Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hate the Game, Not the Genre

Fist, this is advice to me as much as anyone that happens to be reading.  Second, I figured I'd post it here because maybe what I've got to say will prove useful to others. Third, and finally, it's a bad habit in the gaming community to hate things they don't get. Call it "tribalism" if you want. I some psychologists might refer to it as "insecurity" steaming from low self-esteem. Personally, I don't think it matters what you call it, being a jerk just because you can isn't cool.

Hate speech, bigotry, trolling are a few names for it, but the fact is I highly doubt a lot of the people making insulting remarks on the internet are all that prejudice against blacks, women, gays, Jews, and so on. Rather it's their best attempt to get a rise out of listeners. They know deep down that they're nobodies so they vent their frustrations by trying to bring everyone else down to their level. Hence the reason we got PC elitists/haters, fan boys for Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo and a whole mess of people who praise one genre and bash another.

I'll be the first to admit that I had some pretty big biases when I was a teenager, so it's not like I'm above all this. However there is something I'd really like to stress. Even though I'm burned out on shooters I don't hate the genre. In fact I don't hate any genre. Sure I'm not so big on sports games, but there are still some I like; Blades of Steel, Pigskin, as well as a select number of racing games. Here's the thing though, when I grew up I grew out of stereotyping stuff and so should everyone else.

On the other hand it's okay not to like a game, just make sure you have real reasons for feeling so. Saying it sucks amounts to nothing, and taking such overly simplistic trash talk online will probably get you a lot of well deserved flack. If you don't like a game judge it on the merits of that particular title and criticize it based on supportable evidence. Also, keep in mind that if it's not you cup of tea don't drink it. Let other people have their fun and you likewise. Trust me you'll save yourself and everyone else a lot of misery in the long run by taking a more mature stance.

Recently companies like Google have been taking a lot of heat for allowing abusive language, but I think there is a big danger in censoring speech. It's all too easy to start shutting down people just because they have an unpopular opinion, or simply disagree with the powers that be. The only real solution is to teach manners to those who have anti-social attitudes. More often than not pushing them down only serves to re-enforce their destructive behaviors. Hard as it might be, if you want results your going to have to pull them out of their hole and up to a level of more reasonable discourse.

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