Gaming has long since been one of the greatest forms of socialization, though curiously with the introduction of better technology, games are evolving while gamers themselves are de-evolving. The further along video games progress, the further consumers seem to completely revert to a more primitive state. Very few cultures are as spiteful, serious, or hard to please as the video game culture.
With my recent as well as more ancient treks through the internet, I have been unable to shake the sense of discomfort I get when I come across any clashing of opinions over a video game. There will be clashing of opinions over movies, television, books, and even sports, but the only group that comes close to this level of contempt are music fans.
Boasting with superiority complexes, these overly distraught music lovers arguing over which sub genres of metal are best offer no better vantage point than that offered by gamers. A music lover bashes Justin Bieber being mainstream, trolling all his music videos while on our end, gamers trash Call of Duty and find any excuse to bring it up in conversation. “WHAT??? You didn’t like this game??!?!! You MUST like Call of Duty. Get out of here, you filthy mainstream gamer, you”. A lot of the times, these comments have no grounds to exist. While I agree with Call of Duty being a dull and uninspired franchise, if I just so happen to come across an original game and don’t like it because it’s *shocker* poorly designed, does that automatically make me a “filthy casual that only plays Call of Duty“?
No. I come across these sorts of comments so regularly it’s disheartening. Nearly every time I watch or read a negative review of a game, fans of that game will revert to calling the reviewer biased and being a “Call of Duty fag with terrible taste in games”. Gamers are far too defensive and not logical enough to come to the conclusion that sometimes people aren’t going to agree with them.
Conversely, would you ever see this pretentious and insulting behavior from book lovers? “What??? You don’t like Moby Dick? I bet you like Catcher in The Rye because you’re an illiterate casual reader!!!!”. Do you see how ridiculous that sounds? That’s not how it goes and it isn’t how it should go.
We as a collective are so judgmental that we shut out potential newcomers from the scene. No one new to gaming wants to join such a fickle and consistently hard to satiate group of people. It is not fun to be a part of. If we want games to grow and become more and more accepted in society, we need to repress our anger and use better judgment when having debates so as to keep them from developing into full fledged flame wars.
Now of course, gamers aren’t all evil and devious. When people are open minded and accepting, there comes a very ethereal bond that develops between anyone who shares common interests. Nothing compares to the transcendent bond I develop with a stranger the second him/her and I are able to discuss games without name calling. An immediate level of intimacy is presented we share a common interest in game tastes, but even more than that, when we can agree to disagree a beautiful wave is set in motion. Conclusively stating why that is how it is can’t be done. It’s almost magical in nature.
At the end of the day, we are in this for more than just racial slurs and expletives. We are in this because we all come from the same thread. We love video games. Appearances, gender, races; they all become superfluous fluff. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all share interests, yet we diverge and disagree on things. However, in spite of any differences, an argument is easily settled by reminding yourselves you are part of one of the most amazing and social groups in existence. I don’t get quite the same excitement when I find out someone watches movies or listens to the same music I do. Perhaps it has to do with the level of social acceptance. Because games are still being shut down and not fully recognized to the same degree as other forms of entertainment, those of us that are in the scene; we get it. We’re a tightly knit consciousness of people that understand what we have and no uninformed non-gamer can sever the tie that binds us. We get it. Those on the outside don’t. That’s why I hope gamers grow up so that those shining moments of brilliance among our kind can shroud the ugly moments.