Editorial: Do Elitist Gamers Have Fun?
I've been wondering. Do the elitist gamers get any entertainment from video games, or do they just spend their lives trying to prove to everyone else they're superior?
Any fan of gaming is well aware of the fanboys, but that's just ignorance for the sake of Internet posturing. But on the exact opposite end of the spectrum are the elitists, and to be perfectly honest, I think they could use a little ignorance. Aristotle outlined the concept of virtue vs. vice, where the vices were on either side of the virtue, which occupied the exact middle. In other words, while courage is a virtue, rashness and cowardice are its vices. Using this formula, fanboys and elitists are the vices while only the true gamers sit firmly in the middle. And I'm sure I've voiced my displeasure with the fanboys, who continue to infect every corner of the Internet, but now it's time to address the elitists. These people are starting to wear on me.
As a gamer, the fanboys piss me off, but as a journalist, the elitists irritate me even more. These are the people that, regardless of the subject at hand, they always know more about anyone involved with the industry. In fact, they're convinced all games journalists are little more than teenagers living at home, pretending to write news reports. Sadly, I will have to concede that in this respect, the elitists are sometimes correct; it's one of the major stumbling blocks in this industry today. If we want to be taken seriously, our journalists should have - God forbid - a journalist's background. But I'm getting off on a tangent. For the most part, the elitists simply believe they know more about games and the industry than anyone else on earth. They know random, trivial factoids that nobody else knows. They've owned every console ever made. They're the only ones on the planet who beat E.T. on the Atari 2600 (and they're actually proud of this).
Then, they turn around and lecture everybody on the Internet. And I mean, everybody. They seek out the smallest mistake and pounce on it, gleefully proclaiming to all just how knowledgeable they are. They were probably the first to spread the rumor that all game critics are paid off, and certainly the first to accept that lie as truth. I promise you, that GameSpot/Eidos/Gerstmann thing is an extreme rarity, and there are reasons behind it, but I won't get into them now. The elitists are the first to explain why a reviewer is "wrong." They're the first to claim the casual gamer is killing the industry, which is an argument that holds little water. If you've been around long enough, you've probably encountered one of these elitists, be it in real life or online. The elitists have zero social graces - and certainly no social status to speak of - and because of this, they attempt to make their mark in video game forums. They want to be the all-knowing gurus. They despise the really popular games because the "masses" like them...so they obviously can't be any good.
So my question is simple: do these people have any fun playing games? Ever? It seems to me as if they partake of this entertainment medium as if they're out for revenge. When you're out to prove something all the time, the fun factor disappears fast, doesn't it? At the very least, even the fanboys have fun (we won't talk about the obvious fact they could have a lot more fun if they weren't so biased). The older I get, the more the elitists irk me, because I can only see them as useless, unhappy, nose-in-the-air unpopular students. Last I checked, entertainment centers on this theory known as "fun," and I understand becoming educated on certain matters pertaining to the industry in question. I also understand solid discussions between two learned individuals, and I'll be the first to get into detailed conversations concerning my favorite hobby. But it's about the attitude; the personality. The elitists have their label for a reason.
Essentially, does the comic book guy in The Simpsons have any fun reading his comics?
10/3/2008 Ben Dutka