Disagreements have been around since the beginning of time. Shut up, yes they have.
Video games are not unlike movies, books, or TV shows in how subjective their quality can be. All of these will have their aficionados who know the names and biographies of all their favorite industry people, part-time fans who only dip in once in a while, and the more common “J. Everyman” middle ground. Within all of these interest levels will naturally be a host of varying genre preferences, gore appreciation, different senses of humor, levels of profanity toleration, blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda. The variety is nearly infinite.
To find someone that is exactly like you as a fan is impossible.
And yet, lately, there seems to be this expectation that everyone should think exactly the same and like all of the same games as if there is a factually correct list somewhere. Disagreement is fine; like I said above, it’s inevitable. And that’s a good thing!
…Or at least it should be a good thing.
Disagreement can be the root of an interesting discussion about games and preferences, lifestyles and circumstances — an enlightening exchange of ideas and perspectives. But anymore, it just seems like disagreement causes people to dig in their heels and insult anyone who doesn’t think and feel exactly the way they do.
Do you dislike a game? Get ready to be called an idiot, a jackass, and whatever else.
Do you like a game? Get ready to be called an idiot, a jackass, and whatever else.
To reiterate, I am still talking about video games. Why the discussion of video games brings out hostility, I’m not sure. I can’t relate to thinking less of a person because they like a certain video game, book, movie, show, or song. These are subjective experiences. The only thing that’s 100% fact, is the fact that how likable they are is 100% opinion.
The most recent flame fuel is Destiny. I’ve never even played this game, but I find myself having to defend its fans from aggressive comments all the time. In any comment thread about Destiny, someone will walk in and take a piss on the game — OK, OK, no harm there — but when someone says something as harmless as “Oh, well I like it,” the fireworks begin.
That’s the only thing you need to say, sometimes, and not just with Destiny, but with any game. All you need to say is that you like something, and out come the wolves. I’ve seen insults as simple as name calling, to as insane as physical threats, religious damnation, fat shaming, and all kinds of other garbage. I’ve seen it all.
My favorites are the ones where people call others “sheep” for liking a certain game, not realizing the irony. “You’re a sheep for thinking the same way as someone else. Now come over here and think like me!” Um….
The crazy thing is, I don’t even like Destiny. I don’t have it. I don’t want it. It doesn’t appeal to me at all. But see, I don’t go around with some kind of inferiority complex thinking that anyone who does like it is mindless. The amount of name-calling over video game opinions is reminiscent of an elementary school playground — except I think elementary school children cry a little bit less.
Just while I was writing this, no joke, this comment appeared on the Playlist article:
With a username like “itwascrapandsoisthissite,” you know he made that Disqus account for the singular task of walking in and shouting about how he hated a game. Now, that’s fine to hate a game. But he can’t accept that some people just enjoy it and leave it at that. No no, it must be a conspiracy. There must be some kind of backdoor deal going on. “Yes, yes, that’s it!”
It highlights a certain kind of paranoia in the gaming world as well as raging insecurity. If you think differently than someone else, it’s like that person’s first instinct is to discredit you somehow, as if your disagreement signals that one of you must have some kind of flaw… “and it sure can’t be me!”
Is it an issue with anonymity? The user above continues to make new accounts for practically every string of comments, my favorite of which is “gofyourselfpslifestyle.” He’s actually made some perfectly reasonable ones over the years. See:
Nothing wrong there, that’s a good comment; but it’s weirdly the same user cycling through one of a dozen different handles. Does he know that he’s being kinda childish and want to hide that from his usual login? Well, at least he’s not going directly after another commenter here. The worst is when it happens in the comment sections, when we see namecalling and mockery over something as simple as video game preferences.
“But Destiny is false advertising! It–” doesn’t matter.
“But people who play Call of Duty are just–” doesn’t matter.
“Only idiots play Nintendo games. They–” doesn’t matter.
None of that has anything to do with the person you are talking to, and none of that refutes my point here. If you are one of these people that goes after someone just because of a video game — I don’t mean with simple questions or harmless comments, but with name calling, veiled threats, lifestyle judgements, or other bullshit — ask yourself why. Why are you taking it to that level? Do you think it validates your own view somehow?
What do you hope to gain? What do you expect to achieve? What kind of response do you anticipate? And, again, is someone actually a dumb person or a whatever-you’re-calling-them in your comment? Are they really, just because they think Gun Game 4 was better than Gun Game 5, or because they’re a big fan of DriveCars, or because they didn’t enjoy Super Fight Man? Is that really something you drop the gloves and go to battle over? Would you utter the things you’re saying if you were in person having the discussion?
There’s a time to be mad — and someone else liking or disliking a video game is not that time. There’s a time to swear at people — and someone else liking or disliking a video game is not that time.
All that does is contribute to the stereotype that gamers are incapable of intelligent discussion. All that does is set the industry back. We’re better than that. Aren’t we?
Let’s get angry about bullshit that goes on in the industry, sure. If you see Fishing Time 2 as dumb, then hey, call the game dumb. Call something a scam if you think the DLC plan sucks. Talk about what would be better. Hell, I do that all the time. Diss a game’s graphics, story, or even box art if you want. By all means, voice your opinion about games and business practices till the cows come home, just not your fellow gamers. Do we really need to attack other gamers because they feel differently than you about video games? Come on, people.
Let’s keep it about games, not each other. We don’t need to have a gamer civil war here.
Update: Some people just can’t talk without being hostile.
A while ago, a user was banned from PSLS for utterly refusing to have conversations without berating other community members. Multiple people got sick of it, and despite warnings and cautions, she lashed out and got a ban. She then followed me to other websites and began to spam up any article where I was found commenting. She’s got to have way better things to do than to invest that much time following someone around the internet harassing them about video games. Not even a full day after this article was posted, this happened:
Nothing added to any discussion, just pure, unfiltered hate. This kind of thing isn’t healthy for the gaming community.
When I was visiting family recently, certain people asked me, “Oh, and you still write about games, right? Oh my goodness, do you get stalkers and that? Because I heard some people get crazy over that!” I was sad to say yes, I did indeed have this online stalker following me around. And that yes, someone did post several times and email me saying he wanted to cut my head off over my Lightning Returns Final Fantasy XIII review.
The general public’s perception of gamers is that they’re a hostile, immature, dangerous bunch. Can’t we at least try to change that?