Online communities have always been a hive of heated discussion and debate, regardless of the subject matter. I've genuinely seen an argument over whether or not a lady should fold her knickers before she puts them away in a drawer. Seriously. But none of the venom spewed online bothers me half as much as that involving my biggest hobby: gaming.
as I sit down, it signs me in and says hello. Without touching a thing I can navigate menus, apps, games and movies. My games look like something I'd of only dreamed of a few years ago, and I can control some of them with my voice and hand gestures.
So, naturally, it baffles me that there's a very vocal percentage of gamers who are still so negative about the hobby, about what developers produce, and about what the companies providing the services we use to play games offer. Granted, I am of an age now where I can remember a lot of things about gaming that younger people can't, so perhaps I'm biased – but really, we have it pretty good, don't we?
With games becoming more and more aesthetically pleasing and technology becoming something we take for granted, I've noticed people are turning into the gaming equivalent of Veruca Salt. 'I want... I'm entitled to... you should give me this because I pay you money for another service...' I'm hearing these things more and more often and frankly, it disappoints me, because people seem to forget both where gaming came from and also how far it has come, as well. Gamers have become... well... spoilt.
do you really, honestly, deep down give a hoot what speed it runs at, or whether the console you don't own plays it better?
I know, I know, a lot of the hate and vitriol that goes on now is not all new. Console wars? It used to be Sega or Nintendo instead of Playstation and Xbox. The advent of the Web has done much to increase the negativity, of course – a sense of entitlement with the added element of relative anonymity hasn't done logical, sensible discussion any favours – but it really, really bugs me that positive gaming stories are so hard to come by. From comment sections filled with hate to reams of articles about pixels, frames per second and whether or not DLC is the same as buying a car and being sold the steering wheel as an added extra, there's a general sense that people have forgotten why most of us started gaming in the first place – we enjoy it.
Is the game fun? Do you enjoy playing it, does it bring you joy? These are the things that should be asked first and foremost – not does it play at 60fps, and does it run at 1080p? Those things should be secondary concerns. The real question should be “am I enjoying this game?” and if you are, do you really, honestly, deep down give a hoot what speed it runs at, or whether the console you don't own plays it better?
Sadly, the negativity runs deeper still, and gets personal. Of all the other gamers I know, most of them – and I can include myself in this – will only play online with people they actually know. They won't have contact with randoms in a lobby, or play with strangers. The reason? Guys and girls, some of you can be complete nutjobs online. Insults, swearing and even personal threats – over a game? It's unnecessary.
There's a time and a place for negativity, constructively and politely given. Save the effort for something that actually warrants it. And remember, Veruca Salt was a bad egg, and she ended up going down the garbage chute.
No good ever came from being spoilt.