Under capitalist ideology, modes of rebellion against the structure of authority are easily swallowed by ideology and used to its own benefit. In capitalism, rebellion and conflict do not break the system. Conflict has always been its central governing force, from the competition that occurs between companies, to the perpetual drive for growth required for corporations to remain relevant. Nowhere is this more true than in sega’s famous arcade piece, Crazy Taxi. Despite the rebellious, individualistic appearance of the player characters, egged on by a pop-punk soundtrack, they are in fact the best prepared to operate in the system they have been thrust into, where money and ruthless efficiency are the two most important things in existence.
The decision to cut through traffic, run over boxes and cause reckless endangerment to others in order to save several seconds on your cab fare follows a very similar logic that a corporate executive might follow, albeit on a far larger scale: dumping waste into the ocean to save costs, improving your company’s efficiency by firing your staff and replacing them with machines, and so on.
We are often using the term “crazy” to express some kind of anarchic feeling of nonchalance, an ignorance of social structures, a sense of rebellion and a commodified “extremeness”. However, we start every game with the orders to make “crazy money.” We are told to do actions that supposedly break down societal norms, but we do it to supplement the mechanisms that govern the exact same society. The only rational conclusion we can make in the end is that, the Taxi isn’t really Crazy at all: everything it does is totally calculated.
The Offspring states that “all they want” is to not be controlled, but when our ideology is unexamined, we become more controlled the more we resist it. The taxi drivers both get to feel as if they are rebels against the system while also supplementing it. This is the most hideous part about ideology: when we believe we are escaping it, we are in fact driving deeper into it.
When your grade is tallied in Crazy Taxi, 2500 dollars counts as a “B”. If this fact is observed from a distance, it’s rather absurd: a working class taxi driver, making 2500 dollars in an average of 5 minutes, counts as average. My God, It’s as if your driver is being judged along the standards of a stockbroker, or a high-end banker.
While advertisement is noticeably reduced in the second and third installments (though not completely removed,) the new setting pick up the slack for that in another way. 2 takes place in a direct analogue of New York, America’s economic centre, and 3 is set in Las Vegas, whose entire foundation is based on gambling. A background of gambling synchronizes perfectly with Crazy Taxi; gambling is something that society publicly shames even as it continues to grow economies and supplements public schools, public works, whatever. This implicit permission underneath scorn is what drives the actions we commit in Crazy Taxi, we are destructive and supposedly causing chaos on the polite surface level, but actually doing our duty on the level below.