Monday, March 19, 2012

Quick Defense of Gamers and Gaming Culture

Video-game culture is massive in scope, yet still massively misunderstood. It's diverse, inclusive, even economically sensible, but despite this, Gamers are still bullied for their chosen hobby. It's time to admit that picking on people who play video games has no justifiable grounds. Let's recognize this stereotype for what it is, stupid; and then let's mock and laugh at it in order to deteriorate it's potency until gaming is no longer socially unacceptable. Gamers come from all social groups and are just like everyone else. Que the Mario Kart joke:

If you don't 'get' this picture, then you can GTFO right now.


Too often are Gamers viewed as immature, or somehow lacking a quality that everyone else has. If that quality is slapping asses in the showers after a hockey game, or treating people like crap because they can't do something we can do, then yes, we are lacking certain "qualities". Where maturity is concerned, by which standard are Gamers being measured, and whom is enacting this standard? You think that playing video games is immature? Oh, maybe we should watch Jersey Shore like everyone else, would that be better?

I'll take even the crappiest video game over this crew of douche bags, any day.

The most redundant, yet popular dig that is made towards Gamers comes in the form of: "why don't you make some friends?" Or, "I'd rather hang out with friends, video-gaming is too anti-social". People talk as if being a gamer is synonymous with being a loner, or a loser. These points are not valid. Gaming is very social, and in some cases, it's the best access to socialization that people have. It can be taken too far; as seen with severe cases of addiction. But that's the case with anything, isn't it? Moderation is always key.



Gaming is often thought of as dangerous; as if the demeaning comments and ignorant vulgarities lobbed towards Gamers are somehow appropriate or justified. If you mention you play video games in certain social environments (just about anywhere), you better expect to be mocked and ridiculed. It's because politicians and activists (mostly ignorant suburban moms) have labelled video games as violent and pornographic. They say that games that feature violence will make people who play them violent. Which is of course the same as claiming that hanging around tall people will make you taller. It's sensationalist bullshit, total white-noise. Video games are art. Indeed, some of the world's greatest artists are graphic designers. But like any art-form, there are those too shallow to appreciate it's beauty and depth so they attempt to bring everyone to their level by doing the only thing they know how to do; by censoring the hell out of it.

Boom, roasted.

I'd challenge anyone who thinks that playing video games is anti-social to look up the top five most successful games of all time, and then try to defend their point-of-view. They wouldn't be able to, because aside from WiiFit (which is a game designed to teach proper exercise routines and techniques in a fun, engaging manner), the other four top-selling-games are multiplayer-focused games. What is anti-social about getting online with your friends and spending a few hours conversing while doing something you all enjoy, together? Feel free to be a drone to your mindless 'Reality' TV, I'll engage in exercising my hand-eye coordination and practicing my critical thinking skills.



With technological advances making gaming more accessible than ever, it can be argued that gaming, specifically multiplayer gaming, has become a safe-haven for people who are picked on outside and at school. Not to say that there aren't bullies and dicks who play games online (ask any Gamer why they auto-mute everyone except their friends the instant they join a Call of Duty lobby and you'll understand what I mean), or that every gamer is someone who games due to bullying or social awkwardness. But it is safe to say that for the ones who do get bullied, the "geeks" and "nerds", or the ones who don't quite 'fit in' (AKA the people who will occupy the best and brightest of academia years down the road), they will always have a place in an online community. I was 16 before a PC gave me access to online gaming; and it didn't negatively impact my social life, inversely, it uplifted it. What everyone opposed to video games fails to grasp is that it creates a welcoming environment for everyone; even the worst Gamers will find other not-so-good Gamers to play with. The beauty of it all is that while Gamers will be chirped and picked on when they fail at sports events, sports players would be welcomed in a game with open arms (figuratively, of course). Internet gaming is the place where you'll never be picked last to play on a team again.

There's no reason for this picture to be here, I just thought it was clever and wanted to share it.

Video game culture is just like any other massive and diverse group of individuals; it is what you make of it. Violent video games do not make people violent anymore than playing Grand Theft Auto makes me want to steal cars and use prostitutes (I've wanted to do that long before I knew of those games). Tongue-in-cheek jokes aside, the stereotypes are not accurate, the politicians claiming video-games are pornographic and violent are idiots incapable of recognizing art, and anyone so dense to claim that a Gamer is less-cool, or more-geeky, better soak up their time being the cool ones now; because down the road the top-notch jobs in your country will be filled with the "geeks" you used to pick on.


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