Gaming Kerfuffles

So, the gaming community has been in a bit of a kerfuffle recently. I read Murf’s post “I Am Gamer” with fascination; having not been keeping up to date with happenings in the gaming community over the recent weeks. Times have been busy with me, but I was fascinated to hear that things aren’t all well right now.

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I’ve seen a lot recently about what some have called “Gamer-Gate”.

Aside from an overuse of the already overused “gate” trope, it seems like the video games industry and journalists have hit a bit of a rough time with their fans.

An open letter from a group of 1,800 video game developers, blogged by Gamemoir, called for an end to “hateful, harassing speech” from within the gaming community. Essentially, what developers and a lot of journalists in the gaming community have been saying lately is that the gaming community has become toxic.

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There’s certainly a toxic atmosphere about, and the storm surrounding these comments on the internet airwaves are testament to it. Boycotts of certain gaming website have been championed, in favour for those who are seen as “pro-gamers”.

Honestly, as far as my thoughts go, gaming websites have never been paragons of journalism. IGN is still a favourite website of mine for a very general view of gaming news, but you’ll see 9/10 ratings for games that have a review which essentially reads – ‘yeah, it’s not bad’.

I think some people expect a little too much from gaming journalists. As for the developers though, I understand exactly where their comments come from.

Right now, in the gaming community there is undoubtedly too much hate and harassment, as the developers said in their open letter. There are those in the community that take it far too seriously. When I once dared to question the established paradigm of Teamspeak in Guild Wars 2 it provoked some incredibly aggressive responses across the internet. I won’t go into details and particulars, but many readers seemed to have taken personal offense at me suggesting an alternative perspective – and it provoked a personal and uniquely aggressive response.

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That response was only really a handful of the readership of the article, but they were the only ones who ever replied (in this case, on another website where they believed I wouldn’t be able to see their words). The most important lesson of my experience is that its the vocal minority that ruin the reputation and the fun for the majority.

Its a tough time for video games right now. Personally, I wouldn’t call myself a gamer; but that’s more for personal reasons of not playing games as much as I used to – adult life getting in the way and all that!

Murf is proud to call himself a gamer, but I know he’s nothing like the type of player that the developers were talking about in their letter. So is there a paradox in the tag of being a ‘gamer’? I don’t think so, if you call yourself a gamer then you are a gamer – as simple as that. It’s an identity and that’s decided on a personal level, its not an external prescribed thing.

Most of all, this whole episode is just gaming growing up. It’s going through the teenage years, full of conflicting thoughts and emotions and trying to form some kind of coherent identity as a media. It’ll get there, and this kerfuffle is therefore positive in a strange way because it means that progress is being made.

Growing up’s tough, but gaming’ll get there.

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Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

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6 thoughts on “Gaming Kerfuffles

  1. C. T. Murphy September 5, 2014 / 3:11 am

    I like your optimistic ending and agree.

    • Digital Salad September 5, 2014 / 5:17 pm

      Thanks for the comment, I’m glad you agree!

  2. Jeromai September 5, 2014 / 4:43 am

    The aggression is all in your mind. People use blog links and write responses to create a debate and discussion. Folks can disagree and have different perspectives, and speaking for myself, it was done in the hopes of giving your website more publicity during NBI and creating an additional voice to discuss GW2.

    Instead, since it appeared to have been taken so badly in the subsequent posts, and may have even turned you away from GW2, I dropped it and never brought it up again.

    • Digital Salad September 5, 2014 / 12:14 pm

      I always really appreciate your input. Talking of the WvW teamspeak blog in particular, I enjoyed debating with yourself. The main problem I had was that that post, and a few others at the time, went viral on GW2 reddit.

      Back then the GW2 community was at a particularly bad stage, feeling miserable about the games direction, and many redditors took that frustration out on my blog, posting very personal insults that they thought I wouldn’t ever read. That’s the hatred and harassment I meant, not good debating like that which we had.

      As for my GW2 play time, don’t beat yourself up about it. Life commitments started to increase just as many friends were drifting away from the game. I’d done all I’d wanted to, so it just got boring – hence why I don’t play it these days.

      Please keep commenting, I really enjoy discussing with you!

      Out of interest. Do you think of yourself as a gamer?

      • Jeromai September 5, 2014 / 12:40 pm

        Eh, most of Reddit and the forums are filled with people with nothing better to do than be vitriolic. Anet just caught the brunt of a fairly nasty backlash in the last few weeks. :/ Sad to hear that some of those found your way to your blog.

        As I mentioned over on Eri’s blog, I think of anyone who plays games as a gamer.

        Even the casual games on phone apps count, such as my mom, who pretty much just plays Sudoku and Mahjong endlessly. In fact, she’s scarily hardcore about it, timing herself to try and beat ‘easy’ Sudoku seconds and seconds faster.

        (But she refuses so far to go up to ‘medium’ for a greater challenge, which is maybe not so hardcore, but heck, she’s a lot more hardcore about Sudoku than I would ever be!)

        I guess I’m biased, I’ve wanted games to take over the world and become accepted as a regular hobby in mainstream society for a long time now.

        I believe more and more, that it’s getting there. I can actually share that I’m interested in games in casual conversations without getting -too- many odd looks, beyond some of the very old guard and older generations.

        So yes, I’m a gamer.

        The degrees of which I leave for someone else to debate over. eg. I own 600+ games on Steam, yet I tend not to be overly completionist on most.

        I’m sure I spend a much greater percentage of my life thinking about and playing games than many other people, but I invest very little of my ego in being competitive or ‘more hardcore than thou’ or more ‘Dark Souls-challenge-seeking’ trying to match up to some kind of ‘cool’ yardstick.

        I guess I’m a -mellow- gamer now. I just rather spend what time I have actually playing games than quibbling over labels or what other people think of me. 🙂

      • Digital Salad September 6, 2014 / 2:03 pm

        Thanks for commenting back!

        r/gaming and the Guild Wars forums are known for their vitriol, I definitely agree – and that’s kind of what I was getting at. There shouldn’t be such a problem with such mainstream gaming forums being controlled by such an angry mob.

        I really was interested to read what you say about what a ‘gamer’ is to you. I’d probably agree that your mum could be classed as a gamer of sorts, but I imagine she would never call herself one.

        Perhaps there’s a problem with the ‘gamer’ label. It’s something that we externally prescribed to others, yet at it’s heart it is an identity which can only be create within yourself.

        At the end of the day though, it doesn’t and shouldn’t matter whether anyone who plays games is a ‘gamer’ or not. I don’t class myself as a gamer, but that doesn’t mean I can’t blog about the games I play. It’s about being a bit more inclusive in the community, letting anybody who wants to play play how they want without any fear of retribution for their identity and desires.

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