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The State of the Modern Gamer (An Open Letter)

By Mikey Ducati in RGN Exclusive

GDC Protest

It’s been quite a remarkable year for gamers but not all things has been pretty. Of all the topics discussed, I believe gamers should be under the microscope this time. This is a letter to the gamer; an observation. A small one indeed, but one that I feel should be spoken. Gamers don’t realize how much their voices effect the industry and how it changes the landscape of it. While I do agree that we should voice our opinions, it’s how we do it that falls under great scrutiny with me and it should with the community.

For instance, comments concerning what console should be bought by a “real” gamer. This is such nonsense!! Whatever the gamer chooses, it is entertainment fitting to their tastes. However the gamer games, he / she is a gamer. Yes, a gamer can want to watch television through their console and game, or play an app on his phone and be a gamer. It is quite possible, you know. How can one say what is for “real” gamers and what is not? To hear gamers describe fellow gamers as “hardcore” or “casual”, with a completely negative opinion towards the mobile market is quite absurd. I would say it’s blowing some subject matters out of proportion.

A good example of a proportion being blown out to the high heavens was the Aliens: Colonial Marines fiasco. Hey let’s just get down to the nitty gritty. It wasn’t what we hoped for. We were promised a definitive, graphically beautiful piece of software. What we got was, of course, different. Gamers responded unkindly to them. A class action lawsuit was later filed. Aliens: CM, bottom line, was not that bad of a game. The graphics were dialed back, some of the atmosphere was just a little lost, but overall the game did alright for an Aliens game. It was more or less, more of the same stuff we’ve seen before, I mean really; what Aliens game ever did kick major azz? Tell me… I’ll wait. Yet, I enjoyed my time playing it. Saying that in a forum and you’re guaranteed to get stones thrown your way. So because of some graphic changes, you weren’t able to enjoy the game for what it was? You couldn’t find fun in three buddies fighting aliens alongside with you in dark corridors? You said they lied to you? Well in that case, every developer has lied to you when they presented their game at an exposition. Even your beloved BioShock Infinite is guilty of exaggerating graphics in its marketing.

R U Bout Dat Forum Jockey Life

The latest prime example really needs no introduction, you might have guessed it. The situation surrounding Xbox One, their former policies, pricing, and mandatory Kinect accessory. Now this subject alone is worth its own article discussion. In fact, many bloggers and journalists have done that for you, so I won’t go into a long talk about it. Or maybe I will. First of all, I have to say that it was rather silly to complain about the always online feature. Simply because I don’t know one gamer that unhooks their console from the network. Ever. My PS3 at home connects daily, every morning, to upload cloud saves to the PSN. The only time you can consider it “unhooking” from the net would be when I turn it off. Gamers already keep their consoles connected to the internet so what was really the problem with the policy? Like Neo discovered in the second installment of The Matrix, the problem is choice. But truly, was that something worth looking to crucify MS for? How about the dormant Kinect? In a camera-filled world, you now worry about the Kinect spying on you? Don’t be ridiculous.

Then gamers took to the forums again with negative energy spewing from their keyboards like volcanoes when a reviewer spoke out against The Last of Us. And why would the Sony president, Shuhei Yoshida even react negatively towards the difference of opinion? I read the review and it didn’t seem to be a nitpick. It was a subjective viewpoint of TLOU, experienced by an individual. Still, gamers bashed the reviewer relentlessly and praised Yoshida for tweeting about his disapproval of the review. The outcry was so harsh that the reviewer later retracted his review and in so many words offered a apology to the community, which was completely unnecessary in my opinion. Gamers can dish criticism about developers and publishers but they can’t take criticism on their beloved developers and publishers? Ah, can you say double standard?

It is ironic that gamers who once stood as a symbolism for individuality shared through the love of gaming have gotten to the point of having a class structure within a fixed social ecosystem. Now you either roll with the punches or “get punched” for being different or for having different tastes. We complain about the continuity of franchised games such as Assassin’s Creed and that other military game that we always bring up in a topic of that kind. But of course with our hands we support that because no matter what our mouths say, secretly we don’t like change. Just make our games look graphically good and we’ll forgive you. That’s where it seems to be, that line that is always drawn. If it looks good, we’ll take it. If it’s developed by a beloved developer, we’ll support and worship. If it’s the bandwagon, by all means don’t be a pink elephant and hop on it.

As we move forward gamers, we must realize the weight of our words with the industry, developers, publishers, and fellow gamers. Support your developers but constructively give opinions on their software. Understand and know that what you might declare as a fantastic game will be utter trash to another gamer. Digest information and judge objectively before you seek to crucify. Read the fine print. Understand that the industry is a business first and foremost. If the game beats you, find a way to get off your butt and master it instead of crying foul. We can do better than what we’ve been doing, gamers.

the buffet mentality gamer

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