When Did It Become Taboo To Like Video Games?

Jeez, Rob, don’t you hate anything anymore?
-Actual response to PlanetXbox360’s Kinect Star Wars review, as tweeted by Robert Workman, the author of the article.

I can’t quite wrap my head around that one. This guy is basically asking, “”Jeez, why do you have to be so happy and positive all the time?” I can only hope this person was being sarcastic, but it got me thinking; the fact that this person even asked the question is alarming. It’s as if the commenter expected a negative review and when he didn’t get it he was shocked.

I don’t have to go far to see other examples of this: forums, comment sections, etc. People who actually like certain games are verbally destroyed for their opinions. Did you like Mass Effect 3’s ending? Stay away from the BioWare forums. Does Capcom’s on-disc DLC initiative not bother you? Don’t let the Capcom-Unity forums know. I could go on and on, but no matter where I turn, it’s all the same: people are made to feel inferior/inadequate/etc because they dare to go against the grain and actually ENJOY the games they’re playing.

I have to ask: when did this happen? When was it not okay to actually enjoy playing video games? When did it become the norm to hate absolutely everything they’re playing?  What’s the point of playing these games if there’s no chance of liking it?

I LOVE video games. This is a media that I’ve played the age of three. Over twenty years of gaming, growing up alongside the consoles I played, has given me an appreciation for the industry that won’t diminish any time soon. Unfortunately, I feel like I’m in the minority here: people love to hate video games. They love to take to the internet just to bitch and complain about the latest thing that pisses them off, even when their rage is caused by something that shouldn’t anger them. Hell, there are YouTube videos with hundreds of thousands of views of people just spouting off about something, shooting from the hip and jumping to conclusions before the game is even in their hands. What’s the point of being excited for an upcoming game with that kind of defeatist attitude?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not immune to disliking games, Have I liked every game I’ve played? Not a chance. Plenty of games have pissed me off, disappointed me, made me sad, but I never got to the point where I wanted to log onto the internet and scream at the people who made the game. I took the game out of my system, never played the game again, and that was that. Done, finito, see ya later. It’s that easy.

As a writer, I know that my articles and opinions aren’t going to match those that read my work. As they say, you can’t please everyone. However, I’ve noticed that I get two types of comments:

Comment Type 1 (this one from my In Defense of Mass Effect’s 3 Ending, so spoilers!!):
Only gripes I have about the ending is WHY is the Normandy using a Mass Relay?!?!?! They were supposed to be on Earth with the rest of the galaxy fighting the Reapers. Another one is why is Ashley getting of of the Normandy after the crash???? I had her in my squad during the last mission, shouldn’t she have died with me since everyone else died too? She just magically got beamed up into the Normandy ala Star Trek? I would’ve rather had the ending show all the species trying to co-exist on Earth. I also expected Shepard to die too, the developers were pretty adamant on this being te end of Shepards story.”

This is a guy who read my opinion, thought of his counter-argument, then presented it in a way that sounds civil and informed. Just the kind of commenter I like.

Comment Type #2 (this one from my When Being Angry About A Game Goes Too Far piece):
yeah well f*** you you f***ing f***** we live in a f***ing democracy and people do what they want you s***c***.

Needless to say, he didn’t censor himself, I did it for him. How is this productive? How does this encourage any type of discussion? I take it this guy doesn’t agree with me, but how can I even engage this? These are the comments that I, a volunteer writer on an up-and-coming site, gets…can you imagine the type of feedback a developer or publisher gets on a daily basis? I don’t even want to think about it.

Here’s a hypothetical situation: a high school kid, graduating high school in a couple of months, wants to join the gaming industry. This kid ventures online to see what’s going on, but all he or she can see is verbal assaults, boycott threats, and other general douchebaggery. Why would he, in his right mind, want to subject himself to that? Who wants to be told they’re wrong for how they feel? Do we not understand how we can affect not only other people, but our industry in general with our continued immaturity? This is an Armageddon situation, sure, but it’s entirely possible.

All I’m getting at is this: I wish the entire mindset on games would change. Games are supposed to be FUN, something to be enjoyed and loved. They’re GAMES for Christ’s sake, by definition they are entertainment. Why then do we try so hard to NOT be entertained? When someone talks about how much they enjoyed a game, someone takes the time to tell them they’re wrong (in the case of a forum post) or that they’re paid off by the company (in the case of a reviewer). Is it really that bad that people LIKE games? Why is it now taboo?

Pretty soon we’re going to have Game Lovers Anonymous. “Hello, I’m Jason Fanelli, and I enjoy playing video games.”

I fully expect to hear things like “it’s a free country, we can say what we want, stop crying about people not liking games” and all that jazz, and tt’s true: America is a free country. You are free to say what you want. However, you’re also free to show some respect to peers, to be decent to your fellow gamer, and to encourage civility and logic even if someone disagrees with you. If that happens, maybe the entire culture of gaming will be a little more upbeat.

Make it a point to enjoy the next game you play. You might be surprised how good it feels.

Hit the forums here to rant/rave