It’s the end of gaming as we know it, and I feel fine

This post is based on intuition and feelings. I’m feeling pretty confident that I’m right but I have neither the time nor the energy to dig up citations. So consider it a rant.

I can’t help escape the feeling that gaming (whatever you imagine gaming as an entity to be) is charging full-bore into a brick wall and it’s going to crash pretty soon. I’m not sure what will result from this crash but I’m confident there’ll be some kind of rebirth.

So what’s driving this imminent disaster? Is it the corporate soul suckers at {insert major publisher name}? Nope. It’s the gaming mob, slathering for blood and reveling in whatever hurt they can find. And what drives the mob? So called ‘game journalists’ who hop from PR disaster to PR disaster, beating dead horses until they’re unrecognizable and gleefully chortling at the huge numbers of comments they get from outraged gamers.

In a perfect world, there’d be no PR disasters for them to hop to, but you may have noticed this world isn’t perfect. But there’s a different between reporting and wallowing. SimCity is an obvious recent example; I’m still seeing new posts about how “there’s no calculations being done in the cloud” or whatever. Yes, we heard you the first 3 times you wrote a post about this. Of course gamers come back in force decrying EA and praying for its downfall. So the blood sucking journos keep writing the same post to get more ad impressions.

I could rant about this all day. We hate EA. We hate Ubisoft. We hate Activision (though to be fair Bobby Kotick has been doing a lot better about not sticking his foot in his mouth lately and with our short attention span many of us have forgotten that we hate Ubisoft). In short we hate all the big publishers (Note: Valve is a huge retailer but not a very big publisher). But it’s OK, we have the Indies! And that’s true, we do…but if ALL we had were the indies how long would it take for you to get tired of chip-tunes and faux-8-bit graphics? I love the Indies but they don’t have the $$ to make a game on the scale of a Dishonored or a Borderlands 2.

So anyway yeah, I could rant about this all day but I won’t because I’ve decided something: I just don’t care anymore.

If gaming collapses under the vitriol of the fans, I’ll go back to reading books and watching sci-fi films without missing a beat. Though in truth I have SUCH a huge backlog of games now that if I never bought another one I’d still be playing for years.

And I’m finding that the less I talk about games on social networks, and the fewer gaming site posts I read, the more fun I have actually playing the games I have. Again, SimCity is a great example, but so is Fire Emblem. I LOVE that game but at one point I started reading boards and hearing about what a sell out Nintendo is because DLC is too expensive and thinly disguised pay to win and… at that point I shut the browser window. Ignorance, it turns out, is bliss.

Playing games in a vacuum turns out to be more more enjoyable than arguing about games with my friends.

But why do we even argue? Fanboyism to some extent. But also I think we want the games we love to do well so that they’ll be supported for a long time with patches, DLC, expansion packs and sequels. I’ve played and really enjoyed Defiance but my friends (some of them) shit all over it. Oakstout said something like “If I could teach my dog to play MMOs, Defiance would be the last game I let him play.” Which I’m pretty sure is an insult. And the game hasn’t even launched. Why talk about the game and give voices like that a platform to be heard (I appreciate the hypocrisy of my sharing that story here)? I want Defiance to do great so that I keep getting new content.

This weekend is PAX East and sadly we won’t be able to attend this year. But based on my experiences of the last 2 PAX Easts, the weekend will find tens of thousands of gamers gathering together and having a blast. Where is that angry mob we see online? Do those people just not attend PAX? I don’t think that’s the case…I think people who take the time to comment on gaming sites are exactly the people who’d devote a weekend to a show about gaming.

But y’know who isn’t there? Or at least doesn’t have a voice on the show floor? The gaming press. Instead of listening to the gaming press’s endless prattle about what’s wrong in gaming, the people at PAX are on the ground, seeing games, trying games, talking to other gamers in the presence of games, talking to game developers..just being there. And they remember something:

Games are supposed to be fun. No, correction: games ARE fun.

On the internet, we celebrate the failure of gaming companies and that just leads to a toxic environment. At PAX, we celebrate games and what we love about them.

From now on I’m going to focus on celebrating games. Unfortunately I don’t think that’s possible to do with others online. But that’s OK, all that time I save arguing, I’ll spend playing and enjoying the games I love. I’ll appreciate them while they’re still here because the gaming journalists will eventually roast the golden goose that is keeping them fed and housed.

Gaming will rise again and maybe the next time around we can focus more on the positive.