Editor's Note

Editor's Note
Editor's Choice

Russ Pitts | 24 Nov 2009 12:31
Editor's Note - RSS 2.0

It's a straw man argument, which at the end of the day serves to obfuscate the glorious fact that there are no fewer than three powerful companies engaged in the business of making the things we all, as gamers, enjoy. And yet, in spite of this overabundance of entertainment options, devices created ostensibly to perpetuate the act of "having fun," the battles rage.

Jade Raymond. Bungie, Left 4 Dead 2, The Wii on The Today Show and yes, PC vs. consoles. The history of gamer culture is littered with meaningless disputes over this or that, and the only conclusion one can draw is that this contentious, petty group of people wants it that way because, one can only assume, they have nothing more important to fret about.

Which brings us back to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the most popular game ever made and why, in spite of that fact, it's currently the most hated. Or, at least, the most popular to hate. One must assume that there is a meaningful number of people who simply don't like the game. After all, not all games are to all gamers' tastes. But there's a vast gulf between disliking something because it's not to your taste, and developing a searing, abject hatred for it because it betrays your core values.

One wonders if the problem isn't so much the game, but the gamers themselves. When a game sells as many copies as any game ever made, one has to assume the audience for that game includes gamers from almost all walks of life, from the hardcore to the mainstream. Which, in itself, means that at long last gaming has achieved what so many have for so long claimed to look forward to: mainstream acceptance. And yet instead of joy, this seems to create ire. As if the very fact that a game is mainstream makes it somehow more distasteful to gamers who aren't.

One can only infer that there is a subset of gamer culture that does not, in fact, want gaming to be mainstream. That these gamers, who love to hate the popular game du jour, would much prefer games remain the exclusive club inhabited by the smart and nerdy. That they wish The Today Show and its soccer mom audience had never heard of videogames. Or that, when the acceptance came, they themselves, the gamers, had been accepted along with the Wii. That they would not still, in spite of the subjugation of "their" hobby into the gaping maw of mainstream consumerism, be viewed as "other."

I have news for this group of gamers: No matter how popular videogames may become, to the inhabitants of the demographic known as "mainstream," you, with your tenuous grasp on life outside the confines of your comfy chair, with your reluctance to adopt mannerisms and behaviors which will allow you to blend in with polite society, with your encyclopedic knowledge of videogame plots and characters, will always be a nerd. Even to people who now also play videogames, in addition to laughing at you on the bus. Because videogames, for them, are simply one of many pursuits, whereas for you, they are a lifestyle.

Is this a bad thing? I guess that depends on your point of view. If, for example, you are the type of person who believes that everyone should be like you, have the same likes as you and play the same games as you (on the same machines), then you're going to have a hard time adapting to a world in which people who are not like you nevertheless share some of your interests. If, however, you're capable of accepting that people are different, yet nevertheless, ultimately the same in spite of their differences, then you should probably get over yourself. You may be a nerd, but who the hell said there was anything wrong with that?

Russ Pitts

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