This is an idea I've had for a while. It's been tough coming up with something to write about that deserves to be numero uno for this column, but I think I found it. Enjoy
I'm an angry gamer.
Take from that what you will, whether you've played with me on Live, or have read my previous posts, you can tell that I am prone to anger rather quickly.
Be that as it may, I tend to not let my frustrations get the better of me, and don't let anyone piss me off too badly. I try to see things from there side first, before I start making broad generalizations. This is my first attempt at venting, while at the same time offering a well thought out personal opinion of what can be done to help fix whatever I may be pissed off with. Welcome to the Tazar Tirade.
Volume 01: Gamers Are To Blame
For what, you may ask?
Everything bad that people say about our beloved pass time, that's what.
Before you ready the torches and pitchforks, allow me to explain. The gaming industry has been around for more than thirty years. From its humble beginnings when Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney put together a crude looking yellow box with paddles and a tv and placed it in a local pub, to present time, when video games are a part of nearly every possible form of media and entertainment known to man. From movies, books, comics, toys; video games have a strong presence.
With that presence comes a lot of confusion and misunderstanding, mostly from people who either A) Never played video games growing up for one reason or another or B) Were adults when the first video game was released and considered it "too kiddy". The problem is that these people are the ones that hold a lot of important pull in the political, economical, and entertainment worlds.
With that in mind, the only things these people know of games is what they hear about. The keyword here is hear
. This is what disappoints me with the news media of today. Years and years ago, a good, dedicated journalist would spend the time to fully research something they wrote about. Granted, not all of them probably did, but I would like to ideally think that a majority of them did. By doing so they could form their own opinion based on their experiences, instead of take to heart what is told to them by others, which, as we all know, not everyone is honest and just about what they say.
Flash forward to the present: Mega media and news corporations no longer fight for truth. They no longer take the time to find out for themselves what the real answer could be. Instead of going for creative, and journalistic integrity and honesty, every channel you flip to is trying to beat the others for overall Shock and Awe value of what they are reporting.
Killer Bees. Can they kill you? Find out...at eleven! What you have in your refrigerator may very well kill you! See what we found, at eleven! Your kids are putrid, vile, evil menaces to society. Can they be saved? Let Channel 10 show you how, at eleven!
Mindless dribble like this, and the tagline most all news channels use (We're on your side!
), help to not only keep the so called journalists from having to do hard work, but it also allows the mainstream public at large to have a vapid, useless, unnecessarily wrong view of some random topic.
This brings me to the infamous Fox News "debate" that I'm sure we're all familiar with, so I won't bother reposting the video here, as I'm sure you've all seen it many times already. Fox News deliberately did no fact checking, and brought on a radical person who they knew full well would not do any fact checking as well, versus an able, confidant, smart man who knew what he was talking about. The outcome was poor Geoff Keighley getting hushed and balked at by a bunch of chatty women and insecure men who knew nothing of the topic at hand.
Now, why does the mainstream public at large have such disdain for gamers?
Because we are assholes, to put it bluntly.
Granted, not all of us are, infact; a very, very, very small amount of gamers are the problem, but that's just it: It only takes one.
You could have a mountain of information talking about all the good things gamers do, but one guy with a mental problem and a nintendo shoots up a school, and you may well just set that mountain to flame.
We are the reason gaming gets a bad reputation, and the reason is because we don't do anything about it
, or if we do try to do something, it doesn't last for very long.
Case in point (and as much as I love you Sterling, I have to point it out), Gamers for Gaming.
For those of you who don't remember, back when the UK completely banned Manhunt 2 from release, Jim Sterling and Lord Houghton, in a fit of anger and "we're not gonna take it" attitude, decided to start a group called Gamers for Gaming. This group, which was to be headed by them, was going to be the pro-gaming voice in the world. Whenever Jack Thompson was reeling in the shadows, waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting society and fill them with what basically amounts to propaganda, a Gamers for Gaming rep would be there with a flashlight and the one weapon most talking heads on news channels don't have; a voice of reason.
For a while, Gamers for Gaming seemed like it was lasting. Houghton and Sterling were lashing out against the BBFC's ruling on the game, and doing their best to let the world know that the gamers out there, and theres obviously a lot of us, were not gonna stand by and let our beloved hobby be crippled by censorship any longer.
That was seven months ago. Anybody know what happened? Absolutely nothing.
I'm not giving Houghton or Sterling a hard time, because I love both of them dearly and know they had their hearts in the right place, but it just seemed to shrink more and more till there was nothing left. The crazed, uninformed media groups win again.
Our lack of stick-to-it-iveness™ (I made it up dammit) with the educating of the mainstream world isn't our only problem. When we're not fighting ignorant people, we're fighting ourselves as well.
xxxGayboyxxx was disturbing to me. I say things like faggot and gay, I'm not gonna lie, but I have never
been so ashamed to be a gamer as I was the day I saw the video of all the ignorant, rude, and downright evil people who lurk in the anonymity of Xbox Live and bash and insult a human being who has done nothing other than pressed a button and joined a game.
For a group of people who often get the finger pointed at them whenever any sort of hot button issue is the current front page news, it absolutely disgusts me to see us attacking our own in such a savage, malevolent way. All those people did was add fuel to the fire.
I've been playing video games my entire life. I've played every violent game that has piqued my interest since I was 11 years old. I have never once wanted to hurt or kill anyone for any reason. My parents were always up front with me, gaming was not real, and everything I see and hear on screen must remain on that screen and never be taken into the real world.
It's these issues and many many others that leads me to the opinion that video gamers are the reason that Games get such a bad reputation in society, or at the very least holding the smoking gun for the real culprit: ignorance.
So, now that I've bashed gamers, what can we do to help the public at large see games, as well as gamers, in a better light?
Theres many things that we can do, but I'm only going to touch on a few that I think are most important. You can add your own, as I'm sure you've all done many times everytime (never quite got around to acting on it though, did you? That's okay, neither have I.)
Step One: Educate those in your immediate vicinity
We all have friends, family members, teachers, co-workers etc who still see video games as that little thing with the two white lines and the dot that goes blip blip blip. These people are the ones who watch those news reports like the one seen on Fox News and take their words for truth. So what can be done to educate them?
Talk to all these people, and ask them specific questions: What are your favorite movies/books/music/etc? Why do you enjoy them so much? What would you like to see be done with them?
You like epic adventure stories, as well as romantic stories? Final Fantasy is for you.
Love stories about overcoming incredible odds? Love drama? Shadow of the Colossus.
Did you read the autobiography of Paris Hilton? Barbie's Horse Adventures.
By listening to these people, you can easily identify and show them examples of games that appeal to what they enjoy most. Play the games with them, educate them on the back story of each game, tell them why you enjoy it so much. I've started doing this with my family, and now I can't get them to stop playing games. My uncle and me play Team Fortress 2 every Friday night now, and this is a man who's previous idea of a game was Super Mario on NES. Step Two: Be Vocal without Being Vicious
I know a lot of people spammed Cooper Lawrence's book on Amazon, and while it was pretty funny, it doesn't do anything except prove to this idiot that gamers are rude and insane.
Why not instead of 1/5 starring her book and leaving comments that consist of U R FKING DUM GTFO LOL we try to be a bit more intelligent then that?
I have written to Ms. Lawrence, as well as back in August I submitted my reply to blacklooks.org's Kim Platt over her controversial blog post about how racist Resident Evil 5 is.
In both letters I was polite, I used correct spelling, I provided examples on the internet to prove any points I may have made, and offered each recipient to respond back to me with any kind of rebuttal they may have to my claims.
Neither person has ever responded to me, but I'm sure they must have read it. At least I hope.
The point is, spamming FAGGOT DIE a million times doesn't do anything but cause more finger pointing at us for being vile, disgusting, uneducated people. Next time you get angry over something like this, take a step back, breathe, and think about it from an intellectual stand point. If it still angers you, email this person a serious response, not just a poorly worded threat. I guarantee you it'll work better then a LOL anyday.
Step Three: ??
There's hundreds of things we can do as a community to fight back against people who have it out for our precious games, but don't rely on me to give them all to you. Come up with it yourself! Organize a tournament in your hometown, instigate a gaming club, much like a book club. Hell, start a group on Facebook! Doesn't really matter what it is, so long as it spreads the message that gamers are not pasty, fat, unattractive rude people who have intentions of killing Miley Cyrus during her concert. We're smart, funny, interesting people, and we deserve much better.
Thanks for reading!