Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Toxic attitudes in gaming

YouTube commentators give their opinion on an opinion.
Recently I have finished the unexpected success of this year, Naughty Dog’s Last of Us.
However I hadn't touched the game until a few weeks ago when I purchased a PS3.
Before that my prior knowledge of the game was entirely dependent on gaming media and word of mouth.
While most reviews were quick to give the game ten out ten, singing its praises upon a roof and holding out the game disc to gamers akin to Simba at the beginning of
The Lion King.
One review dared to criticize the game.
One review had the audacity to give the game the worst of all scores… an eight.

I had always had an amusing interest in gamers reactions to game reviews, however I was simply confused at the reaction to Tom Mc Shea’s Gamespot review of
Last of Us.
The sheer anger directed towards Tom was incredible, YouTube’s “thumbs up or down” metric system at a quick glance can sum up with the downvotes over pushing upvotes 8:1.
Granted having the “yay or nay” opinions of 9294 votes verse the overall views of 149,077 is pushing it in regards to analyze.

Recently Gamespot came under fire once again for daring to Grand Theft Auto V a once again outrageous score of nine.
Reviewer Carolyn Petit took issue with the games misogynistic approach to presenting woman, however still enjoyed the game overall.
Despite giving the game a nine out of ten (a near perfect score), she got called things which I will not repeat here.
There was a petition (which later got pulled) calling for her immediate sacking because
“I think its unfair to drop a score based on your own political/moral issues”.
Carolyn was not the only one to have the audacity to see problems in GTA5.

Greg Tito’s review for
Escapist Magazine gave the game a three and half stars out of five, in his review he clearly states that while the mechanics are sound, he takes personal issue with the characters and the motives, he didn’t see the fun to be had.
The backlash he received caused him to write another article just to defend his review, and the website had another writer (Bob Chipman) write an article defending all reviews.
Whilst yet another Escapist writer wrote a piece in effect debunking their site review saying the game is great and saying there wasn’t really an issue after all.

Why have we come to this?
Why do gamers have to be so toxic?

We all know about the console wars and “The PC master race”, the raw essence of fanboyism.
But I simply don’t understand.
Why do we have to take things so personally when it comes to entertainment.


I am of the opinion that games are an art-form.
However a lot of it is entertainment, a thing to do to get away from the real world for a bit.
Stick of school? Go play some World of Warcraft. Rough day? Play some Halo.
There is
nothing wrong with being a fan of something and enjoying it.
There’s also nothing wrong with debating games and defending them in a civilized sense.
But that’s the problem, gaming for the most part isn't civilized.

I think Uncharted is a dull game, however why would I even want to debate it if all I will receive is “UR A STUPD XBOX FANBOY LELEL G0 PLAY SOME GAYLO”.
Why should I bother arguing for female characters who are more than bikini models if the only argument placed against me is being “a femnazi”.

I am not against swearing (I swear a lot more than I really should during games and conversations), but I am against the consistent toxicity of gamers.
The industry isn't helping, they love it.
I mean who wouldn't want a bunch of people ready to defend your product against your competition?

Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and even to a lesser degree Valve all benefit from gamers being overly attached to a brand.
I tell you if Karl Marx was here, I am sure he would add something about the fanboy wars in
The Communist Manifesto.

We are always so quick to say to the media that we’re adults and games are not for kids.
However I can easily imagine the face of someone who doesn't play video games listening in to a match of
League of Legends.
In our quest to make gaming “legitimate”, I think many people have taken the defensive attitude to an extreme, not just attacking those who take issue with the medium, but attacking each other.
You don’t see this with other art forms in nearly the same way.
I have never heard of a Warner Brothers fanboy or someone refusing to watch movies from Universal because of that thing they did a couple years ago.
Yet we see this attitude all the time in gaming.
It’s almost as if being consumer is the game itself, the game isn't really playing the game, but defending that piece of plastic you brought against another piece of plastic which in reality does pretty much the same thing.

This doesn't help the games themselves either.
Not all games can be EVE where being a douche is a core mechanic, I don’t see how being overly aggressive at a new player over voice chat in
Team Fortress 2 is constructive.
The majority of people don’t play games to get yelled at for little reason, it’s a massive turn off.
I know people who refuse to play games over the internet for this very reason, and honestly how can I blame them.
I might be able to personally take abuse for my Brony themed Steam avatar, but not all can.
Some play (shockingly) games for fun, however in an age where you play online for the pure sake of leveling up and getting the perfect kill/death ratio, fun is something which itself has been left by the wayside.

I enjoyed my time in
BRINK (yes I liked that game), however I didn't get personally offended by reviews which said the game was rubbish, nor do I feel the urge to call anybody who thought the game was bad an unsavory name.
I can accept opinions, but it seems gaming media pushes gamers to think a certain way.
When every member of the gaming press is writing articles about how good
Bioshock Infinite is going to be and then everybody giving it a perfect score, in what place is there for a differing opinion.
Gamers feel the urge to fight all the time and compare, I don’t get it.

I felt that Last of Us was an amazing game and I certainly will go back to it, however it isn't the perfect and flawless masterpiece gamers try and defend it as.
Because at the end of the day, what game is?

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