Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Gamers, Grow Up

People like to defend things they're fans of; local sports teams, bands, their favorite movies, and video games.  Some people can take this too far, and it's often in the realm of sports (see: riots).

What I want to focus on , is how we, as gamers, are taking things a little too far.  Not to a violent extent, but how we are perpetuation the perception that gamers are spoiled, whiny man-children  (or woman-children if you prefer).

I am an equal-opportunity judgement-passer.

Note, I'm sure this won't cover everyone, just a VERY vocal portion of the community.  

The first point I want to bring up is how DEFENSIVE gamers are as a group.  I have never seen a group of hobbyists make as much noise as gamers.  "HEY, LOOK AT ME, TAKE MY HOBBY SERIOUSLY, IT'S A LEGITIMATE THING!".  I would accept this behavior more if it was the '80s, or early '90s, but now?  Not so much.

The following numbers come from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).  In 2009, entertainment software added $4.9 Billion dollars to the United States GDP (total country wealth).  In 2011, the video game industry pulled $25 billion dollars in revenue, with game software (games, DLC, social games, etc) accounted for $16 billion of that.

The point of these numbers are to state that yes, video games are a legitimate form of entertainment.  Yet time and time again, I see people posting things that just seem to be a cry for attention, for validation that yes, their hobby isn't about to be marginalized.  This is annoying to me, because they're helping perpetuate a stereotype that was started years ago.  Gamers are loud, obnoxious people who live in their parent's basement and is overly fanatical.

While this stereotype isn't fully true anymore, as a whole, gamers are very loud.  I have NEVER seen a post on Facebook that reads "I'm a real booker, I live many lives because the one I live isn't as exciting", or "Only a few PROUD Moviers will repost this".  You just don't see that!  I want the stigma that goes with calling yourself a gamer to go away as much as anyone, but it's not going to if we keep prancing about like petulant children who need to hear their own voice.  Hell, the only other entertainment industry where I see behavior like this is among some fans of professional wrestling!

Seriously guys?

To make matters worse, according to the ESA, the average gamer is age 30.  The Average age... is 30, and they've been playing for, on average, 12 years.

How is it that people who've grown up with gaming, still have this mindset?  This, I cannot fathom.  I thought people would have enough social graces to handle themselves like functioning human beings.  

Speaking of dysfunctional human beings, I'm being brought to point two.

Self-entitled fans.  

I'm talking about the fans that voted Electronic Arts the worst company in America in the Consumerist online survey 2 years in a row.  Apparently, a video game company is worse than businesses that have shady practices.

Worst company in America because...  A game didn't end the way you wanted?  They put always on DRM in Sim City?  Non-essential micro-transactions?  Seriously, that's what you're worked up about?  The fact that this survey was online-only doomed EA from the beginning, because only people who spend a lot of time on the internet would worry about this, and vote on it.  This made it ripe for gamers to abuse.  

These are the same types of people who will complain that they want a sequel to a game, but will turn on it if the game is too different from the original game, or if it's too similar.  If I recall correctly, I saw people griping at StarCraft II because some of the stuff was too similar to the original game, and others complaining because they changed too much, or that some units were gone.  

Yes Kobe, I agree.

There's a fine line between voicing your opinions, and being insufferable about it.  


Casual game are the scum of gaming, and the players shouldn't be considered real gamers.

Way to be an exclusionary jerk..

The biggest problem with this group is that they express outrage when somebody doesn't share their opinion.  Looking at the Mass Effect 3 ending fiasco, I pulled this exchange off of a Kotaku comments thread. Paraphrased of course, for brevity.  

Person A: I thought the ending fit [the game's theme].
Person B: Then clearly you haven't played the first two games.  Watch this video.
Person C: (to Person A) If you're gonna troll, at least be less obvious.

These people REFUSED to believe that anybody could like something that they despised.  This is why they target games like Call of Duty, Social Games, and almost anything EA does, because in their mind, it's the bane of gaming, and should be universally reviled.  If I went on there and said there's good reason for those games to exist, and that I like Madden, Final Fantasy XIII, and a few other games, they'd go frothing at the mouth and resort to ad hominem attacks.  These people consider those who like these games beneath them, as lesser gamers, or worse.  I've touched on the exclusionary nature of gaming before, so I won't cover it again.  

I will put this out there, I do frequent parts of the internet where this behavior is prominent, so your experience may vary.

That is what the internet has led us to.  Little room for civil discussion, lots of room for unwarranted personal attacks.  Honestly, I don't know how we can fix this vocal minority from perpetuating these negative connotations with the word 'gamer'.  Once people start treating games like movies, board games, and books, this problem should subside.  

As always, if I made an error, or something isn't clear, feel free to let me know.  If you disagree, also feel free to let me know.

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