I remember when I first picked up a controller. It was back in the early 90s; I was around 6 years old and I was sitting in front of my friend’s Nintendo Entertainment System. “Wanna see something cool?” he asked me. How could I possibly refuse? He loaded up the cartridge for Super Mario Bros. and , to my dismay, all I saw was a blank screen. With a look of confusion, I silently stared at the console while my friend blew on the cartridge. After a few tries, I saw what I could only describe then as the most fascinating thing I ever experienced on a screen. I pushed a button on my controller, and a little 8-bit sprite moved. This, dear reader, is the moment I was introduced to a new dimension of entertainment.
For many of you, I could safely assume that your first experience in gaming was similar. For some of the gamers born after the mid-90s, however, the sentiment may be a little more difficult to relate to. In fact, one could postulate that a small subset of gamers browsing our little corner of the internet only ever played games by touching a screen on a mobile phone.
It doesn’t matter. We’re all united. We are all gamers.
It is for this very reason that I think that we should protect each other. We come from different backgrounds, have different political leanings, and prefer different types of games. Some of you may be irreconcilably different from me in such a way that in other areas of discussion we’d be at each other’s throats. This isn’t the time for fighting, though. We know better than that. The one thing that we find in common is games. If someone attacks them instead of discussing them in an intellectually honest matter, it’s a fair bet to say that this person will stir plenty of ire from people who actually play the games they are spewing nonsense about.
It’s important that while we’re enduring the massive pile of whatever the hell this is, we also don’t lose sight of the younger gamers who are completely unacquainted with the culture that we’ve had for decades. In the past, you bought a game and played it, period. End of story. You waited until the next game came out and played that, too. Then, multiplayer came along and we were finally able to compete in a fully open arena full of hormone-induced slurs and all of the other flack we throw at each other. With the birth of digital content and games that were installed on hard drives (as opposed to swappable cartridges), developers and artists worked together to broaden our experiences with expansion packs.
To some extent, all of these things are positive. On the other hand, we have publishers that put their hands a tad too far in the cookie jar at best. At worst, they demand half your cookie jar for what amounts to a whole lot of nothing. This is troubling because some game developers are breeding an army of new gamers who are complacent to pay-to-win games, microtransactions, and DLCs that really don’t add to the spirit and essence of the game. What’s even more troubling, perhaps, is the misrepresentation of games that have poor mechanics and lack the “soul” that makes them bona fide titles. We’re living in an era where games that play like public service announcements receive near-perfect scores in all major reviewers.
In a way, this is a call for us to extend olive branches to all of the gamers who are new to the whole ordeal and guide them to become more intelligent consumers. There will always be people attacking us because potato. The latest tactic is to try to divide us. We must not let this happen. As consumers, we have to stand together, support those who side with us, and ignore (i.e. not harrass) those who insult us.
Each insult is the beginning of a new level. The boss will always throw insults when defeated.