For April Fools I debated long and hard what to do and today I'm using this day as an excuse to just let loose and give my real opinion about a lot of things. While, obviously, unaffiliated with any specific topic beyond the way people treat each other, this won't be as well distributed as many of my other articles, I do wish to get some things off of my chest, mostly in regards with the giant trunk of stigma that gaming carries around.
First and foremost, everyone online who hates any specific genre of games needs to check themselves. Just because people play World of Warcraft or choose to play My Little Pony Online doesn't affect or change their skill, intellect, or morals. Gaming stigma is stupid, who cares if someone plays specific games. Everyone online needs to collectively grow up. Someone who plays 80 hours of JRPGs isn't any more or less lame than someone who pours 80 hours into an infinity engine game or someone else who pours 80 hours into their phone's dim lit screen. Of course, anyone who plays more than 5 hours of anything other than Call of Duty is imagined to be one of the South Park characters, as shown above.
I play a lot of games but I don't talk about them because people get all judgemental. It's like going into a game store and saying you own this console or that and listening to a plethora of loyal fanboys rant about which one is best. Who cares, I bought a Wii U and I play it more than my PS4 because it has way more games that I can actually, you know, replay.
Games journalism doesn't exist and when it does, when someone is sincere and honest, and presents both sides of the story, no one wins because each opposite side goes into a frenzy. This forces media outlets to put a "spin" or affirm some side of the fence, in order to only alienate half of the vocal audience because for some reason or another no one is allowed to have an opinion online.
I do not consider myself a journalist. I've had people scream for me to present journalistic credentials and I'm sorry I don't have any. I have been online, in August of this year, for 15 years straight. I've wrote about video games FOR THE ENTIRE 15 years. I started with a geocities blog, I built up a huge Ragnarok Online fansite, I did freelance stuff, and then I've been with Ten Ton Hammer almost ten years now. I'm a fan with my entire life dedicated to gaming. I was playing Atari as young as 3.
I have never written about GamerGate because I have the opinion that all should be treated equal and, as a real not-journalist, there is no way to discuss the events and share an opinion without alienating one side of an argument that I've yet to grasp, while on the flip-side, reporting neutrally gets you flagged by both sides for not doing something. Interestingly enough, when it comes to discrimination, there can be an opposing side in agreement that discriminatory behavior is appropriate, which baffles me.
Gamers, in general, those who are dedicated are often afflicted with mental illness and no one cares. Well, some people do, which is to associate outlier cases of violence with games. Which is great, except, there is a lot of depressed and sad people playing games to cope with their troubles and not enough relevance given to the issue, beyond some crazy national story about how video games do this or that, making parents push stigma onto their kids. We make fun of people for playing games too much, society's bootstrap attempt to "fix" a problem is by demanding it be fixed.
My phone broke, I screamed at it to work, didn't fix it. Oh well.
Stigma, as previously mentioned, is getting to be annoying beyond words and none of it is correct. WoW players probably spend 10 to 15 hours a week playing WoW, if that much. This would average out to 2 to 3 hours a night, the average amount of time anyone would spend on a hobby. In contrast, civilization games can take 20 or 30 hours ago and many players begin when they get off work and end when they go to sleep. We put this behavior up on a pedestal, even though these games are primarily offline while WoW is much more social. Players dedicated that much to WoW are shunned.
The same action can be repeated within the same category, but the label we used to define it changes opinion from celebrated to disdain. You can spend 80 hours in Pillars of Eternity and get a round of applause, but 80 hours into a Tales game and you're a loser. Why do we judge people again? Even the game store employees are judgemental, I don't like buying games in real life because I will hear how I'm wrong for buying a game.
Most of the things I complain about I can't fix, neither with my writing or my words (because only people can choose to change themselves and the information is available for them to choose to do so), so I must sit by and just watch as people spew this vile vitriol all over the Internet and fight amongst themselves, forgetting the core principle of the word gaming: to game. We can thank Twitch for helping it along, as a new age of gamer dawns that doesn't even play a game. They comment on someone else playing, helping them spend more time being rude and insulting and less time actually enjoying anything otherwise.
I hope you have a wonderful April Fools. For me, I see the date as a celebration of our vile antics of harassment, instead of celebrating humor and comedy, because that's what the day is all about. Having fun, something that, for some reason, games isn't bringing to a lot of people and hasn't since, I'd say, about 10 years ago.
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