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Hostility Among Gamers Runs Rampant

I've written pieces dedicated to similar topics in the past; the surprisingly hostile attacks between the so-called "fanboys" of our industry is one example, but I've noticed something else lately: it's not just fanboys and haters...seemingly, it's almost everyone involved. What's going on?

If you are a frequenter of various enthusiast forums around the Internet, you will notice something disturbing. There are message boards dedicated to just about anything, ranging from lawnmower racing to hardcore reptile lovers. Obviously, the people who contribute to such places are fans of the subject in question, so one would assume that everyone would - for the most part - get along swimmingly. Such places are often great for inside information, chatting with those who share a passion, etc. However, one notices a marked difference when visiting the standard video game forum, and it doesn't seem to matter where it is or what they're talking about: hostility is the dominant form of expression.

A while back, I attributed this to nothing more than age. When you get a bunch of pre-teens and teens together who can't be seen or heard through a video screen, and who likely have massive inferiority/superiority complexes due to being social outcasts, it's inevitable. But we've gotten to a point in this industry where the average age of a gamer is approaching 35 years of age (I'm 30 myself), and things aren't getting better...they're actually getting worse. If someone disagrees these days, the very first reply is so loaded with venom and hatred, it's almost impossible to believe that both people supposedly enjoy the same hobby. I've often thought the haters must abhor picking up a controller; they despise everything they see, just because they're "l33t" and know more than every developer and critic on earth. Hence, they only see every negative facet of the production and in turn, focus only on the negatives when dealing with a person.

But why is this happening so often? Has everyone accepted hatred as the common basis for communication when video games are discussed on the Internet? There's no respect, constant suspicion, a recurring and childish belief that "I know more than you" and in general, it's like watching one giant bashfest. Some will say in defense of this behavior that it's "all in fun," but I fail to locate the amusement. Even so-called journalists - or the bloggers posing as journalists, and who, in all actuality, haven't left their mother's basement - are routinely insulting everything they see. Obviously, this could be considered a standard marketing tactic, as they must've noticed that hostility is the only thing gamers recognize anymore. There's only one final aspect to this that confuses me: if you get all these people in a room together, you'd expect it to erupt in a brawl, but instead, they'd all stand there, avoiding glances and looking at shoelaces. Why? Because they're little more than children in semi-adult bodies.

Really, this has to stop. Normally, I don't mind telling people what I do for a living, but it's getting to the point where I don't want them to do any research of their own. All they'll find is the most vile, disgusting, unappealing group of "fans" they've ever had the misfortune to see blast away at each other on a screen. It's just plain embarrassing. All I can say is, "stick to PSXE where we just don't allow any of that, and yet, still seem to get plenty of Comments." It's not impossible to control, but you do have to be diligent and it appears as if we're the only site in existence that remains mostly breezy, civil and laid-back. This isn't a veiled promotion; it's just a statement of fact- for the most part, gamers only wish to attack one another when online, and it isn't helping this industry's image. It really, really isn't. Congratulations on giving more ammunition to the anti-game activists who say violence in video games causes adverse behavior.

If it doesn't, something must be causing this...

6/14/2009 Ben Dutka

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Comments (1 post)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 @ 5:50:54 PM

I'm an older gamer (I'll give you a hint: my first game was played on a Univac 1108 long before there was such a thing as personal computer.) I suspect that although the median age is growing increasing older, most people who have the time to write letters are those who've not yet entered the work force, and so have a lot of time on their hands to emote (as well as play games).

Another factor, I suspect, is that websites don't censor or limit email messages. This gives immature young minds an outlet for emotion that's not normally allowed in polite society. That's a fairly heady temptation for someone who's intimidated by almost everyone from school teachers to parents.

There 's an inherent contraction in websites that publish anything and complain about what they get. I'd suggest either enact standards or quit complaining. The problem is, I suspect, is that it's just easier and cheaper to publish anything.

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