188: Crazy in Love

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Crazy in Love

What could possibly convince an otherwise sane 22-year-old woman that she was married to Sonic the Hedgehog? Why do some people feel so much closer to videogame characters than others? Pat Miller examines the darker side of fandom.

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Great research. Am reading some of the outbound links right now, and then I am immediately going to find my copy of Suikoden (which I have never played) and find out what kind of cool dragon or beast creature I can 'be'.

Are there marmosets in Suikoden?

Wow, that is pretty fucking nutz.
Thats like hentai obsession to the next lvl.

Where did you here about this site?
(P.S. we should tell Kevin Smith, that would make a great conversation for SModcast)

I.... I... B... I...

-falls over, twitching-

I've been a Sonic fan... since I was three years old... but that... that just makes me weep.

It's articles like this that keep me reading the escapist. You touch on an important point - the struggle for gamers - the well-adjusted amongst us who do not lurk in parents' basements - to reconcile our love for gaming with the anathema that is the gamer stereotype.

I have a friend who has convinced himself that he is no longer a "gamer", but merely a person who amongst other things, plays games. It's absurd, of course, because this same fellow also collects game posters, game toys, reads game websites, listens to game podcasts, and maintains his own gaming website. But what his example demonstrates is how the obsessed few have co-opted the gamer image. Maybe the image was theirs from the beginning, but now I'd like to think that the demographics have changed considerably.

Was it just a matter of maturing? I don't think so, because I think maturity and interest in gaming are mutually exclusive. That they're associated with one another is just another part of the stigma against games and gaming - invariably by people who have never played games, or people like my friend who have become disillusioned with "gaming culture".

Articles here on the escapist, and blogs like your TokenMinorities, show how adults can interface with gaming in the same way as any other art form - thoroughly, critically, analytically - and not necessarily with any obsessive bent. In the end, your thesis is dead-on. While the first generation of serious gamers has "grown up" - it is time for the industry to do the same, all the while still leaving the door open for the next generation.

I actually find a lot of that quite scary...I know I've had people telling me I'm reincarnation of such a person, but to think it could degrade to that...

*shudder*

I find this article to be very well written. I must say that while some of the information it contains is shocking to me, it isn't so crazy if I truly think about it (sans the Sonic vomit). When I was 3 years old, I wanted to be just like Sonic. I remember running around my house pretending to be him. As I grew up, I moved on to other characters. I started working out so I could be as strong as Cloud. I actually looked up to these characters even though I knew they weren't real. I guess falling in love with one of them isn't so terribly far-fetched then. Yes, it's incredibly bizarre to have a fetish for them, but I suppose that it's just another emotion that someone can feel towards a character. Now that I think about it, my sister had a crush on Cloud when she was younger. However, she just had posters of him in her room rather than actually wanting to do some of the stuff mentioned in the article.

That said, this article was definitely thought-provoking. A+ :)

i fail to see the point of this article other than to ridicule those people who take fandom far too seriously and end up screwed up. i just dont see the focus, perhaps thats why the conclusion to the article is so far removed from the premise that it might as well be on the moon.

I'm a little disappointed that this doesn't seem to meet the usual standards of the Escapist articles. I remember reading this magazine back at Issue 75 for the developer interviews, serious looks and analysis of race, gender in game and other contemporary issues. That was back when they still had them on the site differently, and you could download them as PDFs. This ... this could be an excerpt from an Encyclopedia Dramatica article both in content and in treatment.

I found the actual content of it interesting, since I hadn't heard of any of those stories before, even coming from "the darker side of the fandom," as you put it. Frankly, I found the injection of internet subculture and the casual attitude of the writer aimed at the reader (Isn't this an article? I'm not reading a forum post or a blog, am I?) took it down several notches for me. I guess my problem is the use of first person and subjectivity in this article when I expected third person and at least a semblance of objectively evaluating the topic of an essay. Is it really necessary to have little getting-to-know-you asides like

"Fandom is weird. Sure, it's kind of cool sometimes to see grown adults put aside their Serious Business and cosplay as Mega Man every now and then, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pleasantly surprised to find a few classic Star Wars collectibles sitting around the apartments of a few friends of mine. (One had a bust of a TIE fighter pilot mask and a Darth Vader Mr. Potato Head, the other had models of the Lambda Shuttle and the Assault Gunboat.) At a certain point, however, things go too far, and I'm pretty sure that point is well before "I WANT HIM TO VOMIT IN MY MOUTH."

if it doesn't actually have anything to do with what you're trying to say?

Alix Henriol is clearly not "otherwise sane" as the story says.

I believe Alix Henriol is actually very intelligent and very smart, she knows very well how to make money by doing nothing (in other word: taping Sonic the Hedgehog) and she's definitely made a name for herself.

This is an interesting article.

Furries, no surprise.

Interesting...although just to balance out that ending note of "Give us something more mature" people have been doing bats*** stuff with media for decades. Celebrities must endure stalkers all the time, such as Jodie Foster receiving bomb threats and letters from Michael Smegal. Dimebag Darrel Abbott (R.I.P. you crazy diamond) was shot by a man who had been claiming that he wrote all of Pantera's music.

The only difference is that with the video game character there is no reality check. There is no one to say "I'm Sonic and I'm not actually married to you." Which is self-evident to all of us, but to someone with a loose grip on reality it's just another reason to pursue the fantasy.

Do you even realize she is doing that mostly for fame and money...?

I'm not saying she isn't in love with Sonic but it's turned into a huge money-machine...

Alix Henriol may love Sonic, but she's turned that love into a tool for self-promotion in her quest for Internet celebrity.

As a webmaster turned internet celebrity, she became notorious for her insistence that she and Sonic the Hedgehog were married on May 8th, 2005.

I'm not talking about the other people that indeed may be disconnected from reality but Alix is doing well at getting fame and wealth. Then again I dont question the extend of her love for Sonic but, there's definitely interest under it.

ButtercupSaiyan:
I'm a little disappointed that this doesn't seem to meet the usual standards of the Escapist articles. I remember reading this magazine back at Issue 75 for the developer interviews, serious looks and analysis of race, gender in game and other contemporary issues. That was back when they still had them on the site differently, and you could download them as PDFs. This ... this could be an excerpt from an Encyclopedia Dramatica article both in content and in treatment.

I found the actual content of it interesting, since I hadn't heard of any of those stories before, even coming from "the darker side of the fandom," as you put it. Frankly, I found the injection of internet subculture and the casual attitude of the writer aimed at the reader (Isn't this an article? I'm not reading a forum post or a blog, am I?) took it down several notches for me.

So...you commented on this article just to tear it down? To examine it on content and mechanics like some high school English teacher? Well congratulations, chief, you've succeeded. If you're not going to contribute to some sort of discussion about the subject matter, then why are you even here? That's a rhetorical question, so please don't bother to answer it. In any case, pretty sure no one cares if this article didn't satisfy your particular tastes. You've only managed to come off like a pretentious douche.

I thought there were some pretty odd people out there but I didn't expect to find them this odd. But then again, we all know of all sorts of religious cults who do the same shit, so... I suppose it's a sign that games also have matured in status, even if this way of maturing is not a good thing.

[quote="ButtercupSaiyan" post="6.87488.1320208"] I remember reading this magazine back at Issue 75 for the developer interviews, serious looks and analysis of race, gender in game and other contemporary issues. /quote]

That's funny. I've written a bunch of those, too, and I usually just get hate mail.

Thanks for reading!

Godheval:

ButtercupSaiyan:
I'm a little disappointed that this doesn't seem to meet the usual standards of the Escapist articles. I remember reading this magazine back at Issue 75 for the developer interviews, serious looks and analysis of race, gender in game and other contemporary issues. That was back when they still had them on the site differently, and you could download them as PDFs. This ... this could be an excerpt from an Encyclopedia Dramatica article both in content and in treatment.

I found the actual content of it interesting, since I hadn't heard of any of those stories before, even coming from "the darker side of the fandom," as you put it. Frankly, I found the injection of internet subculture and the casual attitude of the writer aimed at the reader (Isn't this an article? I'm not reading a forum post or a blog, am I?) took it down several notches for me.

So...you commented on this article just to tear it down? To examine it on content and mechanics like some high school English teacher? Well congratulations, chief, you've succeeded. If you're not going to contribute to some sort of discussion about the subject matter, then why are you even here? That's a rhetorical question, so please don't bother to answer it. In any case, pretty sure no one cares if this article didn't satisfy your particular tastes. You've only managed to come off like a pretentious douche.

I think he is entitled to his opinion. Although personally, I do think this is a perfectly fine article. I guess when you look at real life drama, the article suddenly isn't so dry any more, and maybe that's just not what Buttercup was looking for.

This article reminds me a lot of the Turkey one. I think it's perfectly normal for someone to develop a relationship with even fictional characters, provided there is actually something behind the character. But sonic? He doesn't even have a proper back story.
I have known my share of LARPers, and a few of them are rather eccentric. But not to the point where they insist fantasy and reality is mixed. And I have to say, I couldn't even deal with them in their milder, more normal format.

I followed the thread to the Sonicpassion editorial.

I was left devoid of emotion. I can't believe that there are people like that in the world.

Godheval:

Was it just a matter of maturing? I don't think so, because I think maturity and interest in gaming are mutually exclusive.

Sorry, but did you mean to say that maturity and interest in gaming are orthogonal (as in, not related)? If you meant mutually exclusive -- meaning that you can't both be mature and have an interest in gaming -- I think there is an angry mob of mature gamers who would like to have a word with you. :P

I'm glad the author maintained the point that this isn't limited to, or due to, video games. Crazy people have lived in fictious worlds for as long as anyone can remember.

Just like kids shooting up schools, it's easy to blame these cults on the video games they emulate, but the obvious truth is that these people are already messed up. If it wasn't a video game, it would have been a movie star or a best friend or some woman they say walking into a coffee shop. A reasonable person can tell the difference between imagination and reality -- lose that distinction and any fantasy is fair game.

For the sake of the uberfans, I think it's important that we make this distinction. To be enthralled with, or even to with you could marry a fictional character like Sonic the Hedgehog is fine. Normal people can imagine such things and acknowledge that they can never be, and if that makes them happy, that's great. But when a person goes to the length of truly believing they could or did marry a fictional character, they've lost their hold on reality. At that point, they need help. Badly.

what...the...fuck....this is just...purely insane. How can this woman honestly think she's married to Sonic...HE'S A FICTIONAL CHARACTER...it's that kind of fanaticism that makes me lose my faith in a good portion of the human race

oh...and she's batshit insane...just purely..insane, case closed, lock her up, throw away the key..she's lost allllllll touch with reality and needs to have a nice padded room away from people

I just love how so many people gossip about The Sarah Saga without /actually reading/ any of the stories in detail, with a critical eye. It was a hoax, and Something Awful took it too damn far by /believing it/ and linking it to real people. There is, I'm sure, a fascinating article somewhere unwritten about how people have reacted to the stories, and why stories about people like that fascinate and repel us so, but, please note that the Sarah Saga is /not true/ and that stories like this actually have power to hurt people. Please, be good to each other.

oh...and she's batshit insane...just purely..insane, case closed, lock her up, throw away the key..she's lost allllllll touch with reality and needs to have a nice padded room away from people

You've read absolutely nothing about this girl from this article, this conversation or about anywhere else, right?

fullmetalangel:

Whether or not that story in itself is true or not, it's not like this kind of thing doesn't happen. I should know.

ooh! story time?

The way I see it there are four general levels of fandom. Obviously they can overlap a bit. Level 1)Fan: just the average person who likes a series or character. This is what I would call a normal healthy relationship. They buy the products if it's good, they may get the occasional swag, but it doesn't get in the way of daily life. Level 2)Fanboy(or girl): These people have an almost fanatical devotion to something. If you don't agree with them that their idol is perfect in every way then you are an idiot. And no amount of debate will change their minds, you'll have better luck turning a chair back into a tree. Level 3) Cosplayer: Someone who likes something so much they feel the need to dress up as it. Not necessarily a bad thing if done once in a while just for fun during halloween or something, but definitly can be taken too far. And lastly Level 4) OMGWTF?!?!: People who are obviously bat **** crazy! All of the people in this article would be good examples of this. When the expression of their love goes beyond simple fandom and spirals out of control into absolute insanity.

fullmetalangel:

There you go, a few minutes of your time, and my dignity, exactly what it said on the tin.

Thanks for sharing!

I agree to the extent that some of the suggestions may help. But I find myself somewhat oppposed to the ideology that games should be something like that of a novel. I love games with a story ... don't get me wrong ... but if I want to read a book, I'll read a book.

Catch-22 is a great example of this ... the book poses us with a list of extremely versatile, strange, and perplexing characters ... yet every character in the book any reader will beable top identify with ...

Whether you feel like a bit of a Capt. Yossarian in you ... in that theres no way to escape your life and that you are merely being pushed to the goal that suits everybody else BUT you.

Or whether you wish to avoid all work and responsibility, and merely disappear from everybody's proverbial 'radar' like Maj. Major Major Major....

But the movie dropped many of these character's plots in exchange to make something feel like a movie and less like a book ... which makes it a great movie even though it is nowhere near as complex.

GETTING BACK TO THE POINT: Games should be entertaining ... I think if games developers solely created games with complex elements then it would promote MORE fandom, as fewer people would pick up games and just stick to reading a good book ... (heaven forbid, hur hur hur <.<). Story is nice ... but games aren't novels for a reason, as are movies not games or novels for a particular reason ....

People are less likely to think of themselves as a reincarnation of Jack from the upcoming Wii title 'MadWorld' for a reason ... because it's going to be a celebration of mindless violence. 'MadWorld' wouldn't have made a very good novel .... nor a very good movie ... but it stands to make a potentially good game because of it's mindless brutality.

There's nothing to attach to him, nothing to empathize with ... given he's a chainsaw wielding anti-hero ...

Games are always going to attract the estranged ... because it represents interactive alienation. But making all games have a stronger stroyline with complex plots is neither healthy for the industry, nor going to help for as long as games remain games in the way that they are still interactive...

I like games with stories and complex characters ... I also like many games that are mindless romps, full of gun-fuckery and blade-thrusting violence. Both are necessary to help maintain the diversity of the gaming industry ....

I think this is merely a case where 'Lunatics will be lunatics .... just depends what tools of their lunacy are at their discretion'.

Look at DnD for example .... principe paragon of geekyness and story-based gaming.... and you still get shitloads of DnD lunatics.

fullmetalangel:

gamegod25:
Level 3) Cosplayer: Someone who likes something so much they feel the need to dress up as it. Not necessarily a bad thing if done once in a while just for fun during halloween or something, but definitly can be taken too far.

You don't need to be fanatical or crazy to be a cosplayer... I think that's the most misunderstood area of fandom out of any of the rest. You don't even need to be a fanboy/girl. Some people just like dressing up, that's it.

I didn't say that you had to be crazy to dress up, but you do need to be a fanatic. For example I like Halo a lot but I don't have to dress up like master chief to show it. And as I said it's not always a bad thing just that it can be taken too far.

gamegod25:

fullmetalangel:

gamegod25:
Level 3) Cosplayer: Someone who likes something so much they feel the need to dress up as it. Not necessarily a bad thing if done once in a while just for fun during halloween or something, but definitly can be taken too far.

You don't need to be fanatical or crazy to be a cosplayer... I think that's the most misunderstood area of fandom out of any of the rest. You don't even need to be a fanboy/girl. Some people just like dressing up, that's it.

I didn't say that you had to be crazy to dress up, but you do need to be a fanatic. For example I like Halo a lot but I don't have to dress up like master chief to show it. And as I said it's not always a bad thing just that it can be taken too far.

I don't know, heaps of cosplayers, and particularly crossplayers, do it because they see it as a challenge. Just like people who do those ship-in-a-bottle things and strive to create as realistic a depiction of a particular historical ship with the added difficulty of having only the mouth of the vessel's vessel (English is fun <.<) to work with.

Personally, I think for most people anyways, that cosplay events are just a source of fun <.< How's it any different then wanting to only wear tailor-made suits ... and gold watches from Omega or Rolex because you like the look of them in ads and in storefront windows? o.o

I was at the Sonic site when it was still public (I made the Robotnik poll in that article), and some of the stuff there is truly disgusting. Alix had images of herself urinating on the floor, told everyone she wants to eat Sonic's /snot/, said she wants to be /trampled/ by Sonic, and has dozens of sex toys with Sonic's face glued onto them (as well as plenty of pictures).

I think it is clear that she has a mental disorder.

PaulH:

Personally, I think for most people anyways, that cosplay events are just a source of fun <.< How's it any different then wanting to only wear tailor-made suits ... and gold watches from Omega or Rolex because you like the look of them in ads and in storefront windows? o.o

i was about to answer with something pithy like "only one of those gets you laid", but apparently a lot of sex happens at anime conventions.

Pat M.:

PaulH:

Personally, I think for most people anyways, that cosplay events are just a source of fun <.< How's it any different then wanting to only wear tailor-made suits ... and gold watches from Omega or Rolex because you like the look of them in ads and in storefront windows? o.o

i was about to answer with something pithy like "only one of those gets you laid", but apparently a lot of sex happens at anime conventions.

That assumes if you perscribe to the bentham-like hypothesis in the mechanics of Morality, that moral decisions should be based in the ascertaining of happiness for yourself and others in Utilitarian moral efficacy.

Differing somewhat from Mill's approach of "I like Chocolate Ice Cream ... and no amount of Vanilla Ice Cream, despite being nice, will substantiate my lust for even a taste of chocolate ice cream."

Of course in Mill's context Chocolate Ice cream represents intellectual and Philosophical pleasures ... whereas Vanilla Ice cream represents physical pleasures. Different from Bentham's differentiation of all pleasures being equal .... being if Bentham's approach were true we'd all be like pigs and playing in mud ... much like children ... but we grow up and learn differently that intellectual pleasures are much more rewarding.

So to answer your question in a round about way ... I think of Cosplay as an Intellectual pleasure ... and the Tailor-made suit wearing wanker being dressed to indulge in the pleasures of flesh :D .... as suggested by the comment "only one of them gets laid" lol n.n ...

Or my angst against wearing clothes because other people say I should might be that when asked to dress as a penguin (Tux and so forth) to my cousin's wedding so I could 'Look nice for her' and because she had someone she'd like to introduce me. So I decided that Gothic Lolita would be more fun ... and she told me to look nice and I figure looking 'nice' would mean a knee-length Black jsk and cutsew with an ultra poofy petticoat, knee high socks and a pair of Mary Janes <.< ... all as a lesson to those that expecting mundanity from people is like expecting all people to like bacon and eggs in the morning .... not the case at all :x

Or it could be that I'm nerdy and dson't have a girlfriend and shake my fist at the world stating physical pleasures are second to intellectual pleasures because I'm not "getting any" and the dressing up probably prohibits getting one to an extent <.<

Whoever wrote that "Sonic Passion" website spoof is a genius.

"Suddenly, just not having a date doesn't really seem that pathetic anymore."

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