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Gamers: It’s Not About You


Tweet of the Day: Kristin’s Big Announcement

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Note: What I am about to write applies, sadly enough, to any fandom. You have been warned.

I just had several “conversations” with several gamers both on the Jimquisition and on YouTube and I noticed one thing: the fan doesn’t like to have their assumption challenged.

Why?

I don’t really know, but I feel that part of it stems from the sense of self-identification that comes with being a fan. One someone, anyone, challenges their standards, they tend to recoil and strike back, regardless of the accuracy of the criticism.

“You are saying X is wrong, or their is something wrong with Y, therefore you are saying I am wrong!”

Nope.

I am talking about the object in question, not you as a person. And you end up with statements like these (names redacted for privacy):

“but why is political evaluation of a work less valuable than say evaluating the games framerate?” In principle it is not and personaly (sic) I am in favour of a deeper level of criticism regarding video games. The problem stems from many of the field’s journalists having a very limited knowledge on both video games’ history and genres, as well as not being very skillful gamers, which constitutes a big handicap in a media that has traditionally been very dependent on good eye to hand coordination. If one’s grasp on the mechanics is tenuous at best then explaining the pros and cons of the gameplay devolves into a tiresome exercise for them. Therefore, many of them spend more time analyzing the narrative components of games, even in those whose story is mere window dressing, and more often than not they also have the tendency to read far too much into them or miss the point completely. Not to mention the unpleasant trend of blantantly parroting what Ms Sarkeesian has been claiming in her videos in the last three years. It would be great to actually hear/read diverse critiques of the same game using a variety of analytical grids, instead of having the same old flimsy ideological accusations of misogyny being projected on anything that “_offends_” some special snowflake. Also what games journalists fail to understand is that a majority of gamers is primarily interested into an accurate description of the gameplay and mechanics for the simple fact that a game is meant to be _played_ first and foremost. Story and narration shouldn’t really get too much of the spotlight, unless they are an essential part of the experience, i.e. if they are woven into the gameplay as a game mechanic or if they actually possess some profound message or themes.

Typical “GG” stuff right. Get your precious special Tumblerina snowflakes out of my video games!

But it is not unique to that. I dared say that some products that are marketed as games are Interactive Fiction and this is an example of what I got:

You provide no definitions, and you give no answers. “Interactive fiction” is fiction that is interactive. Every single video game I mentioned is an interactive work of fiction.

As for “Video game” you said my definition is too broad, but you provide none of your own. You only mentioned that it’s like comparing games to other media, like books or movies. It’s not. It’s like comparing House of Leaves to Physics of the Impossible. Same medium, massively different experience.

And you didn’t answer my question – why do you feel such a strong need to differentiate? I mean, by your strong reaction to the podcast, I think you’re an elitist tosser.

This after I provided a link to a video I made in defense of The Stanley Parable, an excellent example of IF and said many times in the comments that it was not done to knock down either the audience or the product and wrote the following:

Saying that something is not a game is neither a dismissal of the product or those that enjoy it.

And yet this is the response I got:

I’ve said it elsewhere, but “The Wolf Among Us” is easily one of the
best games I’ve ever played; and I don’t think I’d have even heard of it
had it been categorized as something other than a game. Because that’s
not where my interest lies.

In other words,”It must be a game, because I am a gamer and I play games.” A similar situation happened here on Tumblr when I said that video games are not for storytelling. It seemed to me that lot of people thought I was going to take their stories away. A power I do not have, and if I did, I would not exercise (because I am benevolent that way, arrogant, but benevolent, nobody is perfect). Some people were nice, but even those that were respectful seemed shocked that I dare say such a thing. At no point was it an attack on gamers or games but it was perceived as such by enough people for them to hurl rude messages at me.

And what distinguishes the pros from the fans? Every interaction (so far) with critics and reviewers has been professional and respectful

But at least it tells me, in a sort of weird way, that I am on the right track.

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One comment on “Gamers: It’s Not About You

  1. I am not much of a gamer,I simply am not good enough for it to really get under my skin lol but as a Doctor Who fan I can say it is the same in that fandom, there are always those who have to claim to be an authority and want to keep the fandom elitest, generally they are narrow minded and have far too much time on their hands, they shut down conversations with authoritarian statements and put new members of fandoms off contributing to the conversation for fear of being made out to be stupid or uninformed. Sadly it is often these very people who bring about the downfall of the thing they claim to love, remember what happened to Who in the 80’s

    Liked by 1 person

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