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The Ten: Updated Wednesdays-Fridays-Sundays

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Article: "Ruining MY Franchise," Or, the Toxicity of the Modern Gaming Community

I haven't posted an article, or a review, on this site for a very long time. Partially because I've been absorbed in other affairs, and also because everything I have played and could possibly review lately would be about one- to three-months late. That's the nature of the business, I suppose.

So instead, I wanted to talk about the current state of video games. I want to remind people that video games are better than they have ever been, and will only get better. Sure, we have lost some things along the way, like classic game developers, or even some lesser known folks, but the independent scene is flourishing and we're seeing new ways for developers to create games through crowdfunding, albeit with some... questionable results.

However, while games are becoming more plentiful and immersive than ever, there is something very wrong with the community. I won't point fingers, but I will cite a particular event that occurred earlier today, which may or may not be a result of some activity that has unfolded over the past few months. I want to address the concerns of gaming journalists and gaming enthusiasts, because this is important and it is ruining a crucial element of enjoying this medium- which is, you know, enjoying the medium.

Video games are a uniquely individual experience. Though many have multiplayer, and some even require it, every person walks away from a video game with a different impression. This is because every input is made by only one person. Likewise, our enjoyment of a video game is a personal experience, so when we see something that threatens us, we are bound to get defensive. However, this is not an excuse to harass people because of their connections, whatever they might be, to our cherished franchises, or companies. These are professionals that use a variety of accrued knowledge to do their job. I will act as a scapegoat here, seeing as I am not, in fact, a professional. I am someone who enjoys writing about video games, in comical and critical ways.

I get angry over how Paper Mario franchise is handled. I have been shocked by low reviews. I have been disappointed in my favorite developers. I have been surprised by new directions. But I have never issued death threats to the people that create, or market, or review. They do not deserve that. They are working to create a product and deliver it to me, so why should I? If you are a video game enthusiast that is sick of not getting their way, or is afraid of their precious favorites being tainted by the influence of others, you have two choices- you can try to make a better product, or you can kindly shut the hell up.

I would like to think that the video game community would have higher standards. The products we buy are appealing on a visual, visceral, technical, and audible level, and there are so many ways to appreciate them. Why, then, are there outcries against localization where cultural norms play a massive role in making a product marketable and accessible? Why are there attacks on individuals that have no involvement in even touching a game's script? Why do we become vicious towards journalists who seek to do nothing more than gather information and report to us?

Because video games are personal, and anything that threatens our personal view of what video games should be is wrong. But these people are doing nothing more than attempting to bring us a product. A product that will be critiqued no matter what, regardless of what changes or remarks they make. So then what is the point of going for throats before a game even comes out?

If I were a member of the video game industry, I would be terrified to breathe, in fear of setting off some sort of chain reaction of hatred spawning events. Yet, there are people that continue to do their jobs in spite of this, and I commend them. People who ask nothing of us, who merely exist to deliver more for us to enjoy. I respect them, and I hope that whomever should read this takes a moment to remind themselves to respect that as well.

Earlier tonight, I watched a Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV with a number of avid fans, many of which have been eagerly awaiting this game for ten years. This was a moment of excitement and victory for so many people, and the event focused on nothing else but the game. That game, and other games and elements that contributed to it. These are the moments that should unite this community, not moments of hatred that have little to do with games themselves.

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