The Psychology of Wackiness in Games and in Life
by Stavros Kokkineas
Note: This article was written as part of the Wacky Week theme. Don’t take it too seriously. For more wackiness, click here.
First of all, beginning the article, I would like to thank my mother for giving me the financial and psychological help to be wacky. It’s one of the things that I am proud of and that make me enjoy the world a little more. When I first read that it’s wacky week here at Nintendo Enthusiast I was excited because this is the very reason I play games. And if you think you’re different keep reading:
Wackiness is the main characteristic of all kinds of comedy. Be it Friends, George Carlin, Bill Maher, American Pie or George Bush, all these series and characters have one thing in common. Wackiness. What is it that makes us so excited for a human to look a bit foolish, to talk and move weirdly and always do whatever comes up in his head? Why does he look so unique that we just get addicted to him? Does Nintendo use tactics like that? Maybe wackiness is the thing that makes you read these lines in the first place?
This article is not in a psychology magazine. That’s why I will try to be laconic in my answer. Whatever you may have been told by psychologists, psychoanalysts, psychiatrists and the crazy neighbor living next door; there are only two things in this life. Pressure and release. When you are very pressured you need release, when you are very relaxed you get stressed by the smallest detail that may appear in your way. And that’s that. If you don’t believe me watch Crash that has three Oscars.
Humans are simple
So, now that we have analyzed why humanity is what it’s like, let’s move on to the section that interests us. The games. Of course, there are a lot of expressions of releasing pressure. Abuse of power, bullying, gambling, extreme sports, vacations, talking with friends, movies, anime, games and many more; so many that I could write an article just by mentioning them. Before I move on let me mention that there are only three reasons why we laugh, and thus, release pressure. The feeling of superiority, the feeling of safety and the feeling of out of place.
The feeling of superiority and safety I think is kind of easy to understand because of the way they work through money, friendship, and love accordingly. The feeling of being out of place, or different if you prefer, is the one that interests me the most. Because I think that this feeling, is the one that evolves us as species. The joy of meeting the new, the different, the untested waters. It’s the feeling of discovery, it’s the feeling of entering a new dungeon in The Legend of Zelda and meeting the guy with the snot hanging out of his noes in Outset Island in the Wind Waker.
It’s a brand new world to explore and it’s one that you expect that will change you. That you want to change you. It’s the reason you like to travel, it’s the reason that you choose your friends, it’s the reason that you fall in love with a girl, it’s the reason you watch movies with her and it’s the reason why she gets mad because you play games.
Life is a game
The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Donkey Kong, Starfox, Wario, Pikmin, Pokemon are all just expressions of the need to meet the new, the unexpected, the fresh.
First of all, let’s make clear that this writer considers the need for discovery and the joy of wackiness the one and the same. A wacky character, like Tingle for example, represents a whole new world that you want to discover. You want to learn the rules in his country, how his hometown and family may be like and if he’s as famous as he says that he is.
Of course wackiness is not the only form of discovery, but it’s the boldest way a new world grabs your attention. That’s why, I personally adore, characters like Tingle, Wario, Viewtiful Joe, Professor Oak, Olimar and so many more that Nintendo and other companies have created. There is something innocent and sweet in those characters that makes me love them and wish I could meet them in real life.
Now that I think about it, the people I love most and made the most impression on me were a little bit wacky and that is, I believe, also their charming point. The little weird, the little looney, the little innocent. I believe our world would be a much better place if it was inhabited by these characters, that’s why every time I meet a wacky person I joke with him, I talk with him, I give him courage to remain who he is. Jimmy Hendrix used to say that when the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. Very nice phrase, but I say:
When pressure becomes wackiness, then the world will be ideal.