Editor's Note: Editor's Choice

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Editor's Choice

The gaming population is growing broader by the day. So why aren't gamers becoming any less narrow-minded?

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I really enjoyed reading that.

The only thing that stood out to me, as difficult to swallow, is the connection you make between sales and quality. All one has to do is look at the best selling movie at the box-office to see the how that isn't always true, it's Titanic by the way.

Also, in an attempt to answer the question you pose in your post, I think gamers certainly have become less narrow-minded, and people have become less narrow-minded about gamers. The popularity of the medium now can attest to that.

The problem arises when you look at a narrow-swath of gamers you'll see on sites like this one...after all, we're sitting around debating pretty meaningless, but fun, topics. It's like going to a Trekkie convention and lecturing them on the futility of debating Picard vs. Kirk...at the end of the day that's what one of our hobbies entails. Some people do it with literature, some people do it with politics, but what it comes down to is your personal interests.

Everyone loves to have something to defend or attack for that matter, and alot of people want to justify the money they spent or the money they saved. its been that way forever

Marowit:
All one has to do is look at the best selling movie at the box-office to see the how that isn't always true, it's Titanic by the way.

Adjusted for inflation, it's Gone with the Wind. Titanic is 6th[1].

paulgruberman:

Marowit:
All one has to do is look at the best selling movie at the box-office to see the how that isn't always true, it's Titanic by the way.

Adjusted for inflation, it's Gone with the Wind. Titanic is 6th[1].

Thanks for the heads up.

Great article. Not just an introduction to the other articles.
A big part of your text isn't really something new, but it's definitely well written, and 'updated' to the latest news in the game industry.

Personally, I definitely see myself as the nerd kind of gamer. Hell, I check this site every day for more than just Zero Punctuation and I manage to get decent scores on the quizzes, of course I'm a 'nerd kind of gamer'. That doesn't mean that someone like me has to fit into the stereotype, though. I, and with me a lot of other nerdgamers, manage to lurk in topics about ninjas and zombies, while also pretending to be 'normal' in that other strange world. You know, the one outside our pc. Heck, we actually aren't pretending at all. There will probably always be people who do fit into the gamerstereotype, but to be honest, I come across more gamers who can survive in the real world than I come across basementlurkers.

Even gamers, the most conservative group of people since, eh, conservatives, are learning to adapt themselves. 20 years ago that was a lot harder, because gaming was still relatively unaccessible for non-techies/nerds, and because we didn't have a lot of games that were also liked outside 'the scene', like Halo, Call of Duty and sportgames. But now it's 2009, and 'our world' has hugely changed. I always hear the press talking about how Nintendo changed non-gamers to casual gamers, but the game industry also changed it's own hardcore gamers: they now know how to survive in a pub.

Though it most certainly is among the mootest of points, I'd like to point out that me and several other stubborn gamers (Like, maybe even more than two people! Maybe.) are still happily missing out on MW2 just on principle.

(Oh don't mind me, just knee-jerk reacting to the "you do" not aimed at me.)

Frankly, your last point hit it on the nose, and was what I was waiting to read (and would have pointed out if you hadn't.)

Its like when your favorite bar suddenly gets trendy. Suddenly it's cool to go there, but nobody cares that you've been going there forever. In fact, you won't even be treated as a regular, since the establishment will try harder to cater to the hip trendy crowd and all their money than the one guy who's been giving them steady business for years.

And the gaming industry is most certainly catering to their new trendy, mainstream clientele. Everything from shovelware on the Wii to be bought by people who don't know any better, to making the same game over and over just to maintain the "you-liked-it-when-we-did-this-right?" status quo, the industry at large seems to be skirting towards a precarious place as we enter a new decade.

Fantastic editor's note. Especially because the feel I've always gotten from this site is that you're critical, but in that friendly and optimistic way that's not cynicism, just discerning customers and commentators with something to say.

As a person with one of these: image let me echo the tone of this week's Editor's Note and say content like this makes this site as enjoyable as ever.

I consider Microsoft the sole reason why gaming is going down the shitter for bringing in the sideways wearing hat yokels with monotonous tripe like Halo.

Chaos Marine:
I consider Microsoft the sole reason why gaming is going down the shitter for bringing in the sideways wearing hat yokels with monotonous tripe like Halo.

And I consider you rather narrow-minded. One company and one game?

But forgetting all that, I take particular offense to this: "gaming is going down the shitter".

I disagree. There are plenty of excellent and innovative games out there. The Left 4 Dead series is fun and innovative. Hard Rain looks it too. Assassin's Creed was quite different, Bioshock was amazing, here's hoping the second will be too. Starcraft II whenever it comes out. Really, who says gaming is going down the shitter?

I think that I must confess: I am one of the discordant PC gamers that curses Infinity Ward from removing dedicated servers from Modern Warfare 2, and one of the gamers who has a high level of disregard for the increasingly mainstream approach to gaming. There's an analogy you make in the piece about the difference between the console versions and the PC versions of games being like the difference between a saloon and a sports car, which is very apt for my own situation because of certain other genres that I play.

I'm a simulation gamer. I play extremely in-depth racing simulators and flight simulators, which go into huge detail into portraying a car or an aeroplane as accurately as possible. These are games that are about as far from the mainstream as possible, attracting a niche group of gamers that typically do a certain amount of specialisation in the field. I honestly believe that this group of genres will get into quite a bit of trouble if the momentum continues to shift towards the mainstream.

The case of Modern Warfare 2, while not representing a case in the simulation genre, does give me cause for concern. The features lopped from the PC version, particularly dedicated servers, would go unnoticed by most gamers, but not by myself and a certain number of my PC gaming peers. Some people would consider this to be a case of streamlining; I would consider it a case of compromise. That can't be allowed to happen to the simulation genre; it's a genre that shouldn't have to deal with compromise.

image
image
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Never compromise.

Oh, something important that I forget to mention: Editor's Choices rule. Really. I understand it can't be used too many times, of course, but it's definitely a keeper. If I would make a top 10 of every article I've read on the Escapist, at least 5 would come from a 'Editor's Choice'.

Heh, great article. Very interesting read.

Hey Russ, thanks for the article this was a really interesting read. Between being a primarily console gamer and a New Yorker, I've been involved in more senseless hatred arguments then I care to count ( Consoles VS PC's, Mets Vs Yankees, etc etc ) and really they all feel like a waste of time to me.

Personally the fervor over Call of Duty reminds me of the fervor some people, ( even some in this very thread ) seem to have against Halo and Microsoft in regards to their adaption of the FPS genre from PC to console. Look, yeah maybe alot of people who enjoy Halo are casual gaming, beer drinking morons, but I don't see why that means I can't enjoy it too.

Sometimes I'm in the mood for Halo. Sometimes I'm in the mood for Planescape: Torment. Why do I have to be one or the other to be accepted in gaming culture?

The premise of this article would certainly earn the ire - and decidedly tired machinations - of everybody's favourite banned member.

Regardless, to claim that debates of console minutia are pointless strikes me as something of a redundancy; there is never anything to prove, to gain, or to achieve. A valid point seems to have been missed, that being the passion and devotion that consoles, bricks filled with little more than wiring and circuitry though they may be, can attain. It would be amiss for that dedication to not manifest itself in the interactions of those who hold it.

Misguided and patently absurd attempts to convince others that their qualitative opinion is quantifiable fact is the gamer norm. The news article in which the non-presence of dedicated servers for Modern Warfare 2 was announced was authored by one such gamer; "Are people really complaining about a more easily accessible game with modern matchmaking technology?" complained this gamer. Whereas when the non-presence of LAN in StarCraft 2 was petitioned against, this gamer praised the validity of the points raised by petition. All of which is unquantifiable opinion; one gamer telling others that their way is the only way.

As I have demonstrated, The Escapist is by no means above such petulant behaviour. It is, after all, staffed by gamers.

Cheeze_Pavilion:
As a person with one of these: image let me echo the tone of this week's Editor's Note and say content like this makes this site as enjoyable as ever.

As a person with one of these: image I have to wonder why these are relevant.

I found things to like and hate about all the gaming systems, what does that make me?

Basically MW2 and Gaming culture is Popular Now It Sucks. MW2 doesn't really do anything worse than CoD4 and is a very well made game yet it still gets stick simple because it isn't CoD4 for some reason. Because now everyone is buying it and we don't have that exclusivity we have enjoyed before, that sense of privacy knowing who we play against is like us and not some casual type who has no idea whats going on. It's much like the favoruite bar analogy above.

Mostly I guess it's down to money, Activision obviously needs to appeal to as many people as it can, how many people heard about the "No Russian" level and bought it for the chance to fire your weapon aimlessey, killing anyone you can without retribution? The controversy alone would have sold thousands. Perhaps thats one reason that level was im the game, because the media would latch onto this as part of their preception of violent video games are bad.

Welcome to mainstream recognition, I hope we enjoy it. Then again, does anyone every fully understand or know what they really want.

Hexenwolf:

Chaos Marine:
I consider Microsoft the sole reason why gaming is going down the shitter for bringing in the sideways wearing hat yokels with monotonous tripe like Halo.

And I consider you rather narrow-minded. One company and one game?

But forgetting all that, I take particular offense to this: "gaming is going down the shitter".

Because Halo is the main game responsible for bring in the slack jawed idiot jocks into gaming who will accept any old trash generally lowering the bar for what's needed to make a great game.

Hexenwolf:
I disagree. There are plenty of excellent and innovative games out there. The Left 4 Dead series is fun and innovative. Hard Rain looks it too. Assassin's Creed was quite different, Bioshock was amazing, here's hoping the second will be too. Starcraft II whenever it comes out. Really, who says gaming is going down the shitter?

I won't deny that there are good games, but for the majority, a lot of them are getting terribly simplified and you can thank consoles for that.

Case in point, look back to the original FEAR. That was, sure it suffered from a little too many office sections (Though it was mainly set in an office so what would you expect?) mainly developed for the PC and then ported to the consoles. Look at the sequel. It's so ridiculously different in almost every respect from the change of real-ish looking, near future weapons to plasticy, bright and shiny guns, with the entire Replica army getting an armour design face lift which was particularly jarring since they dont at all fit in with the original design scheme, particularly with their glowing I'm here shoot me! design. The sequel was supposed to occur literally minutes before the end of the first game and just about everything in the game bar a few names, characters etc are completely different. For all intents and purposes, you could have named it anything else and changed some names and it could have been it's own game entirely and unrelated to the original FEAR.

Then you have the difficulty which was absolutely reduced. Granted the first, even on the hardest difficulty setting was very easy to beat, the second wasn't even a challenge. I barely even needed any of the health items.

CoD4MW2. Enough said. And the game isn't even that good! It's actually worse than MW1 and the only great game who's sequel-was-such-crap-compared-to-it's-seequelwas Mechwarrior 3 with Mechwarrior 4 literally looking far uglier and playing horribly.

Deus Ex, the original is a rightly venerated PC classic and is one of the best all time RPG/FPS games and nothing else has come close to besting it. Then Deus Ex2 came along with tiny maps because the consoles at the time (PS2) were so limited in their ability to run it and every single thing about it was dumbed down from the universal ammo to the plot and choices.

But back again to Halo. That game is one of the most bland, uninteresting, dull, boring, monotonous shooters I've ever played. You basically play as a drugged turtle and I don't mean of the ninja variety either. The only thing, and I stress only thing, that the Halo had going for it was it's score which is pretty damned fantastic and it succeeded in giving the game a pretty epic feel. For as long as it took for you to realise that the gameplay was never going to even come close to the music. That is such a pity too.

Command & Conquer Red Alert 3: Good Hades did I hate this game. It is so ridiculously bad it's a veritible slog to get through and everything seemed so clumsy and poorly done. From oversized and under ranged units to the cringeworthy FMVs. The first RA was gritty with a slightly loopy tech base which was grand for the setting, the second had slightly crazier units and some camp characters and the third was suffering from intense ADD. Though I would suppose you could credit that to EA.

Ugh, I hate talking about "mainstream" games. I play what games i find interesting and keep me interested. I play, on average, 2 hours of CoD4 on the PC every week. 16 hours of Team Fortress 2 every week on the PC. And the majority of my other gaming time is spent in Guild Wars on on the 360 playing Left 4 Dead, Rock Band, Halo 3 and Lost Odyssey. I play a few matches of C&C3 online every once in a blue moon, but other than that I'm pretty even between PC and the 360 and I see no difference. I play games because they distract me, some more than others (thus 16 hours of TF2 a week!). "Mainstream" just means which one has sold the most units, it has nothing to do with status. It's the fools who make themselves feel bigger because they are playing all the latest games.

Also, Russ. When you sign your name it looks like Puss Pitts and not Russ. Just thought I should mention that bit of silliness.

I'm honestly surprised at this. Frankly, he just acts like PC gamers have no reason to gripe about what happened to MW2, when there was even an in-depth article about it my Shamus Young: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/experienced-points/6768-Its-the-End-of-the-War-as-We-Know-It

As for the rest of the article, its true we spend too much time and effort arguing over X vs Y - especially when extremists on all sides push and push and push. The one that stuck out in my mind was Indigo Dingo (was that his name?) who eventually got banned. He took the view that everyone who didn't own a PS3 wasn't a gamer. I'm concern that XBox, Wii, and PC all have their extremists too (though I've not encountered them myself). Strangely, I've not seen many arguments over DS/PSP though...? Odd, given the DS has sold twice as much as all the 'full scale' consoles put together (yes, including the Wii).

Russ, I take my hat off to you. You make one hell of a lot of sense =)

I have removed my words from this site.

A good article, but it really seems like nothing more than an attempt to trivialize the opinions of people who dislike the way the gaming industry's heading. Especially since a lot of those same people took issues with the escapist's review of MW2.

Every other article nowadays is bashing, demeaning, trivializing, and putting down the gaming community as a whole. While some very true issues were hit on, this whole article just smites of an overly elaborate "NO U" to the gamers who actually give a rats ass. (which makes this articles tone on narrow mindedness very ironic mind you).

I have to admit, the Northern Ireland comment is painfully true; a man was shot in my middle-of-nowhere town just last weekend for no better reason that he was catholic and was a member of the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland, in case any of you don't know that. If you didn't know I also suggest you crawl out from under your rock and scrape all the moss off your skin, you out-of-touch pleb.)

However, I guess I'd like to consider myself one of those gamers that are far more reasonable about things; I 'love to love' I suppose, but I don't have any qualms about hating, as my general opinion of the entire damn human race and all the religious, scientific and logical fallacy that plagues them isn't a good enough indication of that.

I only get drawn into an argument when someone ELSE is a narrow-minded tosser about things. Yes, I am easily drawn into things, I'll admit that. I guess people like that just get on my nerves far more easily than most things.

Personally, I could care less about all the console x vs console y and PCs versus Consoles debate, because ultimately what you should choose depends on what you want, and there isn't some rule that says "You may not choose more than one." I'm primarily a PC gamer, but I use the Wii occasionally (Megaman 9 KICKS ASS.), I've gotten a fair bit of use out of the 360 as well, and there are games out that really make me wish I had a PS3. Although university work has seriously limited the flow of new games for me somewhat, but still.

Also, I'm one of the 18 people that are boycotting MW2 (At least for now; I'll get it eventually, but I'm not paying full price for what I personally view as half a game.) and have NOT already bought it, and are NOT pirating it.

Of course, humans in general are far too complicated to totally generalise without getting something wrong for someone, but your article does seem to describe an alarming majority of our gaming 'community', so I can hardly fault people who say the truth.

I'll admit I'm not above my own petty, impressionable human tendencies sometimes though. I hated the halo series for so long because everyone else I asked made the Halo series out to be absolutely nothing special. Then out of boredom, I sat down with Halo 3 one day, completed it, and realised that allowing my own opinion to become biased before I'd even formed my own lead me astray. I had fun with the game.

That probably sounds tangential, but my point is, that people change their behaviour based on everyone else around them; and with the gaming community, a good example of this is the mindless hatred and fanboyism you mentioned in your very article. I'm not sure how it all started (Although I think the Sega Vs Nintendo marketing campaigns certainly had at least a hand in it...) but it will be next to impossible to halt, unfortunately. It'll all depend in people acting as individuals more rather than as part of a group and allowing themselves to be swayed... something I have found that human beings are notoriously incapable of doing.

Isn't the human race grand...

Did this article have a central subject? It felt like a series of loosely related ideas.

Russ Pitts:
One can only infer that there is a subset of gamer culture that does not, in fact, want gaming to be mainstream.

No, I think that every gamer wants their hobby to become standard in today's culture but on their terms.

When the Wii releases started to show that they were catering to their casual audience more than the typical Nintendo hardcore, after SSBB came out I think, there was a genuine fear that the casualization (not a word) of gaming will eventually replace games that the hardcore want and enjoy to reach a greater audience. Gamers don't want their hobby destroyed and any popular game that goes against what is considered 'correct gaming' or is popular with a group of people considered 'incorrect gamers' is considered a threat. The easiest and most common target of this is the frat-boy demographic whom is believed to be dumbining (Wait, that's not how you spell 'dumbining'! Wait, that's not even a word!) down gaming by supporting supposedly less intelligent games. The ironic thing is that this attitude was around before Halo and those that do say a demographic is destroying gaming have probably had the same thing said of them. You never complaints concerning an influx of too many like minded people though. Nobody ever says that there are too many hardcore gamers who act just like me and I don't think anybody ever will.

No, what a lot of people want is for more future gamers, for gaming to be mainstream, but for those gamers to be like them. Heck, I'm probably like this to a degree even though I've never really cared about the casual demographic. It'll never happen though, people would game upon their own accord be it five days a week or five days a year and they will play the games that they enjoy or possible the only games they have the skill to play.

I have not bought Modern Warfare 2, I hate it, and it is because of the short campaign, and the lack of dedicated servers. I don't feel a need to spend money on something I already bought, except worse. This is why I hate, and did not buy Modern Warfare 2.

Russ Pitts:
The gaming population is growing broader by the day. So why aren't gamers becoming any less narrow-minded?

Because we know what we like and don't feel a need to change because eleventy-billion people bought the same game.

I don't have any inclination to buy MW2 because it's a modern (read:real-life) shooter, it's pretentious in that they think gunning down a bunch of computer-generated hostages somehow makes it 'controversial' and it has a fanbase just as rabid about defending it as any other title that has hit the 'best game ever!!' mark.

The more press something gets, the less I want to actually play it because it sets up a lot of false expectations and diminishes the experience for me. It took me two years to get past the Final Fantasy 7 hype to actually be able to enjoy it and even then it was because I'd heard that it was good from a friend. Seeing the commercials going on and on about 'five stars' and 'game of the year' (in summer, June/July time, six months left, thanks) is tiresome.

MW2 is a game that is a sequel of a sequel that offers less then the games that predated it. With a very short single player and extremely nerfed multiplayer (less players,no modding, no dedicated servers, less cheating protection). Let's be completely honest. If you bought this for a PC you are a tool, MW2 is a console game now Infinity Ward managed to take away anything good about the PC version.

MW2 is now a whore in a back alley trying to service as many clients as possible in as little time as possible. What really pisses me off is they will probably end up with their hands in my pants soon enough, with their sticky fingers on my thick hard wallet.

The structure and tone in this article is wonderful. Great job Russ, your a great editor!

I know I might be flamed for this, but i enjoy TF2 much more than MW2 and I play it on the crippled PS3 version! Assassin Creed 2 is in my console right now; it's so detailed and beautiful (the Latin and Spanish accents in the game are a shining example of voice acting, Yahtzee better not tip pick at all with the voices!), and I revisiting Resident Evil 2 from the PSN store.

In summary, I'm not going to let Metacritic and sales record tell me what to play.

I completely agree my fellow gamer.

I have yet to purchase this game and probably won't for quiet awhile. I would much rather play Dragon Age: Origins which is one of the best RPGs I have ever played.

I haven't played the game, and while I agree that gamers love to rip on the more successful games (World of Warcraft should be hitting you in the face as an obvious target right about now) I have never liked the argument "You don't like the game because it pushes boundaries!" Most complaints I've read about it seem to be legitimate game play issues with the single player part of the game. The storyline people call ridiculous, but I haven't seen someone call it offensive yet (though probably someone has, come to think of it).

I guess it always bothers me when people who haven't played WoW rip on it, but as someone who played it from open-beta on and off until a few months ago, I can say that the real gaming community (whatever that means) has rights to attack it for "selling out" at this point and just making it ridiculously easy. However, i still think in its first two years it was a really great game.

on a semi unrelated note, I am fully willing to admit my love for DA:O. It's beautiful.

Game sales DO NOT REFLECT QUALITY. That is to say that MW2 is the most bought piece of entertainment in history doesn't mean that it's the best piece of entertainment in history. The article raised a fair point about how gamers don't buy games that we don't like. However, the hype of the game, the promise of its premise, the glorified perfection that is the first MW, more than justify this sequel to be easily like-able. So it's the hype, the hope that sold the game, NOT QUALITY. At least, not for me or for most of the haters, if I can speak on their behalf.

The simple fact of opinion is that for me, I hate MW2's single player because it just sucks. I know that this is a weird concept, to hate a game for its quality since the game journalists of our day factor advertisement and sponsorship into the consideration, but coming from Uncharted 2 and just finished Modern Warfare's single player, MW2's single player simply sucks. It's shock and awe comes merely from the immediate imagery of the opening of each level, after that initial shock, it's just a very mundane shooter. It's almost as if the developers simply reskinned the opening training obstacle course for each level.

The story was more convoluted than if Yahtzee was commissioned to explain the entire Metal Gears story in a 5 minutes episode of Zero Punctuation. The shooting mechanics is very impressive, but that's simply copy and pasting the original Modern Warfare. The set pieces had a 5 second shock moment, then it's just boring. And the levels and mission objectives are repetitive and boring. It almost boils down to two things, defend this spot or follow a guy.

No, gamers don't love to hate and gamers don't hate to love. As a gamer, I hate MW2's single player because it simply sucks.

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