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.
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.
“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.
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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