Thursday, May 3, 2012

Three Reasons the Video Game Industry Won't Be Taken Seriously Any Time Soon

Let's face it-- the video game industry is a joke. Like comic books before it, video games are often the martyr for the mainstream. With games like Duke Nukem portraying women as sexual objects and nothing more, gamers with a superiority complex even though all they are doing is playing with glorified, expensive toys, and people on message boards trolling companies as if that company ran over their dog, the industry has a long way before it is ever taken seriously. I have three reasons (but not only three) for why video games and gamers will seemingly forever be the butt of jokes in the world.

The industry provides consistent classy quality.
1) Fanboys and Trolls

Fanboys and trolls were around way before the Internet. The days of "Sega does what Nintendon't" had Nintendo fanboys and Sega fanboys beating on one another on playgrounds across the globe. With the advent of message boards it became even easier for people to make complete morons of themselves. If you are older than 18 and you behave in a manner where you take potshots at a company just to make the other side angry or vehemently defend a company that does not care about you at all at every opportunity, you should ask God to stop the ride so you can get off. There are honestly people who get off just on trolling people and will make numerous accounts after being banned time and time again to continue to troll. Constant arguments and pissing matches over which console is more powerful, laughing because you got a third party exclusive and your rival fan group didn't, and rubbing it in that Sony has low sales this generation don't do this industry any good. Grown adults acting like they're prepubescent teenagers only give a black eye to gaming. Even the press and developers aren't innocent of this. How many times have we've seen "Wii is two GameCubes duct-taped together" and "Call of Duty is a tired franchise unlike Battlefield 3" from people inside the industry? The video game arena is full of man-children, and a simple gaze at a gaming forum where discussions of games devolve into personal attacks and slander or the reactions at an E3 press conference are all that is needed to see this.

12 year old kids, or people with the maturity of one,
 should not have forum access.
2) The Hardcore Gamer

One of the most selfish and obnoxious groups in gaming is the "hardcore" gamer. Never have I been more embarrassed to be associated with this league of fools than this generation. After producing a console with hardware strength comparable to its competition, Nintendo's GameCube still failed to do well with the hardcore, even with a nice and steady library of games. With this failure, Nintendo tried a different approach towards gaming for everybody with the Wii. Now these hardcore gamers have the gall to claim Nintendo abandoned them? Seriously? Who actually abandoned who here? The hardcore had their chance, and they failed. It's not like Nintendo stopped making games for them either.

Hardcore gamers are also incredibly selfish as I previously stated. They constantly want more. They are never satisfied. "I'm going to boycott you if I don't get what I want!" When companies focus on the nontraditional gamer, they whine and moan. "Why aren't you paying 100% of your time and resources on us?" Heaven forbid we get the mainstream to take our hobby seriously and allow them to share in what we enjoy.

Or how about how complacent they are? If the industry worked like they wanted it to, we'd still be using a controller with one joystick and one button. They hate on new control inputs like motion controls because they're too incompetent to learn them. Same with touch controls like seen in Kid Icarus: Uprising. Hardcore gamers are just too lame to adapt, hate if they have to *gasp* go out of their precious comfort zones, and instead blame their ineptitude on the games/controls and not themselves, you know the true villains here. Note: I am not meaning to paint all hardcore gamers with one broad stroke. I realize there are many of us who do not behave like petulant children at all.

3) The Enthusiast Press

The group of man-babies that essentially act as another public relations branch for video game companies (at least the ones that they like), the enthusiast press often gets pandered by companies, getting free trips to foreign countries, party-like events, and free swag that could easily be worth hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. This goes into their reviews where they oftentimes sound overly emotional and hyperbolic. IGN is a great source of this. Who could forget the infamous "Oscar-caliber drama" passage from the Grand Theft Auto IV review? Or how about when they act as damage control for their precious companies such as defending Mass Effect 3's pitiful ending, and calling anyone who didn't like it and wanted it changed "entitled"? They not only have their hands in the pockets of the companies for which they review games for, but they're absolutely shameless in their actions. The enthusiast press is just another reason why video games will continue to be a laughingstock to the mainstream.

"You can't arrest me! This is an Oscar-caliber drama!"

Do you agree or disagree with my arguments? Sure, it's more interesting for discussion to disagree, but I'm always open for people who share my opinions. Let yours be known in the comments section.


Reggie White Jr. said...

The gaming industry is far from perfect and still has much to learn on the press, consumer, and developer/publisher side of the fence.

I avoid system war forums and similar boards like the plague because the stupidity that overloads those places is beyond belief.

I've had an editorial I've been wanting to write up for a while on my own blog concerning the hardcore gamer and you touched the exact points I was going to. Is mind reading one of your super powers, Phillip? =)

Rhythm Heaven Fever Guy said...

While I'd like to think that video games are gradually being regarded more and more as a legitimate art form, it's hard not to agree with you here. It's mostly the online community at fault here. As someone who's never owned a non-Nintendo system, it gets very tiring to hear the same old shots EVERYWHERE. If all these obnoxiously vocal people want is power in their systems, then just switch to PC and leave the ones who prefer consoles alone. (Ugh, PC elitists have become a pet peeve of mine) I tried not roll my eyes at the forum screenshot. If people were willing to look past the "mountain of shovelware" they keep claiming the Wii to have, they can find so many unique gems and revivals of old classics like Klonoa, DKC, and Punch-Out. I have never played things like Skyrim, Batman, or Uncharted so I can't give a fair judgement so I at least try to be respectful and I have done a better job at not allowing my massive bias get the better of me. But, of course, that's too much to ask for others to do on the Internet. As for the enthusiast press thing, the only gaming site I actively follow now is Screw Attack. To me they seem the most level-headed. Same thing with Neoseeker as far as forums go. Of course, I tend to stick with to stick to the Nintendo forums but that's beside the point.

Unknown said...

I obviously read your mind and stole your idea before you even knew you had it. I'm devious in that regard. :)

Thanks for the comment!

Matt Sainsbury said...

I think if you delve into the movie buff community enough you'll see much the same, and lord knows there's a lot of movie critics out there that don't deserve to be paid. Ever.

The problem with games press is that it's very hard for games publications to make money. Advertising revenue is very tight. Because of that, games press publishers can't pay much money to the journalists. I know first hand how underpaid professional games journalists are. When you go cheap, quality goes elsewhere.

There are a few exceptions to the rule, of course, but unfortunately this is not an industry that is going to be able to afford good quality journalists. Not now, not likely ever.

Parko said...

Solid points across the board. Especially in the case of IGN, man can they spin some shit. Not familiar with their oscar performance GTAIV review, so I'll have to check that out.

Chalgyr said...

The fanboy stuff in particular bugs me. I'm okay with having a favorite, with having preferences, or even disliking a certain title, but the way in which it is sometimes approached just amazes me at times. I like different things about different types of games on a variety of consoles - seems to me a lot of the time the over-angry fanboys waste time that could be better spent playing games instead of flaming titles they've probably never played instead.

Unknown said...

Before I forget, what is really sad is how quick it was to find a series of troll-filled posts on GameFAQs. Really awful.

Thanks for the comments, all!

VirtualAlex said...

Hmm I am a little troubled by what you said about the media jumping to Mass Effect's defense. I would argue the vast majority of media outlets where on the side of the vocal ending haters than on the side of BioWare. Many sites even had both opinions presented. Also who are you to say what is and is not legitimate in the spectrum of reporting video game news? Hating on the ME3 ending isn't unanimous, many people enjoyed the ending and that could have been a legitimate opinion rather than a buy-off.

Also I think it's ironic that you berate hardcore gamers for being selfish for demanding companies give them exactly what they want, yet you seemingly give a pass to the players demanding they get the ending they want from Mass Effect?

I'm sorry I don't mean to derail anything, it just seems like the mass effect example isn't a good one to make your point.

Unknown said...

Very good points, Alex. And no, you didn't derail!