Articulate… For a Gamer

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Articulate... For a Gamer

The business world apparently still has much to learn about the realities of gaming.

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The lobbiest would have ticked me off quite badly...

discrimination is the price we pay for our fun I suppose...

And the Geek shall inherit the earth.

You know, this makes me wonder: what do these people do for fun, other than video games? Golf? Watch movies?

One can only imagine.

Pink_Pirate:
discrimination is the price we pay for our fun I suppose...

It seems that way lately.

I am actually disgusted that people discriminate against people who play games like this. It's bad enough that the pastime of playing games is looked upon as a waste of time, but to imply that we're all thick to boot? Incredibly insulting. I have a degree myself and I'm not so sure I would have survived uni if not for being able to blow off steam on my Xbox when the pressure got too much for me. Thank you for this insightful article, I enjoyed reading it.

sooperman:
You know, this makes me wonder: what do these people do for fun, other than video games? Golf? Watch movies?

One can only imagine.

Pink_Pirate:
discrimination is the price we pay for our fun I suppose...

It seems that way lately.

People relax in any number of ways...gardening, reading, sports, working on cars, exercising, playing music...what's disappointing is that they're so narrow-minded that they can't fathom that intelligent adults might enjoy something that they don't.

Good Article all around. I will revel the day when we can say "I'm sure there will still be some folks who are smart and articulate... for non-gamers." d^-^b

Perfect example of how subjectiveness skews reality, and that we could all use a different perspective on things from to time.

Best article I've read in a long time. It's sad that my favorite past time is looked down upon by people.

Nice article indeed.

Sennz0r:
Perfect example of how subjectiveness skews reality, and that we could all use a different perspective on things from to time.

So true. I often think it's our ability to empathise that has allowed our civilisation to develop, and the absence/repression of that ability that encourages conflict. We could all benefit from taking the time out to walk in each others' shoes for a day.

o.0 a PUBLISHER'S note? Wow... cool!

O.T.: Great article, and I agree with a lot in it - although for some reason where I come from "gamer" is considered synonymous with "intellectual" by most people, so I find that when I'm in my own country everyone expects me to be articulate (which I am, in my own opinion - and I like to think I do fine in English, as well, if I might say so), whereas I don't have to go very far for everyone to be surprised I don't talk like I'm stoned and drunk all the time, and yes, someone actually told me most gamenerds (as he called them) he knew personally seemed to have trouble forming sentences with more than a few words, and words with four syllables or more weren't exactly their favorite words.

Not a surprise at all. Gamers often discriminate against each other. Even when it's not RPG vs FPS vs RTS or casual vs hardcore. It could be something as dumb as e-peen fights. Some gaming webcomics even celebrate the stupid gamer types.

And then there's the games themselves. You think this is an amazing showcase of technology? The content is improving, but always one step behind graphics and storytelling used for movies. At least movies don't cost 60 bucks. Gameplay is available for cheap, if that's what you really wanted.

I think it's perfectly justifiable for these people to say that gamers are a bunch of dolts who make their industry by getting ripped off.

i couldn't get past the, "long hair and body art" piece. Bull. fucking. shit.

Oh and for some reason gaming is belows a harvard prep? Gah.

I hate this. It's a freakin' bit of interactive 1's and 0's. Fuck peopel who consider it otherwise.

Thanks for being on our side.

It just goes to show that the people who think they know what is going on in the world, don't.

Emerging technologies has become the signpost for the future, and there are a great many people who can assert strong influence on the way we live our lives who have now learned the significance of this fact.

One of our senators thinks the internet is a "series of tubes" and likens transferring massive amounts of information as "dumping into a truck".

There are business people who would DIE if they did not have a twenty-something assistant to configure their smartphone with all their calender and contact info.

The people who run everything the way it is now did not grow up with this stuff, and as such, do not see it as relevant to they way they live because they did just fine without it for the first 30 or 50 years of their lives.

I believe it's going to take until the NES generation gets to be middle-aged that video games get fully integrated into our lives, they will be a common-place item in enough people's daily lives that they will become part of the public conscious; and raiding in WOW, or whatever MMORPG will be popular at the time, will become the new place for leisurely business conversation, whereas golf is where that happens right now.

"..for a gamer"?

Wow, three words to perfectly illustrate how some people are just too lazy to look past stereotypes.

But, from another perspective, our generation (those of us who grew up with games and internet) is the most informed.. since ever! Not too suprising is some older people find all that tech-gamer-net confusing.

I love this story - and hate it. It reminds me that our work is not nearly done yet. Not by half.

It's the same reason cartoons are still "for kids" to a lot of people. Doesn't matter that there are adult story lines, mature characters, etc. Cartoons are for kids, and videogames are for kids even more.

Hence why I mercilessly flip it back at anyone who makes statements like that to me.

"Why yes I do waste my time going to the ba--oh wait, that's what you waste your time doing. Sorry, I forgot, you're the mature one."

I very much appreciate that you did not bitch about be the target of discrimination. Instead of taking the wining line used by most of the comments thusfar, you merely state that soon enough the "Geek shall inherit the earth" (Triggerhappy938) and we will be better masters. While others hide inside a PC hole, you step forward into the fray, tell them they can have there wrong opinion, and go on to quietly kick ass.

I just wish those posting comments above and, likely, the rest of those reading silently understood.

"Better at football"? Really? Awesome! I'm a pro level fencer in Wii Sports Resort; I think I'll try out for the Olympic team! Look for me in London in 2012!

I think everyone is giving these naysayers too much credit. Really, people who talk like that, are just.. well, inherently undesirable. It's glaringly obvious that flinging stereotypes and lazy generalizations is how they trudge through life.

Frankly, screw 'em. I don't want them in the gaming industry, and I could care less if they get left in the dust. We'll all be better off if we stopped giving these people any attention.

"... for a gamer."

I just completed Mass Effect 2 (after Mass Effect 1 of course), and just... my god. Having heard a statement like "..for a gamer" after playing ME2, it literally makes me pity them. They don't have the courage to drop the unwarranted self-worth and play something as amazing as Mass Effect. I really do feel sorry for them, there are games coming out these days that just blow you away in depth and complexity. For them to just shrug it off because a colleague "might find out they're a gamer".. is just so damn sad.

When I see politicians, legislators and general 'do-gooders' insulting and literally stifling a medium as beautiful and complex as gaming, stepping all over an industry that out-grosses the movie industry... well, let's just say it makes me want to puke. The hypocrisy is astounding, because most of these people still hold the "lazy adolescent" stereotype on gamers. That's fine though, they can sit this one out and let the rest of humanity grow, for once.

The article is absolutely dead-on regarding the fact that gamers will be more complex, faster and smarter than the average person.

Steindorh:
o.0 a PUBLISHER'S note? Wow... cool!

O.T.: Great article, and I agree with a lot in it - although for some reason where I come from "gamer" is considered synonymous with "intellectual" by most people, so I find that when I'm in my own country everyone expects me to be articulate (which I am, in my own opinion - and I like to think I do fine in English, as well, if I might say so), whereas I don't have to go very far for everyone to be surprised I don't talk like I'm stoned and drunk all the time, and yes, someone actually told me most gamenerds (as he called them) he knew personally seemed to have trouble forming sentences with more than a few words, and words with four syllables or more weren't exactly their favorite words.

lol, well yeah with CCP being one of the few companies actually bringing in foreign money to Iceland right now that's not surprising :P. But really, we are a weird bunch of fuckers, and with such a small genepool im surprised we don't all have webbed feet, but in all seriousness Iceland has always been a very innovative society, embracing new technologies and ideas far easier than others.

The article reminds me of the creative writing class I took this previous Fall semester. I had two short story projects and being a gamer was a big influence on both.

My first story wasn't well-received by the grad-student teacher (but the class loved it). I think between the gamer characters and the near-future, post-apocalyptic fantasy setting it was asking too much of her ability to give an open-minded evaluation of my writing. Or anything helpful. "Gamers can save the world? ...I don't get it."

My second story was a challenge to write something completely different: a love-polygon comedy. Gamers made up 95% of its large cast and the setting is a college dorm. The humor was in the constant references to games, anime, and everything else Geek. Her response was better, but a double-edged sword. In her opinion, my characters were "just pathetic nerds" and that was entertainment.

My final portfolio's reflection letter communicated my semester-long facepalm. I became an English major to write stories for the kind of people I find here--not the English Department. It's not something I'm afraid to remind them of.

nerdpride:
You think this is an amazing showcase of technology? The content is improving, but always one step behind graphics and storytelling used for movies. At least movies don't cost 60 bucks. Gameplay is available for cheap, if that's what you really wanted.

I think it's perfectly justifiable for these people to say that gamers are a bunch of dolts who make their industry by getting ripped off.

I'm not certain that I entirely agree. Movies have much more elaborate Computer-Generated Images (or whatever the favorite term for it is now) in some senses -- particularly that they look more realistic. That is partly due to the much larger budgets, but also because film images don't have to do nearly as many things as the programs that control what you see in the games. Film images have a very limited set of parameters, especially as the "camera" isn't meant to interact with the "world," nor do the objects and characters themselves necessarily have to interact with each other. Advances in things like physics modeling and on-the-fly procedural content creation probably (and I have no hard data here) owe more to the game industry than the film industry.

Also, film images can take hours or days to process and resolve. A computer (or often, super-computer) will sit there and chug away at thousands of image components forever. The time it takes doesn't really matter, though, since eventually you'll end up with a series of still images that run together into a film. It will always be the same film, and it can be shown an unlimited number of times without having to go through the processing again. Computer games, on the other hand, have are having to make new images constantly and quickly, using less available processing power. Thus, game images have traditionally been less sophisticated, but at the same time, many of the advances in efficiency come from and directly benefit games over film.

Now, if you want to talk about narrative content and cost, that's another thing altogether. If all you're looking for is a story, then the average few minutes of actual narrative content in a $50 or $60 game is a bad deal next to the hour or so you'll get out of a $10 movie. Most gamers are looking for more than just story, however: they're looking for interactivity. Films are (to the anguish of many producers) an interactive medium, in that audiences make up their own opinions and mini-narratives about what is being shown on the screen, sometimes in direct opposition to what the creators intended. Again, though, this is only going to be an hour or so of interaction, and on a fairly limited scale. Games, on the other hand, can do so over three, four, even ten hours of gameplay! True, a lot of the longer games have a lot of filler and grinding that's a pain, but as long as a gamer is immersed in the world, an interactive experience is being had. And this interactivity takes many forms: a gamer will make choices in many games about clothing, accessories, weapons, cars, etc to create their own character; a gamer may imagine events hinted at but not explained onscreen (the recent article here about Half-Life 2 is a good example); or a gamer may try to break the rules of the world and perform actions completely contrary to the story or intent of the game! These are all valid interactive experiences that can be had from most games on the market. Again, this doesn't work for all games equally (just as it doesn't work for all movies equally) but the idea that a game might provide six times the interactive content isn't outside the range of possibility.

So sure, games are expensive, and they aren't as pretty as CGI movies. But to say that gamers are "dolts" who get "ripped off" by the industry is simply ignoring a good portion of why they play, and what they get out of it.

Notashrimp09:
In her opinion, my characters were "just pathetic nerds" and that was entertainment.

Sounds like you had a closed-minded idiot for an instructor. All of my writing instructors have been amazingly supportive of all the writing efforts of students (even the guy who came in with Star Wars fanfic!), and they always graded on effort, not ability. The key to constructive criticism is not to tear a person's ideas down, but to suggest ways in which their vision can be more effectively conveyed. (Also, to figure out how to make their own universes, which could well be better than that of Star Wars!)

Economic numbers are pretty robust for the hard liquor industry too, I'm pretty sure. It takes more than that to command respect.

You don't have to look far on the forums or gaming chats to be unimpressed by the social etiquette of gamers. The loudest of us are not our best ambassadors. I dont mean Yahtzee, who talks a lot of sense clothed in an emo rant--he is part of the force for good here. Anyway, videogaming is the new entertainment kid on the block, these sorts of "articulate" remarks are all part of the process of social acceptance. It is people's natural tendency to haze.

I guess I'm just saying: keep up the good work.

We're not talking just plain numbers here. Relating it to the hyper-inflated "hard liquor" industry is disingenuous, in my opinion. First of all, the game industry isn't responsible for the slaughtering of millions of people with inebriated vehicular manslaughter. Nor do games hold a candle to destroyed families in lives on many scales, due solely to alcohol abuse and it's other "effects".

The liquor industry isn't a lucrative employer either. No one gets a degree with the dreams to become a liquor factory slave (well, college students.. nevermind). Liquor is liquor, and the most you're going to do in the industry is make your own booze or sweat on the factory lines.

Then you have the gaming industry, where the entire industry and all companies are constantly begging for new talent. New intelligentsia who can compute Pi and imagine beautiful lush worlds and fluid animations all at the same time. Everybody contributes on an intellectual level with video games, to an extent, unless you want to talk about testers.

Hollywood, not so much... Unless you're making your own movie, you're basically a heightened laborer, your job is just flashier.

It's just completely asinine to not promote the video game industry. It spurs growth in education, imagination, art and the ever present greenbacks. What's not to like?

"You really need to understand some cold hard facts. Cutting edge, economy changing technology the game industry is not."

I was surprised at this. EVERY SINGLE THING in that sentence is wrong. Whether games are themselves are cutting-edge or not, games push cutting-edge technologies. A key example is, of course, Crysis, whose cutting-edge graphics became a torture-test benchmark for gaming PCs for a while. As noted in the article, the games industry is bigger (in money terms) than the movie industry. There are no cold, hard facts there; just prejudice and blindness.

And you know why? Because games aren't 'articulate'. Because most gamers are content to sit on their couches and act like they're better than everyone else because they enjoy something some other people don't. Granted, there are people who act like that in every form of entertainment, but gamers revel on it, like pigs on mud. They are always ready to charge a barrage of poorly-written insults to anyone who may not think videogames are god's gift to mankind. And because of that, games will be stuck in their current adolescent state, full of blood and precisely watered down sex, for much longer than it should, as a narrative and artistic form. Because anyone who think it should change in any way is obviously a st00pid n00b who shud shut the FUKC UP LOL!!!!111

I should've said 'we' instead of 'they' in every instance of the previous sentence, of course. I am not above my own insults after all.

Of course, this only happens now because gaming still isn't considered mainstream, so the hardcore crowd gets confused for the whole. It's as if you couldn't enjoy music without being bundled up with the pretentious indie 'well I suppose the Beatles were kind of important' crowd. As gaming as an activity grows, 'hardcore gamers' will be relegated to their true status as a loud minority.

It's sad that, specifically, game designers also get this kind of treatment. It's obvious that people think anyone who enjoys gaming acts in that despicable way. Who do they think runs gaming companies?

Lastly, 'long hair and body art'? I think they confused gaming with rock'n'roll, there.

No media is 'articulate' if you want to play by those rules. The "drop a game, pick up a book" crowd doesn't have merit, since that recent Vampire-esque series came out. Want to talk about a loud minority? Da Vinci code comes to mind also. Many people enjoyed it, average book, large audience.. but tell that to the literary snobs. My word..

The gaming community isn't an "adolescent and inarticulate crowd", humanity and society is as a whole. Games are a mega-industry now, and the entire industry cannot be judged on the merits or demerits of one small demographic or a handful of certain ill-received games. I'm not going to judge every book in the library because I didn't like the sparkling vampire novels.

Wow, a lot of the publisher's associates are quite rude... for businesspeople.
=p

The games industry is in an awkward teenager phase. They're finally able to keep up with the grown-ups...sometimes. They can contribute to intellectual adult discussions, too!...sometimes.

Just look at the on-going debate of "hardcore" versus "casual". Look at how people that play games act so passionately upon them. Yes, everyone has a movie they love and will defend it, but the only thing that gets as dirty as console wars and "PC games are teh bestest!" are Mac vs. PC vs. Linux, and they are all through the same mentally stunted fools that fancy themselves geniuses.

Film has people like Ebert to critique it and discuss it intellectually. What do video games have? Certainly nothing intellectual, that's for sure.

Lately the only game sites I read are The Escapist, Gamers With Jobs, Action Button dot Net and Twenty-Sided Tale (oh, and HardCasual, but that doesn't quite count). These are the only websites that seem capable of saying "hey, video games aren't just a childish thing". Everything else is...well, have you watched G4 lately? Did you see the Spike VGA Awards?

Right now, the video games industry is trying to market like the music industry. It's content must be too foul for any parents to want their children to listen to, but marketed strictly towards adolescents. Every once in a while something that is actually mature slips by, but not often.

Still, I think things like the Nintendo Wii will change people's perceptions over time. Sure, it seems to be nothing more than a toy in the closet for some people now, and loaded with nothing but party games (which, in truth, is about as inaccurate a statement as "you're pretty articulate...for a gamer"), but it will introduce games to a wider audience slowly, and in time they'll see the value we will. It will just take a while.

Chances are games won't be viewed like film is until I have gray hair myself, but it's on its way. I just wish more people were unhappy with its current state and trying to help it grow up instead of encouraging the childish behavior it should have grown out of. Once again, it's very much in that awkward teenage phase.

Wow, your associates sure are tactless.

During the end of that I was preparing for you to charge into battle against impossible odds, and I would've been there! Seriously, a great article.

Also, your associates are quite ignorant, I find that disturbing.

Chasmodius:

nerdpride:
You think this is an amazing showcase of technology? The content is improving, but always one step behind graphics and storytelling used for movies. At least movies don't cost 60 bucks. Gameplay is available for cheap, if that's what you really wanted.

I think it's perfectly justifiable for these people to say that gamers are a bunch of dolts who make their industry by getting ripped off.

I'm not certain that I entirely agree. Movies have much more elaborate Computer-Generated Images (or whatever the favorite term for it is now) in some senses -- particularly that they look more realistic. That is partly due to the much larger budgets, but also because film images don't have to do nearly as many things as the programs that control what you see in the games. Film images have a very limited set of parameters, especially as the "camera" isn't meant to interact with the "world," nor do the objects and characters themselves necessarily have to interact with each other. Advances in things like physics modeling and on-the-fly procedural content creation probably (and I have no hard data here) owe more to the game industry than the film industry.

Also, film images can take hours or days to process and resolve. A computer (or often, super-computer) will sit there and chug away at thousands of image components forever. The time it takes doesn't really matter, though, since eventually you'll end up with a series of still images that run together into a film. It will always be the same film, and it can be shown an unlimited number of times without having to go through the processing again. Computer games, on the other hand, have are having to make new images constantly and quickly, using less available processing power. Thus, game images have traditionally been less sophisticated, but at the same time, many of the advances in efficiency come from and directly benefit games over film.

Now, if you want to talk about narrative content and cost, that's another thing altogether. If all you're looking for is a story, then the average few minutes of actual narrative content in a $50 or $60 game is a bad deal next to the hour or so you'll get out of a $10 movie. Most gamers are looking for more than just story, however: they're looking for interactivity. Films are (to the anguish of many producers) an interactive medium, in that audiences make up their own opinions and mini-narratives about what is being shown on the screen, sometimes in direct opposition to what the creators intended. Again, though, this is only going to be an hour or so of interaction, and on a fairly limited scale. Games, on the other hand, can do so over three, four, even ten hours of gameplay! True, a lot of the longer games have a lot of filler and grinding that's a pain, but as long as a gamer is immersed in the world, an interactive experience is being had. And this interactivity takes many forms: a gamer will make choices in many games about clothing, accessories, weapons, cars, etc to create their own character; a gamer may imagine events hinted at but not explained onscreen (the recent article here about Half-Life 2 is a good example); or a gamer may try to break the rules of the world and perform actions completely contrary to the story or intent of the game! These are all valid interactive experiences that can be had from most games on the market. Again, this doesn't work for all games equally (just as it doesn't work for all movies equally) but the idea that a game might provide six times the interactive content isn't outside the range of possibility.

So sure, games are expensive, and they aren't as pretty as CGI movies. But to say that gamers are "dolts" who get "ripped off" by the industry is simply ignoring a good portion of why they play, and what they get out of it.

I'm judging the final product of either form of media, of course. Efficiency in graphics technology is nice, but like you said, it's not a useful development for other fields of work. Remember, we're looking at things from the perspective of the Fortune 500 person. :)

Interactivity is a quality that depends on the person ingesting the media. I personally get much more out of books than either games or movies, so much that it's difficult to empathize with people who don't. There is much more of a mental connection with the intent of the author through rapidly following a linear story. Criticism and reflection yield some amount of interactivity, even while reading you could decide what clothing characters might be wearing, but most importantly, the reader is free to do exactly what they want to do. Videogames might someday achieve nonlinearity, but for now they're almost entirely linear and slow, oftentimes offset with an option of being "good" or "bad" (whatever that means to gamers and game developers).

Someone posted something about the amazing experience of Mass Effect. But I'd say that it's nothing compared to some serious Sci-Fi. And the best, of course, is the real world experience of putting something visceral together and profiting from it, which is what these businesspeople take part in. This is why I study engineering.

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