2018 is many things to me. I’ll save about 99% of those things for around new year’s week, when everybody and their mom is talking about their 2018, but for now, I’ll let you in on this much. 2018 was the year I discovered Richard La Ruina existed.
For those out of the loop, Richard La Ruina is a “pickup artist”. This raises red flags for a lot of people right out the gate. He talks a lot about how he went from awkward spaz to one of, if not THE greatest pickup artist of our generation. I can’t verify any of that, since all I have is his personal testimony, but I went into this a lot more open minded than a lot of people seem to be.
in 2018, Richard La Ruina put out Super Seducer: a game for STEAM, and possibly PlayStation4 (last I checked, it wasn’t out yet), where in you try to seduce hot women. Based on your choices, La Ruina explains why your choice is either a bad idea, or a good idea. Some choices are so obviously wrong that La Ruina himself basically looks at you, and says something along the lines of “Admit it, you picked that one on purpose just to see what’d happen, didn’t you?” Based on what little I’ve seen of the game (I’m entertaining possibilities of streaming it for my YouTube audience of, like, three people if and when it hits PS4 and I have the money for it), it plays less like a video game, and more like an edutainment game for adults. If you get a question wrong, it kicks you back to the choices, and you try again. Hell, they even cross out the choice you previously made that ends up being wrong. There’s really no consequences for getting a question wrong, near as I can tell.
Naturally, the Let’s Play community of YouTube got a hold of this game. Hell, how do you think I saw it? And… Yeah, the reaction has been pretty outright negative. Not just to the game, but to La Ruina himself.
Based on what little I’ve seen, I’ll grant you the production values of the game aren’t exactly going to give Ubisoft or Electronic Arts a run for their money. Also, while La Ruina is an expert at seducing women (apparently), film is clearly a different story. But hey, I’m not picking up an adult edutainment game like Super Seducer to be blown away by blockbuster film editing, triple-A gameplay, and mindblowing experiences that make me think there might be something to this “video games as art” concept.
Also, to the LP community… Are you really this surprised? Really? He’s a fucking pickup artist! Sorry you decided to spend your own money on a game called Super Seducer and didn’t get fifty hours of third wave feminism lectures.
Knowing that it was going to be a while before I could play this for myself, and knowing that a Super Seducer 2 is in the works as of this writing, I looked into Richard La Ruina. Yeah, instead of hiveminding with the cool kids, I decided to go gonzo, deviate from the norm, and actually formulate my own fucking opinion based on what I myself have observed. What a foreign concept in this age of Twitter. But I digress.
Along with the Super Seducer series, La Ruina has also written a couple books. One of which was available on Audible.com. Meaning that my blind ass doesn’t have to recruit friends, or pay a dude on Craigslist to read it to me. Always a plus.
I picked up The Natural a month or two ago, and I’ve been reading it off and on. I usually stop for a while when I get to the assignments: partly because I’m reading something for book club, partly because I’m brushing up on Egyptian history for a project that might or might not be happening anymore, but mostly because educational books like this (even if the education itself is of a dubious nature) requires me to take breaks and digest what I’ve learned. I’m up to assignment 4 as of this writing, and I got to say… This isn’t the worst advice I’ve ever heard.
Taking a lot of his advice out of its intended context of “use these tricks, and hot chicks will want to bob on your knob”, a lot of this stuff is actually good advice. IE, project confidence, be assertive, don’t fidget, etc. I’ve been dating off and on since college, and these are all lessons I’ve learned for myself in one way or another. Though the intent may seem dubious for some, it’s really not bad advice.
The assignments in the book are usually confidence builder exercises like “develop affirmations” or “take an improv class to work on your improvisation skills”. These are all pretty good ideas!
So far, if there’s only one fault with the audiobook, it’s that La Ruina himself doesn’t read it. I’ve expressed before that this is a bit of a downer when reading someone’s biographical account. However, the guy reading the book, Steve West, isn’t a bad reader by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard him before. In any case, it’s a minor bummer at absolute worst, and I eventually got over it.
I’m actually liking this book. I don’t think I’d have ever picked it up if I hadn’t seen those Super Seducer videos on Pro Jared Plays, weird as that sounds.
That being said, I can definitely see why the internet has decided to pick on La Ruina. Not necessarily for his advice, or the fact that his Super Seducer video games aren’t really video games so much as they’re FMV quizzes.
As it turns out, La Ruina is apparently not the best at taking criticism, constructive or otherwise. Taking advantage of YouTube’s broken copyright claim system, he’s done what many famous YouTube trolls have done over the years, and filed false copyright claims in order to take down any negative reviews people have made. And believe me, the reception to the game is pretty negative. This is the kind of dick move that kills any respect you may have generated dead right here. If it had just been a pickup artist putting out a lackluster gaming experience with ideaology that offends everybody’s neoliberal sensabilities, and nothing else came of it, I’m sure the community would probably think higher of the guy. Not MUCH higher, but Super Seducer probably wouldn’t be as infamous otherwise.
Furthermore, I’ve heard that in the upcoming Super Seducer 2, there are ways you can deviate from the task of picking up chicks altogether to seek revenge against the more popular YouTubers who have criticized La Ruina. I’ve heard you can supposedly launch a nuclear missile at Jim Sterling. I’ve heard Pro Jared is in there too somewhere.
This right here is the sort of passive-aggressive bullshit that does NOT win people over to your side. If anything, it only stirs the pot even further, and recruits people over to THEIR side. I get it that a pickup artist is too busy getting laid on a weekly basis to pay attention to internet culture, and thus hasn’t learned the extremely valuable rule of “don’t feed the trolls”, but even then, you’d think a guy who specializes in this sort of thing would be used to rejection by now.
of course, as of this writing, a lot of it is just hearsay that I picked up from Jim sterling’s Twitter. I don’t know how accurate it is, but Jim tends to be pretty straight forward, so I’m not going to be all that surprised.
So after all of this, where do I stand on La Ruina? Well, honestly, I’m mixed.
On one hand, it’s not hard to see why the internet has decided they hate him. He comes from a world where the end game is one-night-stands, and things like equal rights and what not are a bit of a nonissue. Also, as I said earlier, the guy clearly doesn’t take criticism well.
On the other hand… I can’t bring myself to hate the guy. Yeah, he’s a sleezy, passive-aggressive fuckboy… But in the grand scheme of things, he’s mostly harmless. It’s not like he’s running for congress or anything. [INSERT DONALD TRUMP JOKE HERE] Also, if you calm your inner PC bruh the fuck down, and actually give the guy’s book a chance, you might be surprised.
Then again, this wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been part of a fringe minority, so I won’t be surprised in the slightest if I’m officially the third most hated person on the internet after posting this. I say third because Bret Cavanaugh, and Linsey Lohan (believe it or not) have apparently set the bar pretty high as of this writing.