While certainly not every gamer on the internet is upset about something, the truth of the matter is that there is this longstanding and extremely disturbing trend that being angry at something in the video game industry is socially acceptable behavior. There are many things in the world today that are worth our time and emotional energy to get upset about, but is an optional entertainment medium really worth that effort?
I always found this trend a wondrous thing, and even with fanboys I never quite grasped what the point was of their latest comment on something they don’t like. As an example, let’s say you’re a Sony fanboy – you’re getting a PlayStation 4 day one and you know every possible detail about the console before it arrives. A news post is thrown up about the Xbox One that has some actual good news. Let’s say, as an example, the fact that every Xbox One console doubles as a dev kit. Then, someone comes along and decides to blast Xbox One. “Now you can get all the weebo dating sims you want!” – “Still not good enough Microsoft, PlayStation 4 all the way!”… and those are just very miniscule examples.
When the Xbox One was announced, it was lambasted at every corner. I am not one to say that Microsoft didn’t deserve some criticism for some of their choices, but I am not naïve enough to truly think that “bitching about it” is going to ultimately solve anything. Sure, they reversed the always online and DRM related stuff probably in part because of the troves of angry gamers, but I still wonder what the hell we were angry about to begin with. Now that all their policies are starting to look really good… It doesn’t matter, we’re just going to hate on them on principle anyways.
It’s well known these days that as gamers we have a wide sense of entitlement. We feel we deserve exactly what we want and demand for, and absolutely nothing less will do. As a recent example that hits home more closely, every day we get constant fan emails and complaints over at our brother site, Zelda Informer, about Majora’s Mask 3D. What I mean to say is, when The Wind Waker HD got announced and practically every day since, people who want Majora’s Mask 3D to occur have been bitching about The Wind Waker HD existing. Why? Because it wasn’t the Zelda remake they wanted. The question is still out there about what exactly we have done as gamers to deserve any remakes to begin with. Did we forget that they usually only exist just to get more dollars out of our wallets for games we likely have already played or own? That, and for those who haven’t, they are just cheaply retreading their older creations?
That doesn’t mean it is wrong for anyone to get excited about remakes and HD versions of old classics, or that it is inherently wrong to want them. However, I don’t really understand the value in bitching about them, especially in regards to what you do or don’t get. It’s not like anyone took the original game away from you. Why get so upset about it? There are people out in the world that can’t afford food, who wait in lines for seven hours one day a week just to get a few pieces of bread at a pantry. There are kids who are starving and dying of thirst every day in Africa. There are people being murdered, raped, getting massive bouts of cancer… not to mention all the political warfare, genocide, and other things going on in this world that we should truly be angry about. Yet here we are bitching about something we “don’t have” because of something we are getting instead.
In many ways, this is going to be the nature of the internet. If you are an internet user, statistics (which are never skewed, right?) tend to say you’re probably someone who is doing okay for themselves. You have a roof over your head, you have food on the table, and you have a device to which you can connect to the internet with (phones, tablets, computers… etc.). Doing alright for yourself means you likely enjoy various optional entertainment – books, magazines, video games, movies, and really all of the above. Also being the internet, it allows us to have more open and free voices in terms of what we say. We can be heard and don’t have to worry about personal backlash.
I hate going back to the Xbox One as an example, but I distinctly remember how much the console was being shit upon. Yet, when I went out to talk to gamers in the real world about it – they were obviously not pleased, but they weren’t actively bitching either. “I don’t really like the Always Online prospect, so I am going to get a PlayStation 4”. That is perfectly reasonable way to respond. Be critical of stuff you don’t like, but there is no need to spew venom over it.
In many regards, it can be said the angry gamers are actually the vocal minority. How many times have seen “CoD Sucks!” – Yet it continues to go on and sell 20+ million copies every year? If it really sucked that badly, why are millions of gamers still enjoying it? Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean you have to get upset it exists.
I have seen this with games like Kingdom Hearts. Raise your hand if you have seen someone on the internet say it “ruined their childhood”. This is always in reference to the Disney characters and how they feel Square bastardized them into a “shitty game”. I don’t know about any of you, but a video game that bastardizes my childhood characters doesn’t affect the impact those characters actually had on me as a child. All the new and various iterations of the Ninja Turtles have not in one bit changed how I felt about them growing up. Same with the Power Rangers… and really the same about anything. Just because I may not enjoy Final Fantasy now doesn’t change the fact I enjoyed several games in the series growing up. No amount of bastardization takes my experiences away from me.
There are many games in the industry that don’t interest me, either because the game just doesn’t look appealing or because the gameplay ended up disappointing me. As an example, Ryse: Son of Rome for the Xbox One didn’t interest me the moment the combat started to be a series of QTEs. After I found that out I stopped following the game on a personal level. Thus if I see a news post about the game, absolutely nothing compels me to click it, let alone be inspired to comment. Yet I guarantee several of you out there will gladly click it just so you can bitch about it. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of negative comments I’ll get if I make an editorial talking positively about Skyward Sword. People are going to show up just to tell me Skyward Sword sucks and I am “a bad gamer for liking it”. After my most recent article about the game, I actually received three death threats. Gamers, the same people I love to write for every day, were now threatening to kill me because of my opinion on a video game. What has the world come to?
In the end, I haven’t still answered the topic about why gamers are so angry all the time. Probably because I am not among those that get that way, so it’s hard for me to understand the allure. I get being attracted to negative stories (IE, why you would want to watch a Pachter video that bashes the Wii U in some fashion), but I don’t get what his opinion on the Wii U does to compel you to call him a tool, a twat, a bigot (seriously), or a complete idiot. I don’t get it – how has he offended you on a personal level just because he doesn’t see something going over well or doesn’t like something you do? I don’t think my best friend is an idiot because he doesn’t like the Wii U for various reasons. Why would I think Pachter is the same way? Because his name is in the media? So what?
I may never understand what many of us are getting so upset about. How the industry we love has somehow been twisted and turned into something where we constantly have to be pissed about something. I understand criticism and why it exists, and I truly don’t want that to stop. Criticism is a way to let the companies making our games know what worked, what didn’t, and what areas we as fans would like to see advancements in. I just don’t get why we feel compelled to complain so much. I don’t like Mac computers – but I’m not about to run into a news post about the latest Mac Book Pro and laugh at them and the people that like them because “Pc’s have a feature you don’t”. Yes, PlayStation Plus is half the cost of Xbox Live and has good games – but does that mean the service appears better than Xbox Live for everyone? What if you don’t like the PlayStation games offered for free, but you are interested in games like Crackdown, which is free for Gold members on the 15th? Could an Xbox member not feel that is worth the $10 a month versus $5? What about the interface options? Personally Xbox interfaces destroy Sony offerings for me, but I am not running around pissed that people like the way Sony does things.
It’s even worse for Nintendo fans. I can’t tell you how insulting it is to have someone call Nintendo kiddy. As if Mario isn’t enjoyable by adults. As if I am “a child” because I enjoy Pikmin. That being referenced as a “child” is actually some negative context to begin with – and that “being adult” is truly something to strive for. Someone once told me that to call something “kiddy or childish” is to truly be a child yourself. There is nothing wrong with grownups playing various types of video games, and it is insulting to call them a child because of it. That is what every person is doing when they say the games and video game system those consumers enjoy are “kiddy”. This, despite seeing more “adults” playing these games then children.
So, why do you think gamers are just so angry on the internet?
(Note: this isn’t about gamers being upset in terms of the competitive nature of multiplayer games. I understand why X person in a match in Battlefield may get upset when they lose or are killed; just like in sports… competition breeds emotional investment. However, this does apply to the angry responses spewed during some of those moments – such as saying “I’m going to fuck your mother you fucking ****”)