Recapping for folks who dun wanna click through, it’s a quote from the director of Wonder Woman, Patty Jenkins:
“Did you say cheesy? Cheesy is one of the words banned in my world. I’m tired of sincerity being something we have to be afraid of doing. It’s been like that for 20 years, that the entertainment and art world has shied away from sincerity, real sincerity, because they feel they have to wink at the audience because that’s what the kids like. We have to do the real stories now. The world is in crisis.
I wanted to tell a story about a hero who believes in love, who is filled with love, who believes in change and the betterment of mankind. I believe in it. It’s terrible when it makes so many artists afraid to be sincere and truthful and emotional, and relegates them to the too-cool-for-school department. Art is supposed to bring beauty to the world.”
I covered these themes quite a bit in Floating Point, which deals with this problem from the Internet side of things. Internet humor, spawned forth from the fetid pools of the chans, relies on the “u mad bro” punchline. If you “get” to someone, if you upset them, then you’ve succeeded at humor because you made them have feelings. Feelings are not allowed in the ironic age, only a detached and virtuous apathy which keeps your emotional distance from things, acting like a suit of armor against attack.
But in Arcade Spirits, apathy is not a virtue. Those who follow their passions, express themselves honestly, and are willing to be vulnerable as a result are rewarded. It’s not blind optimism — plenty of plot points revolve around the risk you take in doing so, in the practical needs of life — but that idealism remains at the heart of the story. And maybe it will be “cheesy” as a result, but I wanted a game that’s alight with hope after having such a dour and grey-area story in Floating Point, after all that’s happened in current events.
I make no apologies for Arcade Spirits being sincere. It’s by design. And hopefully, that’ll resonate with you as well.