Press Released

Press Released
Gaming is Made of People

Sean Sands | 27 Dec 2009 14:00
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I'm not asking for sympathy for the "poor developers" because they have a job and talent that most would kill for. I'm not saying that a bad game doesn't deserve the criticism it receives or that reviewers should let up on the whip when some public lashing is deserved. I'm just saying, the thing that seems most to be missing from the mainstream game space and journalism is the idea that this is a business made from people exactly like us.

There is an unexplored human element to the gaming industry, and it should be the most interesting part of the whole damned thing.

I think that we - and by "we" I'm not sure if I mean gamers or the writers who perhaps mistakenly think they have the pulse of gamers nailed down - are fascinated by the unrestrained discussion of concepts. It's very easy to talk about a product, whether that product is a single game such as Modern Warfare 2, a franchise such as Guitar Hero or the industry as a whole, if you examine it not as a real world thing built by people but something that exists independently as an idea. It may even be true that most of the time this is a pretty good way to get to some conclusion.

The problem with dehumanizing the world is that what we are left with is clinical, dispassionate and perhaps meaningless. It becomes easy to forget that there are real consequences in the lives of real people. We so rarely get to see that.

I understand that gaming blogs and journalism is supposed to be all about the reader and the consumer with a nice "fight the system" anarchist kind of vibe going on. As you may or may not have detected, I've grown tired of the endless protest, the undercurrent of entitlement and the sense that there are no consequences to our attitude and actions as gaming consumers. I have been accused of being some kind of industry sympathizer, but that's not true.

The industry is just another one of those convenient terms we use to reduce an impossibly complex thing into a nicely digestible context. What I may have become is sympathetic to the quiet plight of the people actually sitting at desks doing the work day after day. I don't know that they need a champion, and God help them if I'm the best they get, but they are too often invisible and underappreciated.

So, as I conclude this final Press Released I choose to do so with this last thought. Try to remember, that the game you are playing, good or bad, are the passion of dozens and possibly hundreds. It is the culmination of a monumental effort that may or may not have succeeded. It is a thing for which real people with their own immeasurable dreams will have sacrificed. Perhaps they were paid well for their work; perhaps not. Perhaps they will be recognized for their talent and perhaps they have languished doomed forever to obscurity.

The decisions you make, the words you choose, the actions you take - they all echo beyond your door. It is up to you to decide if that means anything.

And with that, farewell.

Sean Sands is a father, gamer and writer. He extends a heartfelt thanks to the editors, colleagues and readers who have put up with him for the better part of a decade.

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