Editor's Note: Cold Dark Heart

Cold Dark Heart

Russ Pitts believes that the negative reactions of gamers stems from our unbridled optimism.

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All good points. But when a gamer is given the choice to either feel happy after a tunnel of pain or feel sad after a tunnel of happiness they tend to after a while just numb their feelings out of desperation not because they choose to do so.
just my two cents.

Although I am liking these articles, could someone please tell me why are we suddenly on a hate-themed week?

Did I miss something?

Anyways, about optimism...

The only thing I can say is a quote by Karel Čapek:

As we grow up, we lose our optimism

And this quote for me it just says the truth. I have lost optimism about the people, friends, gaming...

It has happened to me, but only for short amounts of time.

Usually it's directly after I've been disappointed by a game. Recently that happened after I bought Red Dead Redemption. Boy, that game had me exited like nobody's business. But I was disappointed by the fact that out of all things the game had, freedom to be whatever cowboy you wanted wasn't there. Or at the very least, it didn't have enough of it.

Not to render my comment off topic, but I'll justify what I said by saying that if you can't have control over your character's personality in a game, then it does not matter how much control you have over his actions. It will never feel completely free.

But I digress. After I had been disappointed by the game, it took me a while to get back my will to play and enjoy games as a whole. I bought some games I had already completed that I knew I loved, but it was to no avail, and I didn't dare spend money on anything new out of fear of disappointment. I spent my time with movies and the Escapist forums instead of gaming.

I got better later of course, mostly thanks to PC gaming. Trying out Hitman: Blood Money on Furburt's PC got me in a better mood, and not long after that I bought The Darkness and Singularity. Singularity was a disappointment, but my spirits where restored, and it didn't affect me. The Darkness proved more than enough to quench my thirst for good games, as did Alpha Protocol when I later bought that.

I might be disappointed by a game in the future again, but when that happens I don't know. I do know that whenever it does happen, I won't be in a state of deep hatred forever.

Khaiseri:
Although I am liking these articles, could someone please tell me why are we suddenly on a hate-themed week?

Did I miss something?

Anyways, about optimism...

The only thing I can say is a quote by Karel Čapek:

As we grow up, we lose our optimism

And this quote for me it just says the truth. I have lost optimism about the people, friends, gaming...

It's the theme of this week's issue - Cold, Dark Heart.

I disagree that there cannot be pleasure without pain, there can be pain/pleasure and only neutral events. Also, I don't have the qualities of a unicorn, by your logic, unicorns have to exist as one thing cannot exist without its counterpart.
Finally, to quote a great man, people are "Bastards. Bastard coated bastards with bastard filling. But I don't find them half as annoying as I find naive bubble-headed optimists who walk around vomiting sunshine."

Susan Arendt:

Khaiseri:
Although I am liking these articles, could someone please tell me why are we suddenly on a hate-themed week?

Did I miss something?

Anyways, about optimism...

The only thing I can say is a quote by Karel Čapek:

As we grow up, we lose our optimism

And this quote for me it just says the truth. I have lost optimism about the people, friends, gaming...

It's the theme of this week's issue - Cold, Dark Heart.

Ah...

That explains it all. Thanks for the reply. I do not read weekly issues much, mainly because I normally am not being able to read them every day they appear, or just haven't noticed. Again thanks for the explanation.

sentient_afterbirth:
I disagree that there cannot be pleasure without pain, there can be pain/pleasure and only neutral events. Also, I don't have the qualities of a unicorn, by your logic, unicorns have to exist as one thing cannot exist without its counterpart.
Finally, to quote a great man, people are "Bastards. Bastard coated bastards with bastard filling. But I don't find them half as annoying as I find naive bubble-headed optimists who walk around vomiting sunshine."

It's essential duality.

If you have never experienced pleasure, then you cannot truly understand what pain is. If you exist in a constant state of pain, you cannot comprehend pleasure because in a sense pain becomes neutral for you. Neutrality exists, but in order to understand pleasure/neutrality/pain beyond meaningless words you must have a comparison.

But yeah, I think starting a guild 2 years before it released then being disappointed as all hell by Warhammer Online really has affected my outlook on most games. I'm much more cautious then I used to be.

Topic of the week, the abridged version:

Cynicism, nihilism, general misery. Yay?

Khaiseri:
Although I am liking these articles, could someone please tell me why are we suddenly on a hate-themed week?

Because.

sentient_afterbirth:
Finally, to quote a brainless moron the likes of whom are the main reason of the impending Dark Age...

Gee, i'm so sorry. We're on a hate week, couldn't help myself.

sentient_afterbirth:
Finally, to quote a great man, people are "Bastards. Bastard coated bastards with bastard filling. But I don't find them half as annoying as I find naive bubble-headed optimists who walk around vomiting sunshine."

He doesn't sound that great to me. In fact he sounds like Dr Cox from Scrubs before he started going to therapy and sorted out his life. Maybe it is. Whoever said it I certainly wouldn't want to be trapped in a lift with him.

-Nick

Risk is the optimal point here. Optimism implies hope, and hope is always linked to risk. Pessimism implies despair, and despair is also linked to risk. Hope comes from risks worth being taken, while despair comes from risks that weren't worth the effort. Risking is always vulnerable. It exposes us to both great triumphs and grave defeats. Gaming is a unique area to look at this phenomenon, which we see in all aspects of life, because there are many easily identifiable layers of risk.

First as Russ pointed out there is the risk of the newest game, hardware, community, etc. not panning out the way we hoped. It didn't match up with what our risking ourselves was worth to us. Even if we didn't get hurt, just being less then satisfied could be cause enough to not be as willing to risk as much in the future. The less effort we put forth when we risk the less we can be disappointed, however the inverse is also true. The less we can be elated when little effort is put forth.

This is also a core aspect of gaming in general. When we are playing games we are risking our avatars. Whether they be the hand and gun seen in an FPS, the legions of obedient soldiers at our disposal in an RTS, the custom designed and cared for characters of an RPG (especially MMO's), or even the level indicator and scoreboard of the Tetris screen. Risk is intrinsic to success in gaming. If you don't move forward you will never win and experience the end of the "hope" you started with.

Just as with life we cannot let defeat lure us into giving up and not risking. It always ends in shells of the people we could and should be. Now of course in gaming it's a bit easier. First off we don't actually fall down the pit of bottomlessness to our death like our on screen counterpart. So that is a safety feature that provides us with more confidence in our ability to risk. We know we won't actually fail. Beyond that there are always walk-throughs, and beyond that cheats if we decide they are wanted. (I personally never think they're needed, but either way want/need the point is they're available.)

This environment of a safety net allows us to find out that risking is worthwhile. And while there is no cheat sheet for life, perhaps seeing that the risk is worth taking in a game can remind us that risk is worth taking in real life as well. That is one of the reasons I game. At the end of the day I might not be employed at the moment, but I can kill a bunch of Zerg with my old copy of Starcraft, and know that risking yields rewards. There is hope. Always hope.

This note and the articles in this issue are timely and excellent.

The topics covered by these articles, fanboyism, PC gaming frustration, noob abuse, are all really peaking in intensity lately and crying out to be examined. As usual the take offered by the writers is insightful and provokes thinking and discussion.

Going too long without self examination and possible change in attitudes and habits is never good and The Escapist does genuine service to maturing the whole gaming genre. Something I believe more and more of us are agitating for and demanding. Well done.

Interesting. I find it funny that one person can see gaming, and the gaming community as a sign of optimism, while others, such as myself, find that gaming, at it's core is either about competition, or outright escaping from the same horrible world described above, while the community is for sharing things to help keep that world out.

This is a rather unique topic for me, if only because I've been on a big pessimism binge ever since Fallout 3 royally pissed me off (a topic I need to tiptoe around since it's apparently the Escapist community's favorite game).
I can personally attest that being overly pessimistic and cynical is poisonous. I cannot think of a worse feeling than that of absolute apathy; Not being able to care about anything or want to do anything.

Without breaking into flaky-philosophy or sounding like a self-help freak, the feeling of absolute cynicism and apathy is the equivalent of being a mindless husk. You don't want that. Nobody should have to feel like that.
Now, don't be blindly optimistic; that's a recipe for a different kind of soul-crushing disaster, and breeds naivety. Just be rational and use reasonable judgment.

Good article, and one I wouldn't necessarily expect from a gaming forum.

vxicepickxv:
Interesting. I find it funny that one person can see gaming, and the gaming community as a sign of optimism, while others, such as myself, find that gaming, at it's core is either about competition, or outright escaping from the same horrible world described above, while the community is for sharing things to help keep that world out.

Your picture...Jake Armitage!! The original dragon-killing Decker-Shaman-StreetSam!
Sorry. I couldn't help myself.

 

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