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.
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.
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.
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.
Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com