Time is something I find I have a lot of these days and as such I’ve been getting my gamer on. Of course this means I’ve been checking out the latest news and much to my blood pressures’ horror there have been a number of things showing up to piss me off. If I had to boil it down to one thing, it would be the immaturity of gamers and their over reactions to a variety of issues of late. By over reacting so much, the genuinely important problems are either overlooked or worse, just chalked up to ‘stupid fanboy rage.’
Things began to percolate in my head after hearing about the Dead Island Riptide Collectors’ Edition and the controversy that surrounded it. Personally I thought the statue in question was very much in bad taste, however I don’t think it was done to titillate the would be buyers. If the statue was supposed be sexy then it makes me worried about the state of some peoples minds, and that’s really not a road I want to travel down. Instead I think this was just a poorly conceived idea; sure my view might be a bit naïve, but it helps me sleep at night.
|The Statue at the centre of the controversy.|
Getting away from my own opinions for a moment, I saw a lot of angry people outraged at this collector edition. Now it’s fine to not be happy with the statue, I’m not going to sit here and say that people who have problems with this item should just chill out. However the way people go about raising the issue is where I have problems.
First, we have a fairly significant amount of people who are angry over this issue that really have no stakes in the matter what so ever. They may have not even known about it until they read someone else’s post or news article about it. Instead of forming their own opinions they latch onto the perceived problem and join the lynch mob. Of course it’s often hard to control a lynch mob and sometimes unfortunately the innocent monster is burnt alive because of this frenzied rage. This is the same with important ideas and problems raised within the gaming community. Sometimes any meaningful discussion is destroyed in all of the uncontrollable fury.
The second issue raised in my mind over the Riptide debacle, is the hijacking of an issue. Now while I myself didn’t see the statue as misogynist, I can understand if others do. This is an ideal arena for discussion and for a better understanding to be reached. Conversely I did notice a lot of male voices taking the lime light over this controversy and acting like an unneeded white knight. Why would this be a problem? Surely a male can speak about such controversies? You are right, but when some of the male voices yell and threaten those who don’t see the sexism, it really does hurt the discussion. It does become hard to sift through outrage to find the kernels of a decent debate.
|Oh how Colonial Marines infuriated people, and with justification.|
Moving away from Dead Island, let’s look at another over reaction. We come to the well-used shores of ‘Boycottville’. There are plenty of things that can make a gamer angry. Just last month we had the Simcity debacle and the Alien: Colonial Marines false advertising hoopla. A common reaction seems to be calling for a boycott of the game, and then buying it anyway in a week’s time.
Boycotting seems to have become the banner which many people wave and honestly over time it becomes a joke. I’ve seen many a gamer cry out that they are boycotting a game over the most minor of offenses, yet still buy the game on day one. This alone makes the anger of the boycott seem little more than a temper tantrum. This lessens the veracity of true boycottable issues because the developers can't see which issues are a problem and which are just nerd rage.
Boycotting is also used as a smokescreen for preference. When I say ‘Console War’ many a gamer imagines a fight having lasted generations, sometimes even extending out to consoles that haven’t even warped into existence. People on the side of PS3 will boycott the Xbox360, Xbox360 users will boycott the Wii and thus the circle of fanboy rage continues. Yet having these superficial divisions is downright stupid. Enjoy all the consoles I say! (Then again, I am an Orange Lantern). Not only does this tit for tat argument exclude a whole bunch of games for a player but as I said above, it forces the industry to skim over or downright ignore the genuine complaints being put forward as it all blends in with other grievances and yet again comes across as just a temper tantrum.
|The lynch mobs dedicated to burning Mass Effect to the ground was fascinating.|
Over reaction of gamers’ in my mind is an extremely negative thing to the industry. Video Games is really the baby of entertainment mediums and with more and more indie games being released with an artistic flair, it seems as if the industry is really on the edge of becoming a much more respected forum for artists. Take movies, books, art - they all have champions of their forms and while there are plenty of people who over react, there is room for actual discussion and growth.
Video Games do have their intelligent voices trying to grow the medium as a whole, but they seem to be constantly masked by the often louder, more obnoxious ones and it’s stunting any meaningful dialogue. It’s a problem any real movement has and it’s very much engrained in the root of our society but Video Games seem to have a harder time than most trying to overcome this immature rage.
|We all feel like this sometimes, but we've got to talk ourselves down.|
It could be because of the rise of the internet and how it seems to be very tied to the video games industry. It’s easy to have an opinion; it’s even easier to have an angry opinion when you’re shielded behind an anonymous name. For a while I was part of this rank and file but I get tired of just mindlessly hating things. One of the reasons I made this blog was to try and tackle the things I love but take the fan-boyism out of the equation.
So what is the solution? Don’t really have a much of one, other than raising the issue over and over again. When you see something that infuriates you, makes you angry; just take a moment and think about the entire picture. Talk to others, throw in the devil’s advocate, try and look at all angles. Only by encouraging dialogue and not outrage, can we truly move Video Games forward. We are right at the edge of greatness; we don’t want to wreck that.
So the last thing to say is my name is Daniel Hobson and I’d like to talk about Video Games.