Even in these slightly more enlightened times, playing videogames still carries with it a certain stigma, especially for those of us in our 30s and above that have been playing since the early days. Sadly, there are still many people that see videogames as toys for children and the people that play them as immature nerds.
Of course, the stereotype does not fit the facts and we can argue about "games are art" until we're blue in the face, but the unfortunate truth is that both the industry and its consumers provide the naysayers with plenty of ammunition to use against us. Thus, here are 5 things that make me ashamed to be a gamer.
According to the Entertainment Software Association, the average game player is 37 years old and has been playing games for 12 years. Despite this fact, many major marketing campaigns are still aimed at what could be called the 'frat boy' demographic. One needs to look no further than the Electronic Entertainment Expo, where our best and brightest show off the latest and greatest in games…and men line up to play in a bouncy castle with an attractive woman. Yeah, thanks.
It is bad enough that we have to deal with games treating minorities and women poorly, but do we need to do the same to each other? Penny Arcade’s Internet F**kwad Theory was drawn in 2004 but still holds true almost a decade later. A report just came out saying Xbox 360s are being used more for music and movies than games, and frankly, I don’t blame folks for staying away from the online hate.
It isn't enough for game journalists to simply report the news, you know, the way real journalists do. Oh no, that’s not enough. Instead, our reporting has to be injected with an overdose of snarky remarks, oh-so-clever headlines and more ATTITUDE than all of the bad Sonic games put together. As you may have just observed, we here at Original-Gamer.com are as guilty of this as everyone else.
OVERREACTING TO 'ATTACKS ON VIDEOGAMES'
Video games are going through the same growing pains as other new forms of entertainment and art have before it. At one time or another, comic books, Dungeons and Dragons, heavy metal music, and rap music were all declared the "Root of All Evil" and "Corrupter of Children" in their formative years. Well, guess what, its videogames’ turn in line, so we’re going to have to deal with folks taking unfair shots at them for whatever reason. Seriously, going nutzoid over whatever Jack Thompson or Roger Ebert say about games does not help.
MASS EFFECT 3 OBSESSIVES
I want to see y’all halfway guys, I really do, because I agree that there are valid points to be made. The problem is that y’all need to stop being such self-righteous jerkasses about it. It is really hard for the rest of us to sympathize with your plight when you dismiss questioning of your efforts by saying things like “Well, YOU haven’t played Mass Effect so YOU just don’t understand!" It is even harder for us to side with y'all when we see attention-whore stunts being pulled like tying your cause to charities and sending cupcakes to BioWare. Not only are you only hurting your cause, you are also making all of us look like the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons. At the end of the day it is still just a game, so simmer down and let Bioware do their thing.
The games we love have been growing by leaps and bounds on both technical and artistic levels over the years, but sadly, the people that make them, play them and love them are lagging just a little bit behind. There is a fine line between obsession and madness and we would all be better served by being aware of just what side of that line we’re on.
People, we can do better, so let’s try to make the term “gamer” something to be proud of.