I have an unrealistic dream I'd like to share with everyone. It's not a dream of personal goals and it's not a dream of the future of video games. My dream is that one day the gaming community can learn to put aside the hate. A dream that everyone can just be reasonable human beings to each other. Hate is something that gets spread around like wildfire all over our lives. I'm only speaking specifically about the gaming community because it's a place that I feel I belong, because it centers around my dearest hobby.
Internet comments have long been infamous as a place where you can see the most vile, disrespectful, or just plain mean thoughts ever thought. There are successful people on the internet, whether they create content for Youtube or for written formats, who feel the need to avoid their own comment sections, and that is a damn shame. I can't speak for others who create content, but for myself part of the joy of writing something is getting to see all of the people who reply or converse with each other about what I've written, whether they agree or disagree. I find people's opinions fascinating when they're presented reasonably. As I'm just some schmuck who does this once a week as a hobby I generally don't get huge influxes of people to my content, so it's rare that I have to worry about someone rude, but the things I have seen on professionally written pieces is just shameful.
There are people, quite a number of them in fact, who seem to feel that their opinion on any particular matter is the most important and precious thing in the world. Now, it's only natural to want people to agree with you. It's also understandable to be disappointed when someone feels completely the opposite of you, but you will never be in a situation where it is impossible for you to reply in a reasonable manner. I am by no means a religious man. I do my best to live by a pretty simple creed: Try not to be too much of an asshole.
I've dealt with depression and the kind of anger that makes you pace around your room flailing while arguing with yourself. Truth be told I get fired up pretty easily. If I allow myself to get annoyed I then move from annoyed to angry and from angry to stressed. I don't like to be stressed. There are so many times when I'll read what someone has to say and have to literally step away from the computer so I can just forget about it and move on. Even if you feel that the other person is the worst kind of human being and needs to be told how things really are, just take a breath. No one ever changed the world in the comments section of Youtube. If you honestly think that what you have to say needs to be said then all the more reason for you to present it as reasonably as possible.
There was an article on another site about Anita Sarkeesian being driven from her home on account of abuse and death threats. Now, I'm not the biggest fan of many of her arguments. I think she has a solid goal but I don't necessarily agree in a lot of her reasoning. That being said, there is nothing this woman could say on the internet regarding video games that could possibly warrant her life being threatened. Nothing
. In the comments of this article there was the expected amount of disagreements and strongly worded opinions, but as I scrolled through them it became more than that.
The arguments and the hate in this comment section began going beyond Sarkeesian and her videos to just plain hate for each other. I legitimately saw comments decrying the acts as immature that received responses complaining that calling those acts immature was part of the problem because obviously it went far beyond being immature and that calling the acts immature was equating them to the acts of a spoiled child. I saw comments that spoke of how hate in general needed to stop being so prevalent on the internet that received responses of how they were part of the problem because they didn't specifically acknowledge female abuse needing to be stopped.
Another recent (though considerably less controversial) article I noticed was one by Tony Ponce, a former editor at Destructoid, who took to the community blogs to share his idea on the possibility of a female Link taking center stage in a future Legend of Zelda title. I can understand where the guy is coming from, I'd love to see a good female character in any title, though I didn't necessarily agree with or follow all of his reasoning or the comparisons he drew to other franchises. Hell, over the couple of years that I've been visiting Destructoid there have been plenty of times that I flat out disagreed with Tony. That being said, the amount of unnecessary hate flowing in that comments section was far more than I expected in a community blog. Now, I'm sure that old Ponce de Leon can handle some agitated internet haters, this ain't his first rodeo, but should he have to? Especially in a piece that was written as a community piece and therefore wasn't necessarily endorsed by Destructoid itself?
Regardless of how you think the best way to introduce a female protagonist into the series would be, do you know who gets hurt if they decide to just gender swap Link or to just make Zelda playable or any number of other possibilities? Literally no one. No one's life will be worse off. The game won't be ruined because of a gender change and you won't suddenly be incapable of enjoying a game that has every other feature that you loved about the previous entries. So why get so worked up about it that you need to resort to insults towards a writer or the site he's writing on?
Now, I'm not asking you to keep your opinions to yourself. That would be stupid. I encourage each and every one of you to speak your minds and share your thoughts on any given situation, but you can do it without being an asshole. I know you can. I believe in you. That's all I can think of to say for now, I hope this has come out as something relatively coherent. Thanks for reading.