So E3 is here and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s my favorite holiday! (It is too a holiday, at least at my house!) I’ve been a gamer all my life, first kid’s board games, then paper and cardboard wargames, and then they went and invented personal computers and video game consoles and arcades and… damn! Amazing stuff.
I love games!
At the same time, I know people who hate games. They see them as mind-rotting wastes of time, or hopelessly geeky, or in some way harmful to our psyches. These people stay far away from games and when they do have something to say about games, it’s something negative. I understand where they’re coming from. I don’t agree with them, but they at least make sense.
But then there’s this huge group of people who play games, but hate them. E3 comes around and they immediately start responding to every piece of content with snark or condescension or disgust. They (apparently) hate everything they see. And yet they play games.
I just don’t get it. People with other interests don’t do this. Golfers don’t talk about how much golf sucks. Stamp collectors don’t think stamps are all lame. Yachtsmen don’t hate boats. Knitters don’t curse the existence of sheep. So why are so many gamers driven to talk disparagingly about their hobby?
For years, video and computer gaming was something that you did in private. For the most part, you wouldn’t share the fact that you were a gamer when you were at a dinner party or something. If you did you’d get some very curious looks, indeed. We weren’t exactly ashamed of being gamers, but we didn’t broadcast it either.
Sometimes I wonder if this snark-attitude is a remnant of those days? If we talk disparagingly about every new game we see, we think we’re somehow holding ourselves a little bit apart from that ‘gamer stigma’ and hope non-gamers will take us more seriously?
I just don’t understand it, and it disappoints me. I keep looking for kindred spirits to share the joy of gaming with, and I find very few. And there are times when I’m right down there being as snarky and condescending as everyone else; I don’t understand myself very well, either. Hopefully I’ll re-read this post when I’m in one of those snark phases and will be able to examine my motives then. Right now I can’t imagine what I’m thinking at times like those.
Games are just games. If they drive you to generate all kinds of negative energy about them, it’s probably time to take a step back and find something else to do with your free time. Something that will have a positive impact on your life. Hopefully I’ll take that advice to heart the next time I visit SnarkVille.