The problem with having gaming as a hobby and actively persuing that interest means that I often come face to face with the fact that gamers love to complain and do it often and loudly. I know that the most vocal of gamers are a small constituent, but when you’re active in the places that these people frequent, it sort of seems like there’s a wall of complaining and moaning that hits you like an incessant tidal wave.
Complaining about people complaining is like pissing in the wind, but if there’s any safe place to do it, I feel that it’s here on GamerSushi. While we may disagree on a lot of issues, there isn’t any one topic where everyone is overwhelmingly negative or against a certain thing. Honestly, it’s like a breath of fresh air compared to some of the places that I lurk and I’m always thankful that we’ve managed to carve out an island of stability amidst the turbulent waters of the Internet.
That said, I really can’t identify with a majority of the people who claim to be “gamers” anymore. If these people aren’t freaking out over some small thing in an upcoming video games, then they’re waxing nostalgic about how great games used to be back when we only had 32 pixel consoles and controllers that weren’t designed for anything other than giving you a hand cramp after two hours.
One of the more recent trends that have really sent me over the edge is the tendency that these people have to blow everything out of proportion. Seriously, if Gabe Newell sneezes these gamers might see that as a reason to boycott. Not everything is worth throwing a hissy fit over in my mind, but I guess these folk are less rational than I am.
Battlefield 3 really seems to be getting the short end of the stick in this regard, because a few days can’t go by without the collective masses of the complainers jumping all over DICE and EA for some small fault. While the Origin/Steam schism was a little silly, the ripples that this caused in the community could be equated to Moses parting the Red Sea (a lot of ocean metaphors in this feature already) for all the grief people had over it. Origin is still a new service, but it seems that it was expected to perform as well as Steam does now right out of the gate. It’s so easy for us to forget that Steam had a lot of growing pains; there was a time not too long ago where I avoided Steam if at all possible. Now that Valve has ironed out most of the kinks (there was an issue recently with Steam Guard keys not being sent to my Hotmail account that infuriated me to no end) Steam is a great content service to use and I’m sure Origin will be like that, given time.
It’s really hard to fathom where this sense of entitlement comes from, because in no other medium, aside from George R. R. Martin’s fanbase, are people this needy and verbose. Every time a developer says that they’re appealing to a wider range of players, it’s being dumbed down for the console kiddies. If a game will have map packs or microtransactions or launch-day DLC, then we’re being gouged unfairly. I guess that it’s easy to forget that gaming is a business, but as much as any given studio or publisher would like to have us believe that they’re making cool games for us to enjoy, they still have to make money. For such a young industry, this sort of experimentation is natural. Even well established forms of entertainment, like music and movies, are feeling the pinch of transitioning to the digital age. Expecting gaming companies to do it right out of the gate for whatever reason is short sighted and juvenile thinking.
I hate to sound like I’m dumping all over people who have legitimate complaints, but I’m not. There are a few worthwhile causes I can get behind in a given year, but most of those seem buried by stupid crap that really shouldn’t be a problem in the first place. It makes me feel bad for developers like Notch, who has been thrust into the limelight thanks to his incredibly popular indie game, and now people expect him to develop on the scale of a big studio with hundreds of employees. True, Notch is probably biting off more than he can chew between launching Minecraft fully this year, developing Scrolls and publishing Cobalt, but apparently taking part in an ongoing Beta test has certain demands that he must meet no matter what.
This kind of turned in to a rambling tirade, but I’m honestly just tired of the comments on forums, or articles or whatever else I look at these days. I’m tired of the MW3/BF3 fight, I’m tired of console fights, I’m tired of people sticking it to developers for any small reason they can find. I’m especially tired of people constantly going on about how awesome gaming was twenty or so years ago. That’s great; you can go back to that any time and leave the stuff coming out in the next few months to us. I’ll happily play Skyrim, Gears of War 3 and Uncharted 3 while you’re replaying Mario Bros 3 for the fiftieth time.
The solution to my own issue with these complainers is simple: just don’t read the things that infuriate you. That may solve my issue with it, but it still doesn’t help the fact that anyone in the gaming industry who looks in on people who are supposedly their fans will get hit with a wall of vitriol for random, meaningless “transgressions”. I suppose that developers have learned to filter out the noise by now, but it must be tough reading massive amounts of hate interspersed with the odd comment confirming that there are still people out there that enjoy video games.
Sorry about going off like that guys, but I need to get these things off my chest. Like I said at the beginning of the article, I’m glad I have GamerSushi as kind of a soapbox to stand on where people will read this without immediately leaving comments questioning my sexuality. What do you guys think about this? Am I being overly-sensitive, or is this constant negativity a real problem? Anything you’d like to sound off on?