Failures Of The Gaming Community

Part five of four. Yes, you read that correctly.

As you may recall, I recently wrote pieces about the various failures of the gaming industry’s giants: Nintendo, PlayStation, Steam, and Xbox. In those posts, I covered many of each platform holder’s weaknesses, while trying my best to leave out the strengths. I did this for a reason, as you might imagine.

This all sprang from a conversation that I had with Jennifer about two weeks ago. We were discussing Nintendo, and how they have a tendency to pull from a select few franchises on a regular basis. For example, there are roughly 100 Mario titles (spinoffs and core games), about 20 titles in The Legend of Zelda series, and about 12 Metroid games. Actually, why haven’t there been more Metroid games?

This all came from our own viewpoint however. Her and I don’t delve much into Japanese media, though there are a few notable exceptions. Our conversation stemmed from criticism of western franchises that we love, including ones on Xbox platforms, yet Nintendo and Sony seem to be the golden cows of gaming.

Is that the actual truth? Is there a bit of a double-standard? Well… kinda? Microsoft, and western developers in general, are easy targets for criticism and have traditionally been the step-child of gaming. They’re new to the game, so naturally they aren’t nearly as revered as the others. That much is clear when I skim forums, comment sections, and social media.

People can be so… mean.

But the more I thought about it, the more it became clear to me. I have my own personal perspective on gaming. There are things that I find fun and dislike. What it really boiled down to is what I’m willing to overlook, whether it’s because it doesn’t affect me or it doesn’t bother me that much.

Choose Wisely

choose wisely.jpg

We have all made decisions about how we pick our chosen platforms. We weigh the pros and cons, look at the games that we want to play, and decide what’s valuable and not.

I’ve found that the PC platform tends to draw more practical people, who look at gaming like someone would look at a spreadsheet. They see what will give them the highest quality experience and the widest array of game choice.

Nintendo draws in people that want to scratch that nostalgia itch (there’s nothing wrong with liking that feeling) and just want some good, simple fun. Nintendo isn’t about sick graphics. It’s about getting people together to have a good time. Never has that been more evident than with the Switch.

Sony is mostly about delivering the best bang for your buck. They aim to cover as many bases as possible, delivering content that will appeal to both the western and eastern adult gamers.

Microsoft tries to capture the folks that want the western atmosphere, and those that want a more curated experience. Now with the Xbox One S/X systems, they’re about making sure that people have options.

Regardless of where people choose to game however, they’re all gamers. They’re all playing to have a good time, both alone or with others. Yes, even mobile gamers count.

The thing to remember is that every platform has its strengths and weaknesses, and those attributes matter differently to different people. It’s easy to look at things from your own perspective, and point out what you like or dislike, but so often it’s easy to discount someone else’s perspective.

For instance, I could’ve just have lobbed a couple softballs at Xbox in my post highlighting its failures. I know that Jennifer would’ve much preferred that. However, I know that my favorite console has its issues; it isn’t perfect. It’s easy to find flaws in something you don’t like however. It’s much more difficult to admit any flaws in something you love.

Maslow’s Hammer

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”

You’ve likely heard this saying before, in one form or another. I think it applies to gaming communities. We’re conditioned by our hobby to be competitive with each other, and it’s easy to look at others that don’t agree with you as an opponent. So naturally, we need to compete with our opponents.

“The [x] is going to kill the [y]!”

“[a] sucks. Real gamers play on the [b].”

“[m] is boring and unoriginal, unlike the [n]”

You… sadly… don’t have to go far to find comments like these. People trying to devalue something that another likes, just because it isn’t their flavor of plastic box. It’s pretty sad, and I wish I could say that I’m above it. There have been numerous occasions when I went to bat for the Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One, just because someone dared to challenge its reputation.

That mentality is something that alienated me from communities that I loved being a part of, and I would love to be able to tell you that I had no fault in it. The truth is that I often feel like there’s no place for me in many gaming communities, because my preferences don’t often match others’ that have my same passion for gaming. It puts me on the defensive, so when someone makes a disparaging comment, I feel obligated to stand up for my choices.

Well…

giphy (2)

So where does that put us, as a community of people who just want to play videogames?

Perhaps its best that we all take a page from when we were little. I mean, I can’t speak for everyone, but I remember when I was younger, I only had a NES and SNES, while many of my friends had the Sega Genesis. We didn’t get into fights over which one was better. Instead, we just played our consoles and sometimes invited each other over to play something we didn’t have.

Maybe the key is to just enjoy what we have, and let people enjoy what they have? After all, what is lost by doing that? I’m not saying that we should accept unacceptable things; like Microsoft’s original plans for the Xbox One, Nintendo’s ridiculous copyright antics, Sony’s resistance to the inclusion of features, or Steam’s cavalcade of garbage.

What I’m saying is that we should learn to be happy for people that enjoy something we don’t. Even people who like mobile games.

What do you think? Am I wrong here? Of course I’m not!

In case you missed them, here are the rest of the articles:


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33 thoughts on “Failures Of The Gaming Community

  1. Shh… don’t tell anyone, but I’m doing some research into fangirling and fanboying and why we do it…. That will be coming down the pipeline at some point…

    But I hate it (not your article. I quite like your article.). I really, really hate how serious people are when they defend their gaming rig of choice, or their franchise of choice, or whatever. I mean, have preferences, and have brand loyalty, and have a good time with that, but also have a sense of humor. I wonder if, as a community, we’ve become so used to defending ourselves against ridiculous comments made about our hobby that we just lash out when we can. Or the stereotyped “socially inept gamer” runs a little too deep, or too close to home. And let’s face it, everything is boiled down to “us” vs “them” to grab attention and get publicity. Even having a political party is like rooting for a sports team: no matter how bad it gets, you’re loyal.

    Sorry, ranting again. To address what you actually said, I do think folks should just get along and just enjoy their games. I’ve never owned an Xbox, but not because I think it sucks or anything. I just never had one, and I haven’t heard a good enough reason to switch from Playstation to Xbox. Plus, think of the whole new controller I’d have to learn… 😉 But seriously, I don’t Xbox. The only person that decision affects is me (and you and your wife, because you will sadly never see how amazing I am at driving Mako-like vehicles haha). You don’t (tend to) Sony. These are not big deals. We’re all gamers. At the end of the day, that’s what’s important.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. It’s nice to see someone cut through the toxicity, which seems to be gaining among opinion circles. This is mostly online, at least it seems to be in my life, since the people I know in real life seem more ready to have a conversation than a shouting monologue on their platform of choice. It just seems like gaming is quickly becoming another divisive topic among so many already out there: politics, religion, other fandoms, etc. It’s people, man. Anyway, the more we address it the better. Helps folks to think more clearly, especially after E3. We have to remember that there are living human beings behind these things we call computer screens, behind their own screens. Thanks for the read.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. As I’ve said, I’m just as guilty of being toxic as anyone else. I don’t know if it’s increasing so much though. I think I’m just becoming more aware of it.

      I think the reason platform tribalism is more common online is due to us being exposed to different types of people. In general, we tend to surround ourselves with others that hold similar views.

      As for comparisons of this to other divisive topics, at least political and religious discussion actually matters on some level. Gaming and fandoms aren’t exactly important.

      I’d say that the gaming industry and media tend to reinforce tribalism, by trying to one-up each other and manufacture drama to draw in fans.

      You’re correct that we should try to remember that the folks on the other side are people… Maybe that would help mitigate the problem.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Well said. I do believe that there’s something about not actually seeing the person we’re talking to on Twitter or FB that makes it easier to say awful things about them and their fandom, things that most of us probably wouldn’t say to their face. I guess that’s an aspect of it that irks me most. And also I have to admit that I’ve been divisive as well, so I say this not from a perspective of self-righteous indignation. It’s a pity.

        Liked by 4 people

            1. I’m of this opinion on a lot of things aside from gaming – if you’re not hurting anyone, do what you like. I think a lot of it stems from insecurity – If I like PS4 but my friend likes Xbox, then in order to feel like there’s nothing wrong with me for NOT liking Xbox I need to put down the other guy. The truth of the matter is, as passionate as we are about gaming (and other lifestyle choices), they really don’t mean a whole lot at the end of the day. Life is short. We’re all going to die. All that is important is that we try to be happy with what we’ve got, and not make other people’s lives miserable.

              And with that, I will can the philosophy lesson 🙂

              Liked by 2 people

              1. Insecurity. You hit the nail on the head. We modern peoples use brand names and companies we have no actual investment in to establish our personalities and our projected personas to others, so we feel personally attacked when others don’t like what we like. It’s as if we subconsciously believe they’re slandering our character, portraying our choices as stupid. I can see why that leads to the toxicity we’re talking about but that doesn’t excuse its reciprocation. I’m known in RL to have very strong opinions about a lot of things. I’ve been asked if I even like anything at all! Rest assured that I do but this is something I’ve been trying to work on personally for a little while now. I have owed a lot of friends some very sincere apologies. That’s never fun but I realize where I’ve crossed the line in the past and perpetuated conversations which are insulting toward others on the basis of fandoms. …It’s hard growing up hahahah!

                Liked by 2 people

  3. Great post! Console Wars (as I call them) have actually resulted in the end of friendships in my life, which is crazy to even think about. I keep wanting to write a post about what happened to me but I’m worried they might see it one day. Wish we could all just get along like the great MLK said!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Heh heh… perhaps. I still sort of feel like a victim of it, but that’s not accurate because once I got dragged into the argument I threw just as much mud as they did. There was no winner in the argument, just a bunch of people covered in mud 😛 At least I can look back and see what a tragic farce it all was.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This was a good blog to read, super interesting! I’m quite into gaming so want to write similar stuff eventually as I have just started blogging. I would love if you could follow my blog and check out my poor attempt at computer gaming on my blog?x

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well no matter what i dont think microsoft as a westermised compmay will catch up to sony and nintendo. I play xbox because i was brought up with it and i am a loyal customer to microsft and there is potential with games like destiny and skyrim etc but given the opportunity now sony is overpowering. I totally agree their is a stigma behind playing video games at this age, but i dont care enough for it to effect me. As long as there are games i can get lost in i’ll be happy

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Great article! There’s a psychology to it, which I feel does stem from the playground days when a lot of people in our generation argued which console was better because our parents couldn’t get us other consoles. It’s like choosing sides on a sports team and cheering heavily when yours annihilates the competition. Now we’re all adults (?) and have the internet to argue about game consoles.

    I love how you put it that each console has their strengths and weaknesses. Seeing Minecraft Realms support cross-play (besides Sony) was such a great sight. It’s wonderful to see companies working together to best support their individual (and sometimes mixed) fanbases.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I completely agree with you. They all have certain games that call to me, that bring me in – which is why we are a multisystem family. I have PS4 for certain games, I have my xBox for others (which most of my friends are on xBox, so…) and then I have Nintendo for that “itch” – because let’s face it, that is just what I want sometimes.
    I try to not talk one down over the other anymore. I will still make the random comment of “Playstation overall has a better hardware because” (old habits die hard) but I have nothing against the xBox. There are games I would rather play on xBox/entire series that I have bought xBox for. (Oh Fable, how I miss you in your fantastic glory…. Microsoft, make my Kingdoms of Amular: The Reckoning Backwards compatible soon please!) and then there is stuff I have dedicated to Playstation.
    (DragonAge – Playstation. MassEffect – Microsoft. I can feel the judgement from here!)
    But it just depends on your preferences. For real. Love them all. (though you cannot tell from my lack of playing lately.)
    OH, I forgot PC…. … …. (Playing Town of Salem.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No judgments here. Despite being rather close to a stereotypical Xbot, the first experience I had with Dragon Age was on the PS3, and I loved it (despite having to play with the child-sized DS3).

      I do think that the grand majority of gamers have no real preference outside of making an objective choice. As always, the loudest minority is the one that gets the attention however.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Always happy to game, no matter the system, irl, tabletop,
        you name it. Every game has it’s own learning curve which
        is part of the fun. It is interesting seeing the nuances between
        systems & strategies, consumer choices are nothing but a good.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I think most of this toxicity comes from the younger crowd. Yeah, I said it. We’re all grownups here and can deal with other people having opposing views. The 14 year olds, on the other hand… The internet is full of kids and also vitriol. Can’t be a coincidence. Just look at Reddit compared to some place like WordPress.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Having 4 nephews, we try to instill the values of good sportsmanship.
      Always thank your opponent for the game, win or lose. From amateur
      to professional, each game is a learning experience. We grow from our
      mistakes, as our past victories are rarely as vivid as our crushing
      defeats.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Kids these days shakes cane I can definitely understand this, because until pretty recently, I’d see some opposing views/preferences as a slight on my own. WP helped change that and also helped me recognize why I held onto that for so long (cough cough Facebook), because in some circles there’s a culture of one-up-manship. One thing has to be better than the other instead of just the best choice for the individual, and if you don’t agree that A is better than B then you’re all manner of foul things. Coming from that made me defensive, because I constantly had to defend what I liked. I think some sites encourage them by their very nature. There are some younger bloggers here who don’t behave in the same way as some relative older folks on Reddit.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. You are absolutely right on this. It’s ok to be faithful or prefer a certain platform over another, simply because of tastes, or just being an overall fan for all sorts of reasons. But it sucks as you said when people try to de-evaluate what you like, just because.

    Even when I was a kid, coming into the SNES era, this became apparent with the Sega Genesis. I can’t blaim gamers entirely because we all know how Sega did their marketing. And Sony to. Remember those Crash Bandicoot commercials that tried calling out Nintendo? I didn’t like it, because even as a young gamer, it seemed like a cheap shot. I even had friends at school that felt it was neccessary to continually compare and tell me how much better FF7 was compared to my N64 and Ocarina of Time, again, just because.

    Honestly, it made me feel a bit annoyed, because I took it personal. But now I see it didn’t matter. In the end, both FF7 and OOT speak for themselves as going down as 2 of the greatest games of our time. Those who neglected either because of immature biases towards other platforms truly did themselves a dis-service.

    Unfortunately this still happens today, gaming, music, movies, you name it. Everything has to be compared and made into a competition, and I really dislike that. But it’s what I love about wordpress and it’s community. Everyone here I’ve interacted with has their preferences, but is never condescending to others peoples tastes and truly respect the diverse selection of games we all bring to the table.

    If i was narrow minded and didn’t read up on peoples posts about Ps4 games, a console I don’t have, I might never have considered things like Cosmic Star Heroine, which I absolutely love. In the end, as a gamer, being open minded is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A lot of this boils down to the way humans just are. We’re social creatures, and we evolved to form groups where some people are “in” and some are not. It’s almost instinctual to have an “us vs them” mentality, which is juvenile, but some of us never grow beyond it. Since it’s instinctual, you have to intellectually reexamine it, move past what feels natural to you.

    I remember reading somewhere that the first thing you think of someone is just your natural judgment, but if you can take the step to back up and reexamine that judgment, that shows true growth. We ALL make those judgments, but we should attempt to be people who don’t act/decide on those alone.

    It’s not like the gaming companies didn’t try to capitalize on this either. The Nintendo/Sega war split gamers into factions, and they wanted it that way. Sega’s whole mien was to show that they were more mature than Nintendo (The Well-Red Mage has an excellent article on this about how Sonic’s purpose was to beat Mario) aka gaming for the more discerning type. It’s really absurd when you think about it, but it made these companies billions.

    Hm so I want to scratch that nostalgia itch, but I also want the most bang for my buck. Xbox is getting thrown into that mix now, too. I guess this just proves I’m eclectic 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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