Before beginning this “mini-series,” if you will, I want to throw out a few disclaimers.
1.) These articles are NOT “bashing” articles. Rather, they are my views and opinions regarding the discussed groups, in which at the end of the series I hope to bring focus to positivity. These are not meant for negativity, though they may contain some topics that are.
2.) There will be multiple articles; I have three planned, in total. I would love to discuss the topic(s) at hand with anyone willing to discuss, but please read all the articles to get a full understanding of what I am trying to say.
3.) Did I mention these are just my views and opinions on the gaming world in general? I did? Ok, cool, then let’s remember not to take anything too seriously or personally. That being said, I hope that perhaps one or more of my ramblings will strike a chord with you. So, let’s get started!
There have been many discussions lately regarding gaming journalists, game manufacturers (both hardware and software), and the gamers themselves; most of which are negative in nature. Stories of sex scandals between devs and journalists, negative spin on positive press, ridiculous death threats on manufacturer CEOs, unexpected hardware sales, and – at the time of this writing – words taken out of context by Mr. Miyamoto-san. I will be calling people out with these articles of mine, not with hostile intentions, but with a sincere goal, which I will make sure is clear at the end, as well as throughout. I want us, as gamers, to be excited for games again; not focused on the bureaucracy, but rather, simply excited about games. This does not mean we don’t call people out for bad games or treating us (gamers, as well as consumers) badly. Just means I want to be hyped about the next game, on whatever gaming system. Now, by nature, I will admit this will be more Nintendo-centric, but I am speaking of the gaming world in general.
To begin, I’ll have three different articles: one focused on gamers, one on gaming journalists, and a final one on the manufacturers (with a “Final Thoughts” section at the end.) Keep in mind that I am speaking to myself just as much as anyone else, so I’m not above or below this topic. So, let’s talk about the gamers first…
I’ve recently seen various social media posts (Twitter, Facebook, websites, blogs, etc.) regarding the gaming community and how terrible we have become. I want to tackle this aspect first, because you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t a passionate gamer, like myself. Over the years I have owned or played many different consoles: NES, SNES, Genesis, Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, Saturn, PS1, N64, Dreamcast, PS2, Xbox, Game Cube, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS, 3DS, and Wii U. I have always enjoyed games, and will until the day I die. I have no shame for playing games, and I feel they do play an important role in many lives, in some way (yes, they are just video games, but they can affect us in profound ways, regardless.) In fact, I’ve even written an article for a website titled, “The Impact of Gaming on One Man’s Life” – I speak about various important events that have affected me throughout my short life on this earth, and specific video games that were related to those events in some way. Long story short, games are amazing creations that can utilize art in various forms, whether it be music/audio, proper art, or creative gameplay that becomes an art form itself. Aren’t you proud to be a gamer, and excited for games? Then why don’t we see this type of conversation regularly?
Every day I make sure to get on Twitter and see what is going on within my gaming community. I also jump around to articles and sites, reading up the latest goings-on within the industry, and make sure to look at comments as well. I’ve worked with developers, discussed topics with fellow journalists (though I’m not sure anyone would consider me a journalist), and interacted with other gamers. I thoroughly enjoy people and having discussions about many things, especially when it comes to passions of mine; gaming being one of them. However, it seems that all I see recently (the past 6 months or so) is the spewing of negativity from the gaming community.
Now, I’m snarky, and I know this. I am an avid WWE fan (hey, don’t judge!), and I’ve become much like my snarky friends. This attitude has made its way into my gaming interactions as well. I see a time and place for the attitude, and usually try to use it in a funny way, but I recognize it can be used in very negative ways. The internet community, in general, is fairly negative; if you don’t agree with me, just take a look at the comments on most articles that you read, regardless of topic. The gaming community online usually takes negativity to a whole new level. These are what we call “trolls,” the ones looking to start a fight, regardless of if they agree with you or not. They want to spin negativity in whatever form – which can include something seemingly positive – and they will drag you into their battle. In this aspect – the gaming community being cynical, negative whiners who want to start fights – I can definitely agree with in some ways.
As gamers, many of have become whiners. Guess what? I’m included in this. I’ve said dumb things, and I’ve brought on my fair share of negativity since being in the gaming news/info/opinions scene. I also recognize that I am a nobody; I’m not a huge influence like others in the same community. But me being another voice in the crowd still affects perspective on other people, and how they view games and gaming systems. When there is enough negativity, it is bound to spread. Don’t like a game? That’s fine, but don’t begin bashing the system or company just for the sake of tearing them down; your opinion is exactly that – it’s yours – but keep in mind you may very well have an affect on other people’s choices. Instead of harping on a game, how about speaking well of and promoting games that you do enjoy? This implies that other games you’ve played weren’t as good, all while sharing your enjoyment for a piece of software or hardware. Again, my point is this: your opinion is yours, and it isn’t less than another’s, but simply keep in mind that you can affect how others view a game or system (both negatively and positively). Can’t we have discussions, rather than yelling our opinions, regarding various games? That way, those onlookers can make their own decisions based on whatever side they agree with.
That all said, the problem is more than that; I genuinely believe that much of the gaming community isn’t “terrible,” as many have said recently. My belief is actually the opposite: many gamers want to be, or are, excited for gaming. I think the negative gamers in each community are actually the minority, but they seem to have the loudest “yells” and opinions. I speak with many intelligent gamers who both dislike and like games and gaming companies, and have valid reasons to back up those opinions. However, negative press seems to drown them out. A perfect example of this type of negative outpour is with the Wii U.
How much negativity do you see daily on Nintendo’s latest console? How often do you hear that Nintendo is doomed and they should just make mobile games for tablets and phones? Or, better yet, how much praise do you ever see regarding the Wii U, its games, or the future of the console? Did you know Wii U sales have been steadily increasing since about November of last year? How about the incredible Mariokart 8 sales, in which the negative minority claimed would never reach 2 million copies? What about the Wii U continuing to outsell the PS4 in Japan? No, you don’t hear those as often as you hear stories like “Wii U game droughts” (though all the consoles haven’t really released anything new since the beginning of Summer), the games released/upcoming are childish and don’t appeal to “hardcore” gamers, and the Wii U is so underpowered that it isn’t “next-gen.”
You know what? I’ve had the most overall fun with my Wii U since my days playing PS2 (over all the other consoles I’ve owned), and I’ve put in the most amount of gameplay time with the system. I thoroughly enjoy my Wii U, and am looking forward to the insane amount of 1st party software coming for the system. If the types of games for the Wii U aren’t appealing to you, that is perfectly fine; not everyone has my taste in games, and that’s a great thing. Variety and different tastes help to spur on the entertainment business, especially when it comes to gaming. It’s a great thing to be able to choose which system you want. But there is a difference between a system not appealing to you, and unabashedly tearing down a system, its games, and those who have bought it because it appeals to them.
An example of my point is this: I am very picky when it comes to music. There is a lot of music out there I consider terrible, and does not appeal to me in any way. One day, my wife and I were driving and she had some of her music playing. I inadvertently made a comment about it – one a true jerk would make – without even realizing I was bashing her musical tastes. She told me I was being really insensitive and making her feel inferior, all due to the way I spoke about her music. This really hit home with me, as I like to think of myself as a “musical connoisseur” of sorts, and had never thought of it that way. Did it change my opinion on the music she enjoyed? No, not really. But how I spoke to her about it changed drastically. It’s the same with games: if you don’t like something, you can easily speak your mind while being an intelligent, informed gamer. Your opinion may not be the same as mine, and that is simply fantastic, but it doesn’t mean you should unapologetically bash me or my tastes.
As a gamer myself, I propose this to those of you reading who consider yourself a gamer, regardless of which types, genres, systems, or amount of games you play: let’s stop whining and get to what actually matters in this industry – the games. This is what I loved about the Mariokart 8 DLC reveal yesterday. People were excited for DLC. Yes, DLC. Why is that? Because Nintendo has decided to get back to making games and content that gamers want, after stumbling over themselves the past year or so. More importantly, it also proved something else to me: gamers out there in the community still want to be excited about games and game content. So, let’s share what we enjoy about the games we are playing! Love your PS4? Well, tell us why. Haven’t been able to stop playing online with your Xbox One? Share some pictures or stories with us in the gaming community. Does your Wii U offer you something unique with gameplay, or do you enjoy the software that you are currently playing? Let the gaming community know what you love about it! Do you enjoy PC gaming? Tell us which titles you’re playing, and what’s so awesome about them.
So, gamers, let’s make a change. Let’s get back to gaming, back to hype, and back to the reason why we jump into gaming forums and check out small, stupid sites like this one to discuss various topics. Let’s get back to when we, the gamers, told the community what we enjoy and which games are our favorites. Let’s get back to gaming.