Tuesday, November 20, 2012

That ONE Gaming Forum: How It Epitomizes All That I Dislike About Gaming Culture

Disclaimer: This is the final post about this subject. I will no longer be mentioning anything regarding it, and if I do, please scold me. Thank you and enjoy this opinion piece.

It seems that this week has a theme. Well, at least today and yesterday do. I have mentioned message boards so much over the past year that I am quite frankly sick of it. I'm sure you are too. That is why this is, as I said in the disclaimer, the final piece mentioning message boards and pretty much gamers (a certain brand) on SuperPhillip Central (perhaps I'll laugh at gaming culture some more, but in smaller, less frequent doses). This particular piece specifically relates to one of the gaming forums. I will not be making note of the actual name of the site, but it is a popular place for preeminent gaming discussion and news. If you have read my writing at all in the past, you know which one I'm alluding to. I even have an account there.

It is not so much that the site in question is a farce and is hypocritical. No, it's more to do with how the attitudes of that place reflect the attitudes of many message board gamers. I don't mean this in a positive sense either. With this final article talking about a certain site and certain gamers before we move on to happier things that you've come to expect from me, I hope to let my last thoughts on this matter be known.

My main problem with this certain site is its undeserved superiority complex-- how it mocks other similar sites for the same kind of behavior they provide 24/7. For instance, they constantly make fun of boards like System Wars, yet they partake in the same kinds of activities as that site. There are the same amounts of trolls and company cheerleaders as at System Wars. However, I don't recall the staff there participating in the trolling like this one site does... Peculiar, no?

This same message board is currently finding plenty of amusement in seeing the Wii U falter, just like so many other forums of its same ilk. Why are they, and gamers in general, so quick to jump to the conclusion and create the narrative that the Wii U is doomed and an absolute travesty of a launch? I mean, some are honestly comparing the numbers of players online for Call of Duty: Black Ops II on Wii U (a new console) compared to the Xbox 360 (a platform that had 6+ years to grow its user base) to nurture that narrative. This overreacting and negativity happens with all console launches, but why is that supposed to be a justification for something totally intolerable and inexcusable?

Picture from Kotaku
I thought gamers were supposed to be concerned to see a prominent player in the industry fail. If they go away, that can mean less competition. Less competition means possible complacency by the surviving companies. Don't we as gamers all win when game companies do well? Why is gaming culture so full of jerks who get joy over failure? Why exactly does this particular site have a superiority complex when it is really no better than places like GameFAQs and IGN comment sections?

It is just like the superiority complex that is exhibited on casual and non-gamers by "hardcore" gamers on message boards such as this forum I'm talking about. Somehow, someway, some gamers have adopted the opinion that they are better than casual and non-gamers simply because they play more and know more about video games than this group of newcomers into the industry. Back in my day, playing a lot of video games and talking about them a lot made you a loser. It was not something you wore as a badge of honor. I still don't think it's anything to be proud of, yet we still have gamers who do this. "Oh, he's playing Call of Duty again! What a joke! Learn to play real games like me! Go Bayonetta and Vanquish!" (Well, my strawman gamer has better grammar than usual, but you know what I mean.)

Then there is the obnoxious habit of gamers in overreacting to essentially EVERYTHING, it feels like. Not only that, but they just love to throw in some hyperbole as well. I can't tell you how many times I've read on this particular place I keep referring to where a game or console is the best ever or worst ever. It seems like everything is either the greatest or garbage. There is little room for anything in-between most of the time. This is habitual for a lot of gamers on message boards-- not just the subject forum of this article, more than I would like to see.

Hopefully this IS the final time I will ever utter "message boards" on SuperPhillip Central. Note that there are very good places and communities for gamers to gather. I mean those places no harm or ill will. There are also millions of less vocal gamers who don't embarrass themselves or show themselves to be hypocrites on a daily basis. I'm an expert on being a hypocrite, so they're in good company! In all seriousness, though, for every type of gamer I dislike, there are countless other gamers that conduct themselves well. It's just that the most vocal gamers tend to be the ones that leave a more lasting, negative impression. It's like that with the site in question too. However, whereas they would be reprimanded on other forums, they are allowed to roam free and ruin discussions on an hourly basis. Hardly superior at all, wouldn't you say? Tsk tsk.

It's also important to note that there are things that I do like about gamers. I like their enthusiasm towards games. I like the community aspect behind gamers. I like... You know, I feel like Mitt Romney here. "I like cars... I like teachers... I like Big Bird..."

Nonetheless, the site I talked about simply symbolizes all that I detest about gaming culture, from its superiority complex in general and over non and casual gamers, to its tremendous amounts of hyperbole over seemingly every subject, game, and piece of news. If that aforementioned site stands as the preeminent community for video game news and discussion and best represents us gamers, then no wonder this industry I love isn't taken seriously at all. In fact, this hobby is constantly made out to be a joke instead because of such people and places. Well, ha-ha, gamers. Your beloved hobby currently is a joke, so what are you going to do about it?

With that I leave these parting words by a user who apparently shares my thoughts in at least one regard:

Will I ever stop being so salty about gaming culture? Probably not, but I will stop talking about it so much. If I somehow do slip in another slam towards a message board, confront me about it, as I am promising not to speak of it on this site again... at least for a looooong time. Also, the posts I copied only all reference the Wii U as that was the easiest subject to swiftly see embarrassing comments on.

No comments: