Video games are in a weird place right now, it seems. Weirder still, however, is the place the video game community seems to be in.
It's apparently a place where you can't speak your mind about a subject without making sure to belittle and insult those who might feel differently. It's a place where meaningful conversation, respect for others, and consideration for someone else's perspective are meaningless in the face of getting your insults in first and screaming so loudly that only the people who are screaming the same thing can hear you anymore.
It's a place where people are openly ostracized for their interests, where if you like one thing instead of another, you're a creepy pervert or a dudebro or a SJW or who knows what else. You can't just like a game, you have to hate ten more and call out at least three vocal minorities before you can be part of gaming.
What the hell happened to us, guys?
I still remember a time where it wasn't cool or accepted to like video games. I remember being ashamed of "still" enjoying Pokémon during the third generation, a time when something like going to Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions and being met with a crowd of my peers, of people younger and older alike, wouldn't have even occurred in my wildest fantasies.
I still remember being a kid that felt ashamed of liking Power Rangers when I was still an age that it should have been perfectly, or at least relatively, acceptable to enjoy it, more or less.
... I mean, that's not to say there's ever a time in one's life where it's not acceptable , and I mean, I-I've been sick guys, come on, stop looking at me like that--
Point is, I'd be willing to bet a lot of us have stories from our youth like that. We should all know pretty darn well what it was like to be the kid with the "weird" thing they liked. Even if we did have friends to share those interests with, as I did, you were rarely given the same voice with those interests like you might be today with those same interests.
And look at us now.
Now we live in a world where people can actually make careers off of playing video games. No longer are we the geeky kids. Video games have, slowly but surely, been accepted as a medium that a lot of people enjoy. Comic books have found their mainstream appeal in movies, more or less
Yet the fact that a lot of people enjoying it should mean, by simply virtue of people being different, there should be a lot of different kinds of games out there... doesn't seem to be something people understand or accept. The greatest thing about the human race is that so many of us our different, yet in recent years, there seems to be this push for conformity in a lot of media that just seems anti... well... human.
... buuuut that's not really my main point though, so rather than go off on a tangent like I'm known to, I'll try to get back in gear.
Gamers were, at a time, not at the top of any sort of food chain. More often than not, we "geeks" were at the bottom. To some, we still are, but there are now so many of us that it's a moot point.
So why must we have all of this infighting?
I understand that we're not going to agree about everything. I disagree with both "sides" of these recent issues on a lot of things, finding myself in a weird middle ground that actually seems a little empty sometimes. But that's okay. As human beings, not everyone will agree all the time. That's the beauty of being human.
At the same time, must we tear down the people we disagree with to the extent we do?
For those of you who feel like what's happening with games right now is a positive thing, that's fine. You know what, though? There's no need to talk about the "4chan bandits" or "reddit riders" or whatever names there are for the people you disagree with. We shouldn't talk about these people who are "just being pandered to" like their interests make them any less of a person than you or me.
There was a time when that was true of video games as a whole, and the fact that we've so easily forgotten that is just depressing. What's more, the real fact here is that you guys are "just being pandered to" right now too, so a little self-awareness here wouldn't hurt, if nothing else.
And for those of you who feel like what's happening with games right now is a negative, likewise, that's fine too. Opinions and interests of all kinds should be encouraged, and at the very least, allowed and tolerated. However, when you go to express your feelings about the matter, it should not be necessary to fling comments like "SJW" and "feminazi" and whatever else around to make your points.
To both of you, if this sounds like too much, then look at it this way: If nothing else, at least you'll be better than the other side. When both of you can take this same stance, then neither of you need to worry about it anymore, and you'll both "win" in that respect.
You both have points and both of your interests and perspectives, to you, are valid and fair. The market, should your "sides" represent themselves as ones that is willing to keep buying games, will supply you with things to buy.
Just... stop turning each other into villains, because honestly, I don't think either of you are truly villains. All of you are humans behind computer screens. All of you are people, most of you probably good ones, simply frustrated with the state of things in one way or another. You're a lot more alike than you probably realize.
All of this, despite what people may believe, goes both ways. Despite the fact that both of these sides are on opposite sides, you both operate in nearly identical fashions. As someone who right now sits... somewhere in the middle (ish, obviously not completely given my stance on fanservice), it's frankly funny in some ways to see the trash talk flung around from both sides that think they're better than the other when in reality they could be twins.
Yet it's not funny at all. It's incredibly sad, in fact.
And not in a patronizing way, in a sad face maybe even crying and hugging both of you during the dramatic last battle yelling "STOOOOOOOOP!" kind of way.
This toxic behavior is just going to encourage more of the same, and in some ways, it likely only exists because the people dishing it out were, at one point or another, given some of it in the first place.
It's unnecessary. Joshing around is one thing, but why pick fights or just be a jerk for the sake of it to complete strangers? Even if one person or even one hundred people with those interests might be lousy people, the world is too huge to assume that insulting everyone who likes a certain thing or feels a certain way is the right thing to do, not to mention you can never know if those lousy people were really lousy or if they were lousy because life was lousy to them first.
In that situation, you're just perpetuating the cycle of lousy. Wouldn't it be better to try to put an end to it?
Neither side should ideally start off these conversations on the attack or the defensive, especially when just reporting on something a developer has chosen to do. Let the cards fall will they will.
If we all approach these topics in a more respectful manner, maybe, just maybe, we can get to the point where, while we may still attack and defend, the weapons we use can be blunt, and our discussions can become more civil or even friendly in nature.
Let's take today's news. Maybe "news" is a better word, but then to others, it's news. Whatever it is, it is what it is.
To some people, maybe an ass slap means nothing. Personally, I haven't played Street Fighter seriously... well... ever, and that may never change. Some particularly depressing studies show I'm "too old" to play fighting games, or pretty much any kind of games, seriously anymore, and I'm still in my 20s.
I said my piece in the comments, you can find it there if you want. As far as this blog goes, what bothers me about this whole thing isn't the subject matter, but how it was handled, by both writer and commenter alike. It's another example of what I'm talking about, and it's by no means the only one.
There's no need to take to going after people, or heaven forbid, whole groups of them. If you have feelings on this subject, one way or the other, by all means, make them known! That's what blogs and comment sections are for. But just going for whole groups like that? Is there anything really gained by doing such a thing? It's true that the roots of all of this go down much deeper than just this ass slap, certainly, but wouldn't it be better to address that than just squabbling like this?
And look, I make no claims to being perfect. I probably don't fit into the advice I'm preaching here perfectly. I'd love to be someone that follows it all the time and always has, but I'm passionate about my interests, just like you are all. I strive to be, certainly, but am I? I can't say.
Lastly, remember that even if you do choose the respectful route... That won't always be how people respond to you. If you're approaching someone who's not being respectful in the first place, they may not change their tune, no matter how respectful you are.
You should still, ideally, try your best.
It may well not be because they're trying to be "the bully." They may have come across many people with your own opinion who acted, to them, like "the bully" first, in fact. Even so, the fact is that I don't think anyone really wants to be "the bully."
To you, they may come off like a babbling fool about one topic or another, defending or attacking this or that, and unintentionally hurting people in the process, but, be they tweeter or writer or commenter or vlogger or whoever, but from their perspective, they may very well have good intentions, even if it appears like that just isn't the case at all. To your side, their good intentions may be nothing but, in fact.
Yet we have to remember that we're all people here. You, me, all of us have to.
Just as you have your interests at heart, or good intentions at heart when you do or may have done the same, even if you may feel like your own comments are definitely and totally completely different, be they long and winding or short and biting, they're doing that here.
If we could remember at least this much and consider how we act when we have our own interests on the table, then maybe then we would be able to treat each other with a little more respect. Rather than disecting what those interests are or deciding those interests aren't worthy or "right," because come on, we're just talking video games, that should be the extent of what's necessary here. Add some empathy to it, and leave it there.
Or just look at it this way: If you just plain kill 'em, someone will want revenge, but if you kill 'em with kindness, who's going to want to avenge that?