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Let's not let cynicism consume us

The world is not ending, and things actually aren't nearly as terrible as they might seem.

A little context here: this is technically my last article before my time as a JTP intern concludes. I debated up until the final hour what I would write about. I wanted it to be something worth writing about. If I never got to write for this wonderful site ever again, I'd want something better than a random news article. Then it finally hit me, and it's something I think we all need to remind ourselves.

Remember to be happy about gaming.

When you spend day after day thinking hard about games and coming to understand the business, it's very easy to become cynical to it all. As much as it might satisfy our frustrations to address badly handled games and injustices in the industry, we don't spend nearly as much time being happy with games anymore.

I don't mean to say that being upset about game is a bad thing (Lord knows I've ripped more than a few games apart), but it's becoming a bit much. When a new game is announced, it almost feels like luck that it receives hype instead of bitter skepticisim. When a sequel is unveiled and it changes something, fans rise up in outrage. This keeps happening all over, and it's not healthy.

Gaming is something we all enjoy, and there's a reason we play games and some of us get into the games industry. People don't start doing something because they hate it, so why is it then that so many of us are angry, even when there's no reason to be? When did your outrage about EA making annoying DLC packages outweigh your outrage at banks that put America into a recession? When did we cross that line?

How did we lose our perspective?

We hear cries that single-player is dying. That multiplayer is being badgered with DLC. That there's too much of one thing or there's too little of another thing. It's like we forgot that we've all played some of the best games in years, with even crazier games on the horizon.

We got Shadow of Mordor and Alien: Isolation as great licensed games. We experienced the thrill of being a space ninja in Warframe. We lived through personal struggles with games like Cart Life, This War of Mine, Life is Strange, The Writer, and Sym. We saw Call of Duty become fun again in Advanced Warfare, for the first time in years. We were there for the rebirth of the CRPG with Shadowrun Returns and Pillars of Eternity. We made Kickstarter games a thing.

That's not even talking about what is on the horizon.

If Warner Bros. messes up another PC port like they did Arkham Knight or Mortal Kombat X, you can be damn sure they'll be hit with Steam refunds so fast it'll take more than 30 FPS to render their horrorified faces.

This year's E3 took time during an Xbox press conference to talk about an indie game where you play a little blind girl, all with the same respect and credibility it gave for the next Halo. As much as the current ongoing conflict between GamerGate and its opponents may draw divides for some gamers, we're still growing as an industry. More than ever, everyone's got something to look forward to.

For the past decade, gaming has sort of gone through it's 90s period, like the comic book industry before it. We had some bumps, and some really rough spots. Everyone can agree some years really didn't go well. Yet, we made it past that. Companies are now growing increasingly accountable for their actions. If Warner Bros. messes up another PC port like they did Arkham Knight or Mortal Kombat X, you can be damn sure they'll be hit with Steam refunds so fast it'll take more than 30 FPS to render their horrorified faces.

That's not even getting to how games are getting more and more accessible thanks to more family friendly games like Disney Infinity and Minecraft. More people than ever can play video games on more platforms than ever, and that's a really good thing. If someone gets into Civilization on their tablet or finds they like shooters thanks to Shadowgun on Facebook, then great. Games are about having fun, and if people can find a love for games on their preferred platforms, then let them.

As a community, we need to refocus ourselves. We need to try and move towards constructing a better environment and industry. No one else is going to do it for us, and it's something we've been struggling with. Sometimes getting mad is the answer, but we can't make that our default response. We've gotten tone deaf to the anger we espouse, and that's a problem.

I don't care what your agenda is or whether you're right or not. Being mad and doing nothing about it helps no one. We have to actually act and push for the ideal we want, rather than just sit around for it. Bitter minds will ask what the point is, but even a cynic knows that the only way to fix something is to start trying. It's only by working together that we'll ever get anything done.

I know it's not an easy thing to do. We all are different people with separate wants and needs. We've got bills to pay, families to feed, and lives to live. That doesn't mean we should just froth and scream when something goes wrong though. You have the power to change things. You have more power than you could begin to imagine. Work together, and we might just change this industry for the better.

Published Jul. 25th 2015
  • Durinn McFurren
    Contributor
    I get that reviews will sometimes be negative. I get that sometimes, a game will just be so disappointing that there's really very little you can say about it that doesn't sound critical. And I have no problem with a very negative review. Sometimes, I have no problem with a very negative review of a game that other people love (I myself very much disliked AC: Black Flag, even though a lot of other people loved it, because I just _hated_ the sea combat). And I get that critics are often not in a position to influence game design, apart from their reviews. So I get that sometimes, getting mad is really all you can do.

    But you're right. Somehow, especially perhaps on the internet (where people can give their knee-jerk reactions without much editorial suggestion), people have lost any sense of perspective. Minor issues become hatred-inducing. People who are 99% in agreement can get at one another's throats. Nobody is willing, for even a moment, to try to be understanding of anyone else, and everything that is done or said is taken in the most negative possible light.

    It really boggles the mind: are people so desperate to be outraged that they will take any excuse to get themselves worked up? Can't we try to understand one another's perspective?
  • Jay Ricciardi
    Contributor
    Wonderfully put: "I don't care what your agenda is or whether you're right or not. Being mad and doing nothing about it helps no one."

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