Ahoy’s recent episode about Rocket Launchers got me thinking about the language I use to think about things and how it has evolved through time as my taste has changed, not to mention my expectations when it comes to how things are represented in media.
Rocket Launcher is a term I hadn’t used in a long time in any serious capacity. I simply didn’t use it outside of Quake-related discussion or media consumption. Part of that is things I would have previously called Rocket Launchers when I was younger, I now refer to differently – sometimes by name, sometimes by their functionality or role. For example, the video mentions the Bazooka, RPGs, AT-4s and so on, which to me, nowadays, are merely AT as in Anti-Tank due to the time I have spent playing Arma. In it, I don’t particularly care which flavor of rocket launcher it is, if it even is one. Instead, I care about whether it can destroy the vehicle currently threatening my virtual life. After all, due to their limited use nature, they became a tool to deal with specific threats instead of merely another weapon in my arsenal. Not to mention that I have learned quite a bit about how they are supposed to work and the differences between and why they matter.
Likewise, it takes all my might to use Big Bad Evil or Main Character or a number of other useful but unspecific terms when talking about a story, as that is the way I think about them. The Big Bad Evil, for example, is usually the driving force behind most fantasy narratives, whichever the medium and at some point they all started to blur together. Their motivations aren’t much different from one to the other, which is fine, but it does make it hard to remember them as distinct from one another. The few cases in which I’m inclined to not think about it that way are the cases when I properly connect with the characters and the setting, such as Night in the Woods, or Transistor. Otherwise, I don’t particularly expect much out of them because for the most part, however good or well executed they might be, they fail to break away from that mold and make their characters feel like characters.
I never thought much about how much my internal discourse has discourse has changed throughout the years as I have both experiences and simply read about other people’s experiences and thoughts. And, this is fine – it means I’m not the person I was before and hopefully, the medium isn’t the same anymore either. But it is an interesting phenomenon that I think need to be more aware of.