Game And Let Game

One of the biggest challenges of being part of a global gamer community based on social networks is existing in such a huge ‘hive-mind’ without losing your identity.

Definition of hive-mind in this context: The majority opinion of the influencers in my social graph. The hive-mind that I experience is almost certainly not the hive-mind that you experience since you and I follow a different set of individuals. I don’t mean hive-mind in a negative context, by the way.

For me personally, I find it can be frustrating when I don’t “get it” when it comes to a particular game. A couple of recent examples: Guild Wars 2 and Diablo 3. People who I know, respect, and even look up to are ecstatic about these titles and their enthusiasm is infectious as heck. They get me super excited about these games.

But the excitement dies as soon as I start playing. Now don’t get me wrong, I liked what I saw of Guild Wars 2 during the beta weekend, and I like Diablo 3 well enough, but I’m not feeling the passion that the hive-mind is feeling. I don’t find myself dying to play them while I’m at work, for instance. I certainly don’t feel the urge to cheerlead for them. They’re good games but I don’t love them. I want to. I want to be as excited about these titles as my friends are. It’s fun being in love with a shiny new computer game!

[Backdoor clause: I reserve the right to change my mind about GW2 once I play it more. LOL]

But love is fickle and you can’t make yourself love a game. The best you can do is try to open yourself up to it’s possibilities and see if it can win you over.

But too often we don’t do that. Instead, we give in to the temptation to try to ‘correct’ the hive-mind. While I think to some extent this is a natural tendency (we want our friends to have the most fun possible and in our opinion the games they’re playing aren’t the most fun ones out there) it almost never leads to a positive outcome because our technique is flawed. Our friends love their game. 90% of the time [I made that number up] pointing out its flaws is just going to annoy them (and some of what you see as flaws they’ll see as great features).

(Think of this in terms of people. Your best friend just fell head-over-heels in love with someone who is really cheap. You point out how awful it is that your friend’s new love regularly stiffs the server at your favorite restaurant and it’s making your gang unwelcome at the local hangout. 9 times out of 10 your friend will find an excuse for his/her new beloved’s behavior and if you push the issue, they’re just going to get mad at you. They’re in love! They aren’t looking for reasons not to be!)

For me, and for plenty of others (whether they realize it or not), it’s a constant struggle to “Game and let game.” on social networks.

It’s OK that I don’t love Diablo 3 or Guild Wars 2. Yes, it’s a little sad that I can’t join in on the constant delight that my friends are experiencing, but game-love is fleeting and by the time the dog days of summer hit the hive-mind will have moved on to something else and maybe I, too, will love the new discovery.

I’m going to try and adopt “Game and Let Game” as my new motto. I will continue to extol the virtues of the games that I love on social networks, but I’m going to try to refrain from pointing out the obvious (to me anyway) flaws in the games my friends love.

Oh, and just to be clear, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t talk about a game’s flaws. I’m really speaking to context. I’ll write a blog post explaining what I find missing in Diablo 3, sure. But I won’t jump into a thread on G+ where a bunch of people are sharing the delight they’re finding with the game in order to point out flaws. Let them enjoy the game they clearly love. If they want to read my criticisms, have it be their choice. Don’t shove it in their faces.

I’m hoping if I adopt this new philosophy it’ll make my social graph a tiny bit more pleasant for everyone, including myself. (I’m no altruist!) And maybe, just maybe, others will pick up on the better karma and kick it forward to others.

3 thoughts on “Game And Let Game

  1. What I’m missing here is the part where the new girlfriend is actually a really great, smart and perfect person for said friend. She’s not your type at all but she is perfect for your friend, you know? It sounds like Diablo 3 and Guild Wars 2 are great games now for “the hive-mind” but sooner or later, they will realise they’re nothing special. But just because they’re nothing special for you, doesn’t mean others will have to agree with you sooner or later (once they’re freed from the hive-mind). Maybe I misunderstood you, though, or went too far interpreting what you said. ^^

    I see that with Star Wars: The Old Republic (and Diablo 3, I guess. I like the game – not the policies etc. around the game – but it’s lacking something for me). People around me were hyper and couldn’t wait for its release. I’m just shrugging my shoulders here because I don’t know what’s great about it. I’m the same you are: I wouldn’t go to a conversation others are having who love the game and spoil their fun. As you said: Game and let game.

    I did write about why I don’t love this game in my blog. And I would tell people my reasons if they asked. But I don’t tell people who love the game why they shouldn’t do that. On the one hand, pointless for the reasons you mentioned, on the other hand, rude because my opinion isn’t the only right one out there. ^^

  2. I felt the same way about Tera. All my friends loved and everyone on Twitter/G+ is having a blast but I can’t stand the game. So I just let ya’ll be and call it a day. I think the hardest part is when you love something and you want to share it with your friends but they don’t get it. You keep trying but I think in the end it just makes them hate it more. It’s just in our nature to want to share the things we love and to sometimes be like WTF are you thinking that’s awful. The great thing about friends is that at the end of the day you still have a hobby you both enjoy and that should be enough.

  3. Outstanding post – and I wholeheartedly endorse the entire message. Lord knows I wish more people could adopt a game and let game philosophy. For my own perspective – I would add one more thing. Game and let Game *enthusiastically*. Here’s what I mean:

    I know I’m one of the people in your hive mind that’s been gushing about GW2 and DIII. Make no bones about it – I really do think these two games are the cat’s pajamas. But among my own collection of gaming friends – the hive mind, if you will, there are a number of people that are hugely enthusiastic about The Secret World – a game I’m decidedly unenthused about. And as well – quite a few that really fell in love with Tera – a game that I thought was okay, but didn’t really draw me in. And I regularly gush about City of Heroes – a game for which the vast majority of my brethren don’t share the slightest similar passion for.

    I have, at various times, felt strongly inclined to write – just as you have – about why, for example, I’m already pretty sure I won’t like The Secret World. And I did, even, write a bit about why I was meh on Tera. But honestly, whenever I’m of a different mindset than my peers, I’ve endeavored to, instead of writing negatively about something I might not like, to instead just write more positively about the stuff I do like. So when you see me going on about Diablo III, or GW2, or CoH, it’s not really out of any effort to convince others that “Hey I like this you should too”, but really more out of my opinion that I think people would rather read, and share in on, and perhaps live vicariously through – the things that you _are_ passionate about, rather than read about the things that you aren’t – even if those reasons are *very good reasons!*, lol.

    But in general, I couldn’t agree more with the sentiment in this post. Now _stay awhile, and listen_, while I explain to you why you’re wrong about D3.. 😀

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