*Because this post may be heavily biased due to personal history and opinion, bear in mind that this does not speak for all gamers. We hope you enjoy part 1 of our discussion series that explores the two polarized sides to gaming!*
Continuing the theme of talking in regards of popular fan communities, I figured I would tackle another community that I often associate myself with. This community in question is the gaming one. This is a community that is often under fire for inspired crimes, degradation of women, the promotion of general violence and the bettering of one’s reflexes and mental capacity. The community is not a stranger to difficult coverage nor is it shy about covering topics that are quite taboo or scandalous in nature but it is the fans of the hobby that get the most limelight. What comes to mind when you think of a gamer? Someone who plays games of course but, what else? Well, you get a lot of the, “Well they are usual fat, they play violent games, they are entitled. All they ever do is play games. They get so easily worked up.” These are just some of the examples I could think of and I am sure everyone can pen down a list of potential conceptions of what a gamer is. The sad truth is we all have contributed to this these notions in more ways than one. We are a jumbled mess of toxicity and hate. Not everyone one of us is like that though. Many gamers strive to differentiate themselves from the CoD Fanboys or the LoL/DOTA players. The ones that are frankly in the media limelight for usually all the wrong reasons. This is not to say that there is not good in the gaming society, however there are an overwhelming amount of bad ones.
Take for example the ones that farm their fan-base for free stuff. I can speak of one example on my own personal twitter account where a girl would beg, whine and fawn over how much she wanted a specific new title. Days later she overwhelmingly burst into jubulous song when she was finally gifted the said title she wanted plus more from other individuals. Now are the ones who gifted her these games bad? Not necessarily. They just wanted to gift her a game. Was their ulterior motives? Of course. There always is when it comes to anything we do in life. It is just how the world works but, it is the act that we catered to a person who felt that if she whined enough, she would get what she wanted. Many gamers use this sort of bait tactic on Twitch or within my own place of work. “I really want this but I cannot afford it so let’s see if I can beg my community for it.” Is an age old practice. I mean we did this to our parents when we were kids. Does it give a very positive impression of the community? I for one would say no. It shows that we cater to the whiny individuals who want and want but don’t give the same amount back in return. As I mentioned early not everyone is like this. There are gamers that will lash back with huge charity streams and events that go towards helping people with things like food, water or clothing. These are the individuals that deserve the limelight. Sadly, we like to focus too much on the negativity to acknowledge the good.
We can also venture into the overall aggressive nature of the community as a whole. I have never talked to or played with more angry, hateful and spiteful individuals in my life than when it comes to gamers; of any type for the matter. These individuals become so invested, so wrapped up in the virtual world that when they lose or they have to face reality, they flip. They become enraged and they go to such lengths as to send threatening messages, SWATing or just plan cyber-bullying all together. IS this promoting or painting a positive image of this community? Hell no. It is creating a image that is utterly disgusting and frankly off putting. It off puts me so much that I will vehemently refuse to play online so I do not have to interact with these sort of characters. Yes, I can simply ignore them and yes developers are trying to find ways to weed out the sour and rotten cores but they cannot win every battle. Granted telling a gamer, “It’s just a game.” Will often times cause them to give you a sideways glance or they will become overly defensive over a function that does not affect their actual lives. It borderlines on obsessiveness to a level unlike anything before it. Man, the more I write about this, the more I feel the gaming community that I am apart of, is just a stinking pit of misery and despair. That is a sad truth that we all need to face and accept.
The toxic community that we call home just doesn’t sit there. There are communities that combat this misconceptions and attempt to reform the image of what it means to be a gamer. Some of the best charity events are usually funded by gamers. If they can buy or watch what they enjoy and give money towards a noble cause at the same time, many of them will do it. That is until you find out that some charitable streams often end with some, mind you a VERY small select few, pocketing some of that money for their own use. I mean it is a digital world where you go by a different name and no one can hurt you… Right? Well, like I mentioned above. SWATing is just one tool that can ruin a person’s day as well as actual city resources. When a sour gamer loses a match and feels they need to enact some swift vindication, they pretend to be the other player by finding their IP address and phone number and then calling public areas with threats of violence. These acts usually result in the police, often times a SWAT team, bursting into the home of the targeted player and making their day a living hell. All because the other player lost a match. When you start taking a piece of data, code, 0’s & 1’s all too seriously, you are just giving the hobby you enjoy and love a sour image.
Gamers are the most toxic of individuals. Strong wording for a community that is one of the single, largest communities on this planet; yet it is a needed realization. We all cannot pretend that we have not contributed to this toxicity in some way. We want to paint ourselves as white knights of gaming but I too have had a past streak of childish behavior when I was younger. For me, it stayed in my childhood and has not influenced my choices when I play a game. When I lose a match, I don’t go over to the player that killed me over and over and send him a salty message just because I need to feel better about myself, I simply just press the next match option. However this is a practice that IS gaining popularity. We are calling out those individuals who beg for their own gain, who see lost game matches as life altering and soul crushing events. These almost horrid behaviors are just the tip of the iceberg sadly. The gaming community is full of variation and each is a community segregated by ideals. There are gamers and developers who play and make for the love of a good story and passion for what games CAN become. They focus not on the importance of a, Kill’s over Death’s ratio, or lost matches. They want to enjoy their games to their fullest potential. This is a group that constantly clashes against the negative individuals in the gaming culture and we often associate their great deeds as heroic one.
However, we are trying to change our image as a whole and we are doing so in strides and steps. This is but one part in a planned discussion series that attempts to talk about both sides of the gaming community. I know this may be a bit forward and may seem like an attack against one side but we will also be looking into the discussion point about over righteous gamers. I would also like to state that these are my personal views and my opinion. Doesn’t make me an industry expert by any means. So, let’s discuss this further in the comment section down below! If you are a gamer what are your takes? Do you feel like our community is heavily influenced by overly toxic individuals or do you feel it is just inflated news? If you are not a gamer, still feel free to give us your outside impressions! We love to hear any and all sides. Feel free to talk to us on our Twitter about it as well! Our part two should hopefully be out later this week or next week, depending on our work schedules.
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