Wednesday, October 3, 2012

One of My Biggest Problems With Gaming: Gamers Themselves

That's a provocative editorial title. You may also refer to this editorial as "Phil Complains About Gamers for the 766th Time." While gamers are nowhere near as burdensome as on-disc DLC, season passes, nickel and diming players for every little thing, developers releasing broken ports of their popular games to other platforms, and a profusion of other problems, they are a perpetually annoying part and necessary evil of this hobby. This article discusses how gamers just irritate me to no end and more importantly, why. Call this a rant, something I don't generally do that often on this site (I've been due for one for a while now). Now, don't get me wrong -- I don't mean to generalize, so if I say "gamers," I am talking about some or a lot of gamers, and not all gamers as a whole.

First, let's talk about Nintendo's new ad campaign (video here) meant for non-gamers/more casual players. Now, regardless of the fact that the casual boat has sailed for Nintendo as that group constantly moves onto the next new, shiny thing, the commercial shows Olympic gold medalist Gabrielle Douglas playing New Super Mario Bros. 2 and saying that she isn't a gamer, she's a coin-collecting champion. In any other hobby, the message would be clear, but as I argue all the time --  a lot of gamers are super defensive, insecure morons -- at least the ones that frequent online. They took the message as Nintendo saying that the company is distancing itself from gamers when the commercial does not say such a thing at all. 1) The commercial isn't intended for them, and 2) Even if the ad said "I'm not just a gamer; I'm a coin-collecting champion," I'm sure we'd still have people complaining. Apparently, game companies have to spell things out as gamers must be simpletons.

One of the two ads in question.

I've seen many people say the commercial is insulting to them and longtime Nintendo fans. Talk about missing the point, overreacting, and looking stupid in the process (all three are common with gamers). Exactly how the commercial is insulting is beyond me.The idea that this new ad campaign by Nintendo is meant to be insulting to gamers and giving the middle finger to all of their fans blows my mind in negative ways. That would be fine if that was the point. It is not the point, however, to anyone with half a brain and the ability to think for themselves, which admittedly is not your typical gamer. The point is to convey that the celebrity isn't just identifying herself as a gamer, but identifying herself as something related to the game she's playing. It'd be like if Sony had an ad that said, "I'm not a gamer, I'm a professional racer," for a game like Gran Tursimo. The person is saying she is deeply a part of the game. It's not meant to say "gamer" is a naughty word, so no, Nintendo did not insult anybody, indirectly or not. If you want an actual insult, here's one for you: *deep breath* Gamers are childish, inconsolable man-babies who bitch and moan about everything even when they have all the attention and have more games than they can possibly play.

This is essentially just a very vocal group of gamers making mountains of mole hills, creating conflict where there shouldn't be any, and intentionally keeping their heads up their collective asses. Saying something is an indirect insult. How is it possible to be this obtuse? I have no idea. It makes the majority of gamers look awful.

I don't understand why people in our hobby feel the need to brand themselves with the term "gamer", as if it is some badge of honor. I don't see enthusiasts of books calling themselves bookworms in a sense as a means to be better than someone else. Do most of these people feel so inadequate that they have to brand themselves to feel superior to other people (casuals)? No wonder people are so damned pathetically defensive over this ad campaign. And yes, there is still a social stigma to play video games, and deservedly so. It routinely presents itself as an incredibly immature hobby, and one of the reasons is how gamers conduct themselves.

Hypothetically, let's say the ads were to distance Nintendo from gamers. Is it any wonder why someone would want to do that? Look at message boards, look at comments sections. Console zealotry is everywhere. It's common on GameFAQs, it's common on various gaming news sites like IGN, GameSpot, GameTrailers, etc, it's common on N4G, and it's even common on the site that pretends it's the greatest gift to gaming discussion when it's just as bad as the aforementioned sites, NeoGAF. All of these places have the same console and fanboy war debates, and the only thing that distinguishes them from one another is a different coat of paint. I constantly shake my head at posts and comments I read. We have Nintendo fans who feel betrayed by the ads, and we have the anti-Nintendo brigade using this as another attack point. The constant console wars are obnoxious -- it makes a plethora of people look bad, and it gives the industry's reputation a black eye. I would be ashamed to show the actions of many gamers to anyone outside of our hobby. I can see why (again, hypothetically) Nintendo would want to distance themselves from gamers if the commercials were intended to do that (which, again, they weren't). Hell, I don't want to be associated with gamers a lot of the time, and looking at what has transpired over the past month helps me with that ideology.

Let us not forget Bayonetta 2. Nintendo takes a game that was dead and in its grave, puts money into it to get it published, and now a lot of people are pissing their pants with rage about that. They'd rather the game be dead than have to shell out money for a Nintendo console. Seriously? The fanboyism by many gamers is that bad? Yes, it really is. Gamers are insatiable. They complain that Nintendo has no third-party support or exclusives worth buying, Nintendo gets a game that they would want, and now they're mad because of that! Nintendo is damned if they do and damned if they don't, but this isn't about that. This is about the severity of the reaction that happened after that. Nintendo and Platinum Games received a myriad of tweets, some even being death threats. Death threats. There are even petitions against the game now. Every time I say that gamers can't embarrass themselves more, they somehow pull through for me and make themselves look even worse.

Apologies for the foul language, but
that's the least of this pic's problems.
Then there is any time a game gets a review score that is lesser than what fans of the game or console it appears on expect. We saw this with Eurogamer's Uncharted 3 review ("oh, no, an 8/10! How dare you, Eurogamer! We were tight, but no longer!"), we saw this with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (8.8) -- one of the most embarrassing displays of hating on a great score ever, and we now see it with Resident Evil 6. We're in a young industry where many gamers just cannot handle someone else having a different opinion than them. By the way, how the %#% does anyone with an iota of professionalism make a post about the reaction of a bunch of fanboys and passes that off as news? Fanboys act irrationally -- faux news at 11. Someone who also proclaims himself to be a "gamer" writing several news pieces every time a fan group does something stupid and making that "news" is a good example of the childishness of this hobby. And these aforementioned message board gamers eat it right up. You get the content and journalistic reporting you deserve, and our industry's gamers certainly deserve what they get.

8.0 is still a great score, no?
Isn't the review text more important anyway?
You might be wondering why I wrote all of this. It's just that I've had my limit of this crap. I'm absolutely tired of making excuses as to why this hobby is so underdeveloped in maturity. Between people getting offended that they aren't being marketed to 100% of the time or purposefully misconstruing a message for their own agendas, people feeling threatened that casuals are entering THEIR hobby, people being overly defensive and sensitive about everything, people consistently entering console/fanboy wars with other like-minded individuals ("My faceless corporation is better than yours!"), game journalists also participating in such wars and/or adding fuel to the fire (you know who you are -- the 100+ of you), and the genuine obnoxiousness of this hobby and the gamers that it contains is all just maddening to me. I know many who no longer want to call themselves gamers because they feel humiliated to associate themselves with the select many that make the hobby appear so sophomoric. I can't help but empathize. Is there a reason that when I start a Google search for "Gamers are" I get results that say "Gamers are losers", "Gamers are entitled", "Gamers are embarrassing", "Gamers are idiots", among others? All of the search results shown are negative. Regardless, will gamers start acting their ages? Sadly, I don't see this happening any time soon when a score of 8.8 makes an entire fan group rage, when a developer receives death threats, and "the preeminent community for video game news and discussion" is just like every other gaming message board on the planet -- a haven for immaturity and console wars.

Thank you for reading my rant on gamers and the current state of affairs with this entertaining hobby. If you have your own thoughts on the matter, feel free to leave a comment. 

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