essay on game design. But why’d you click that? You don’t know if you’d like it. You know what you do.
Unless you’re particularly adventurous or monotony has its claws sunk deep, mass content is for your past. It’s for what you think you like.
Not what you could.
It’s tragic, poetic and ironic-
Ahem. -the way mass content “tailors”. Where the curated journey, though not sized just for you, gives you the opportunity to roll something you’d never expect to adore. I know I didn’t until my brother gave me that chance.
Mass content is made for you. It’s like constructing your own story, a string of entertainment, everything you’d love laced with the mystery of not knowing what comes next.
But the thing is, you do.
It’ll be another cute derpy “doggo”, or some other adorable critter.
If you’re into art? Another eye-watering piece of vibrant colour and emotion.
It’ll make you ever so slightly simmer with pursed lips and sparks of envy as you see how nicely framed others’ lives are.
There’s an interesting conversation to be had between what is entertainment and the benefits of curated vs non-curated algorithms. I’ve argued on the ethics of the latter regurgitating the same vomit, not allowing you the opportunity to find out if you’d enjoy something fresh. You aren’t any longer looking to one specific media piece for its value alone, but rather the idea and feel of a general group of media. It’s a mood board that doesn’t lead anywhere.
Whereas there are often dips and lulls in curated media, often not everything will sit right. Do those imperfections and dull moments make the high moments higher? Do they provide a human touch to the work? How does seeing into the mind of a singular vision, of one shared psyche, fare against the “tailor-made” learned repetition of what you’d probably like?
Would you take a chance on a well-simmered mystery meat bowl (sorry Pierre), or lots of cauliflower (sorry Ana)?
This very article is curated. Bet you weren’t expecting this topic out of this title? Such an out-there concept, you may now validate me. But I gave you the chance to like it if you got this far. Even if you hated it with a burning passion (ow), was the chance worth it? You decide.
Do you surrender yourself to a haze, a blur en masse of your unfocused favourite colour, or splotches of it, painfully sharp in contrast to colours that aren’t your favourite, but some that very well could be?
Curated content gives you the chance to not like it. To hate it.
Non-curated content tries its best to minimize that. But what’s lost in the process?
The chance to fall in love.
… yeah go doesn’t quite as hard when it’s buried under a mountain of allegories the second time around, does it?
Author’s note: The novel that inspired this well-thought-out opinion you’re either mildly interested to apathetic about is… well a fantasy novel? A vivid horror? Nearly 900 pages in, I struggle to define what genre it is.
But damn. The Library at Mount Char? It’s good.
I put my trust in where the author would lead me. There’s a leap of faith you gotta be willing to take. But when you plunge, you might just fall in love.
So fall with me.
Special thanks to my Korean older sister guess i’m 0.1% kimchi
_ _ raldo knows who he is
Snazzy Sound Man for the nice word
My Brother for showing me Doomguy’s pecs
— — — — — — — — — —
Curated food brings samples in a predesignated order, so that ice cream will taste all the more sweet after a savoury dish. That’s how taste works, right? (That’s not rethoric I don’t actually know)
I could harp all day on [TEMP TITLE]: The ethics of regurgitating the same vomit, not allowing the opportunity to find out how much you might enjoy something fresh. The thesis. (note to self, change later)
I’ll define what curated and mass content is to me. And i’m always right.
It’s technically short content, but the whole design of short content is to pull you in for just one more. A giant chip is significantly less appealing. But broken into many digestible nuggets of sodium? oh that’s a different story..
Raise your hand if you finished more than you should have in one sitting. I see you. Raise that hand. And if not, then I was talking to that ghost behind you. boo! he’s blushing that old scallywag. Why did I leave this bit in.
fast food grease shove overflow. That’s all the context you’re getting